Licensing Questions: Referees? Gaps In Experience? Experience Record Organization?

Hi everyone! Despite the lack of recent updates to the blog, readers continue to find us and the content remains helpful. I love hearing from those going through the process that this site was useful to them. And when readers cannot find answers for their specific situation, they leave a question in the comments section at the bottom of the blog (I also love this!). While in the past I’ve tried my best to answer some of these questions myself, I am far from an expert on the licensing process, having only gone through it once a few years ago. Fortunately, one avid reader of the blog is Gavin Simone, the man behind

Gavin is an expert in the licensing process for all Canadian licensing bodies, having helped thousands of aspiring engineers overcome licensing hurdles. The reviews of his help from satisfied customers speak for themselves.

Gavin has kindly agreed to periodically answer some of your questions himself. While these answers come from a true expert, the licensing process is constantly evolving; therefore the site-wide disclaimer applies here as well.

So enjoy Gavin’s insights and please keep the questions coming in the comments section and we just might feature them!


Reader: Thanks for putting all this information together! I have 6 years of engineering experience and am in the process of applying for my PEng. However, could you tell me more about the process that your referees see?

The reason I ask this is because I was laid off from my job of 6 years for undisclosed reasons (this is my only engineering experience). I have asked two of my close friends from the company who gladly agreed to be my referees, but have an issue trusting my direct supervisor to be a reliable referee. In fact, he did not reply to my email for an entire month, despite my coworker and friend informing me that he was “looking into the response to write”. Do I have any way of finding out what he writes to the PEO? What alternatives do you recommend?

Gavin: Most associations, including PEO, don’t seem to release their referee questionnaire. This is probably to avoid/deter the applicant from writing the answers for his/her referees. However, most associations follow a simple 1 page format. You can find an example on page 6 of this guide.

You’ll want to consider using someone else if your referee is not reliable. I was in a similar situation where my reference was “too busy” to do this for me and it delayed my application for weeks until I withdrew his name an used someone else.

If your old boss is reluctant to return your calls, answer your email and has a desk that is piled up higher than the computer, this is not someone you want as your referee. A co-worker would be your better bet, but be sure that you have a least 1 supervisor P.Eng. reference as outlined in PEOs guide.

Gaps in Experience?

Reader: I have the academic requirements, passed the PPE and attained the 48 months of work experience (all 48 months supervised by P.Eng.).

I have been employed by the same structural consulting firm for the entire 48 months (June 2013 – present) with no leaves of absences and have been involved in 100s of projects. I’m currently working on the experience reports. I have written 7 and my goal is 10 total. All of the 10 projects contain quality exposure to the “5 elements of satisfactory engineering experience”.

I may be overthinking this but here’s the example. The first project I reported on was from June 2013 – Sept 2013, and the next project I report on is from Jan 2014 – April 2014. I was involved in other projects from sept 2013 – jan 2014 but I didn’t include them because of repetition and lack of quality experience. Do you think these gaps in the timeline will matter? As long as I can prove I was employed the whole time?

Gavin: Your experience record doesn’t require you to write up everything. You’re really just looking to cherrypick your best experiences that cover a minimum of 48 months. You can have gaps in your record, so as long as you make it clear that you have been employed with this firm for 48+ months you should meet that requirement. Then you can talk about your projects that span 48 months of your time there.

Experience Record Organization

Reader: Do you think it is important to divide each section (application of theory, practical exp., management etc.) into its constituting subsections? For example, for Application of theory do I need to break up Analysis, design, testing and implementation or can I just write it as a single section containing all the information, without subsections.

Gavin: This could be helpful, but in my experience it is not necessary. Since you don’t have to cover all of the subsections to achieve satisfactory performance in that competency section, use the headings if it helps you to organize your thoughts. You should, however, use bullets to make it clear when each situation starts and ends. This will help the reviewer follow along and improve readability.

[PEngApplicant: for a suggested method of organization, check out my experience record template]