Richmond Hill MP apologizes for use of restricted engineering titles

Majid Jowhari, MP (Richmond Hill), was charged by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) under sections 40(2)(a.1) and 40(2)(a) of the Professional Engineers Act for using the titles “engineer” and “professional engineer” when describing his credentials at a public candidates debate during the 2015 federal election. These sections of the act forbid the use of such terms by unlicensed persons. Jowhari was not licensed as a professional engineer in Ontario at that time.

A pre-hearing conference was held on October 18, 2016, at which Jowhari agreed to provide a public letter of apology and a donation to the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education. As a result, the charges were withdrawn. The full transcript of the letter is provided below.

Letter of Apology from Majid Jowhari, MP

October 24th, 2016

On October 19, 2015, I was elected as an MP representing the riding of Richmond Hill in the House of Commons, and currently sit on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. I am not an engineer. In the course of my campaign, questions arose concerning the use of the titles “engineer” and “professional engineer”.

I earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in industrial engineering from Ryerson University, as well as an MBA from York University. I was licensed as a professional engineer by the PEO between 1995 and 1999, after which my licence was cancelled for non-payment. When I gave up my licence as a professional engineer, I also gave up the privilege of calling myself an “engineer” and a “professional engineer”.

On October 4, 2015, I attended a debate between six candidates from the ridings of Richmond Hill and Willowdale at the ‘Federal Candidates Forum’ organized by the Iranian Canadian Congress. When reviewing my credentials and work experience at the outset of the debate, I presented myself as an “engineer” and a “professional engineer” to those in attendance. These words were unscripted, were incorrect, and on reflection were potentially misleading. I did not intend to mislead anyone. I regret these statements and sincerely apologize for my actions.

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), the regulatory body for the profession in this province, initially contacted me in February 2015 to address certain materials that had been made public in the course of my campaign. I have since spoken at length with PEO concerning the use of restricted professional titles in my campaign. I am fortunate to have been provided with this opportunity to address my actions in an open letter.

In the Province of Ontario, professional engineers practice and use their titles while subject to a commitment to serve the public and to uphold a strict code of professional conduct. The Professional Engineers Act restricts the titles “engineer” and “professional engineer” to those persons who are licensed by PEO. This allows the public to identify who is licensed to practise engineering and to know that they are governed accordingly. As a non-member, it is a violation of the Professional Engineers Act to use either the specific or general title.

This experience has taught me a valuable lesson about the need for precision at all times when addressing my engineering education and credentials. In the future, I will refrain at all times from using restricted titles without clarifying that I was a member of PEO, and am no longer licensed as a professional engineer.

I sincerely hope that the public and the engineering profession will accept my apology for misstating my credentials.

As a show of respect and support for engineering in Ontario and Canada, I have donated $5,000 to the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education.

Yours sincerely,

Majid Jowhari, MP