May 2020

The well-being of our communities is being challenged on a global scale. This pandemic has no borders, it ignores all cultures and identities. Our health care professionals and front-line workers are selflessly carrying out their duties to protect the public and many of you are among them. Members of the engineering community are in healthcare, emergency services, food supply, telecommunications, government services, Armed Forces and other industries. I am profoundly grateful to all of you. We chose engineering with a shared desire to serve the public good. Right now these are values that Ontarians need from us more than ever.

Early on in the pandemic, both the Ontario and Canadian governments issued a call to action to businesses and academia to provide both goods and services and ideas and innovations to help combat the pandemic across the country. I'm proud to say that engineers and engineering companies are among those who answered that call. Engineers are among the researchers, manufacturers, businesses and others in Canada who are providing both goods and services, and ideas and innovations to help combat Covid-19. Here are some of their stories.

  • Bruce Power, General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Shell, Suncor and Home Depot donated PPE and sanitizing supplies. Linamar, Magna, Martinrea and ABC Technologies are pivoting their manufacturing to help O-Two Medical Technologies produce ventilators.
  • Municipal staff in Burlington, Brampton, London, Windsor and Owen Sound determined what is needed to convert buildings and temporary structures into pop-up field hospitals. Ontario distilleries are making and donating hand sanitizer.
  • Ontario distilleries are making and donating hand sanitizer.
  • Spartan Bioscience is speeding up diagnostic testing using their DNA analyzer The Spartan Cube.
  • CADMech Design Inc. has offered its services to the federal government and has been working with an Ontario public transport authority to provide engineering design services to help their workers safe from the virus.
  • In Ontario and Alberta, respectively, both CodeNext and Stantec helped with the design and construction of temporary pandemic response and treatment facilities.
  • Dr. Timothy Chan, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering at the University of Toronto, and his team have developed redeploy.caan optimization tool that automates matching of available healthcare staff to new and ongoing job requests.
  • The Covid-19 Global Hackathon was created in March 2020 to build software solutions that drive social impact, with the aim of tackling some of the challenges related to the current pandemic.
  • The Helpful Engineering international, open source community incubator was created by a Canadian in March 2020 focused on mobilizing people to help solve the Covid-19 pandemic and other critical issues. This collaboration is providing open source designs for face shields, PPE and ventilators.


All of these examples illustrate how professional engineers protect the public and live up to their obligations set out in PEO's Code of Ethicsespecially our duty to society, which is to regard the duty to public welfare as paramount.