Ottawa-area contractor fined $7,500 for use of professional engineer’s seal and use of the title “professional engineer”

On March 3, 2016, Jeff Rubino of Carleton Place, Ontario, was convicted of three counts of breaching the Professional Engineers Act and fined $7,500 for using a fabricated professional engineer’s seal and the title “professional engineer” on a report submitted to the Ottawa building department.

The City of Ottawa had sought additional information, including a professional engineer’s approval, in relation to a building permit application to modify a local home that included the removal of a load-bearing wall and inserting a laminated veneer lumber beam and adjustable posts. The general contractor on the project had retained Rubino to respond to the city. Rubino has never been licensed as a professional engineer in the province of Ontario nor has he ever held or acted under and in accordance with a Certificate of Authorization.

In the report, Rubino used a seal that duplicated the wording, content and style of the seal reserved for professional engineers. He also referred to himself as a “Professional Engineer of Ontario” and used a purported licence number that was similar to those issued to professional engineers, but that did not match any number in PEO’s register of licence holders.

The matter came to the attention of PEO after a city building department official attempted to check Rubino’s licence status upon receiving the report bearing the seal and title.

His Worship, Justice of the Peace Richard C.P. Sculthorpe, of the Ontario Court of Justice at Ottawa, convicted Rubino of three offences relating to the illegal use of the seal and protected title, and for not acting under and in accordance with a Certificate of Authorization.

Nick Hambleton, associate counsel, regulatory compliance, represented PEO in this matter.

The success in this matter was due in no small part to the vigilance of the Ottawa building department and the co-operation of the general contractor and the homeowner during the investigation.