Professional Surveyors Canada

Land surveyors in Canada are excited at the prospect of having an advocate who can speak on their behalf. Thirty-five years ago, forward-thinking surveyors formed a national group comprised of representatives from Canada’s licensing bodies. That group, known as the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors, was very successful in addressing issues of mutual concern to the Canadian licensing bodies.

Today, the Canadian Council of Land Surveyors (CCLS) is proud to announce that the spirit of cooperation it has fostered for the past 35 years has evolved into a new partnership with Canadian surveyors, one that promises to transform a surveyor’s relationship with her or his community for many years to come. Canadian surveyors have long recognized that they need a strong advocate to speak on their behalf, and the CCLS is proud to announce that Professional Surveyors Canada will be that advocate.

The CCLS was formed by the 11 Canadian licensing bodies for professional land surveyors to promote communication and cooperation among the groups. Among its most noteworthy accomplishments is the establishment of one national set of core educational requirements used to evaluate candidates for licensure and the successful negotiations among licensing bodies of an agreement on the mutual recognition of surveying credentials. The CCLS was incorporated in 1976, and for 35 years served the profession well in maintaining an open dialogue and coordinating national issues for the licensing bodies. Among its peers, the CCLS has been recognized as the voice of Canadian land surveyors both nationally and internationally. From these strong roots the CCLS has established Professional Surveyors Canada. Professional Surveyors Canada will be the advocate for the surveying profession in Canada, establishing frameworks that encourage surveyors to work as a single pan-Canadian community in advocating, promoting, and supporting the profession.

Canadian surveyors share a proud history, having established and maintained a survey fabric that has both shaped the country and contributed to its economic development: the first to explore the vast resources available for development and the first to establish well organized communities to meet the demands of a flourishing nation. They have been and continue to be community leaders sharing their knowledge and expertise in supporting good governance and strong community values. The profession counts among its distinguished members Samuel de Champlain and David Thompson, two well recognized surveyors who contributed significantly to the growth of our nation.

Canadian surveyors undergo very rigorous training. To become a land surveyor in Canada, you must have a university degree in survey sciences or the equivalent. After having completed your degree, and before being admitted to the profession, you must enter an articling period of at least 18 months and pass a professional exam. After receiving your commission as a professional land surveyor, you must pledge to uphold our code of ethics and pledge to maintain a high standard of good conduct. You are also responsible and held accountable for your continued professional development.

In Canada, continuing professional development is under the professional’s control and can be shaped to meet individual career objectives. Some surveyors have pursued law degrees, others accounting degrees, and still others certification as project managers or engineers to complement their university degree in surveying. This list is not exhaustive and demonstrates the complexity and versatility of today’s surveyor.

Canadian surveyors work throughout the world and can be as comfortable observing and measuring the top of Mount Everest as they are the ocean floor. They are expert witnesses in high-profile legal cases, project managers for large-scale housing developments, meta-data managers, and more. They map offshore resources, the communities we live in, and the constellations in our night skies. They own their own businesses, work for large companies, and work for all levels of government. Their contributions are many and the demand for their expertise growing.

Surveying products have been used to establish and maintain 911 emergency systems as well as monitoring systems for environmentally sensitive areas, flood plains, and earthquake zones. Canadian surveyors monitor satellite systems and guidance systems, write books, research history, and develop and perform scientific studies. They help plan for the future and are at the leading edge of technology.

In the months to come, Professional Surveyors Canada will be profiling surveyors who have made significant contributions to communities throughout the world to demonstrate how versatile and rewarding a surveying career can be.

Looking forward, Professional Surveyors Canada will be driven by our members’ needs. Through our website, the organization will
  • promote the value of a surveyor’s work,
  • manage a national job bank and equipment exchange, 
  • manage a professional liability insurance program, 
  • encourage dialogue among its members and stakeholders, and 
  • develop and deliver continuing education opportunities for both professionals and their staff.
Professional Surveyors Canada is looking forward to working with all organizations, both national and international, whose mandates include the promotion and support of the art and science of surveying. As an organization, Professional Surveyors Canada strongly believes in the diversity of the profession and strongly encourages the exchange of ideas and mutual cooperation. We are open to sharing both our expertise and our resources in promoting and supporting the profession with other organizations with similar values and objectives.

Professional Surveyors Canada is dedicated to building a pan-Canadian surveying community 3,000 members strong by promoting and supporting the great work that surveyors deliver. Look for our story and more at
Denis Blais is an Ontario land surveyor living in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada and working for the government of Ontario. He is a past president of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors and has served on various professional committees. Currently he is interim chair of Professional Surveyors Canada and president of Canadian Council of Land Surveyors.

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