A contemporary outlook
Engineers at the end of the 19th century believed that they should form an association
that would showcase their work and that would also provide them with a professional structure.
They began by establishing the Civil Engineers of Canada in 1887. Barely one year later,
the Government of Quebec enacted a law restricting the engineering practice to members
of that organization. In 1918, the Civil Engineers of Canada was succeeded by the Canadian Engineering Institute.
However, it was not until February 14, 1920 that the first direct ancestor of today's Order - the Quebec Corporation of Professional - was born. From the very start, this new organization
with a membership of some 500 engineers, focused on the issues of credibility and training.
For example, one function of the first meeting of the new Corporation's board was to formulate regulations.
The tone had been set! A few years later, in 1924, the Corporation produced its first code
of ethics and assigned a committee to study the unlawful practice of the profession. In 1932,
the Corporation adopted the official engineering seal. This seal was used to authenticate official
plans, reports and documents produced by engineers and help weed out fakes. Then in 1959,
the Corporation established the "junior engineer" category as a means of better preparing future engineers for their duties and responsibilities.
From the 1960s on, Quebec became been engaged in a high-paced process of modernization.
The training it offers engineers has proved no exception to this rule:
A changing society
In addition to these many legal and institutional modifications, the engineering profession
has continued to evolve along with Quebec society and the OIQ reflects such changes.
For example, an ever-increasing number of French language speakers are taking up the study
of engineering. While French speakers made up more than 50% of Quebec's engineers in 1970,
they represent 89% of the Order's members in 2004.
In the early 1970s, Danielle W. Zaïkoff not only became first woman to sit on the Bureau, but
was elected its president in 1975. This achievement represented a watershed moment in our
social evolution. However, relatively few women become engineers. In 1987, the Order set the
goal of increasing the representation of women within its ranks and established a corresponding
plan of action. By 2004, more than 5,000 women had become engineers, accounting for 10.5%
of the Order's membership.
In 1987, the OIQ decided to take a more vocal stance in both public discussions and major social
issues, thereby placing its emphasis on technological development and environmental concerns.
The Order today
The OIQ now has over 62,000 members, representing more than 20% of all Canadian engineers.
It is the second largest of the 46 professional orders charged by the Government of Quebec
with the duty of protecting the public.