Clear all

Moving the Canada


Topic starter
Good day all!

A questions for the Canadian Surveyors (or anyone else who may know something on the subject!). We are thinking of emigrating from the UK to Canada and was keen to see if anyone has or knows of someone who has come into Land Surveying from the outside. Can someone even become a RPLS if you’ve emigrated. I understand some of the main differences (aside from geodesy!) such as the need to become a RPLS in the state you wish to work in and how boundaries are handled compare to our land registry system. Just wanted to know if companies would look to sponsoring a land surveyor emigrating over. I’ve been a hydro/land surveyor for ten years after completing a masters and work as a senior for a company handling topos, measured building, boundaries, laser scanning, UAV, TS and GNSS. We’re obviously not looking any time soon with everything that’s going on but would like to see if it’s an angle we could take. I hope you are all keeping safe and thank you for any responses. 



Topic Tags
3 Answers

I spent many years (26) living in Canada and began my survey career there. I've been away personally for 25 years now, but still have family there. A person who is actually there now would be a better source for you, but here goes with a couple of items of etiquette that may make this inquiry go smoother:

1. They are called Provinces, not States. Calling them states will be just a little offensive to a Canadian. Because:

2. The  one thing Canadians are really sure about is that they are not Americans. 

3. Canadian surveyors do not use the acronyms "RPLS" or "PLS" as Americans do. A British Columbian LS uses the acronym "BCLS", an Albertan "ALS", an Ontarian "OLS" and so on.  

4. There is still a lot of land in Canada that has never been surveyed and is therefore still vested in the crown. From time to time people will acquire a piece of it from the crown. To survey this land, and also native Indian Reservation land, which is considerable, you need a Federal Survey Licence (Canada Lands Surveyor) whose holders use the acronym "CLS". You have to be licenced in one or more provinces before you can be eligible for a CLS.

Laws and practices governing land surveying vary from province to province quite a bit.  But presuming that your immigration is all legal and above board I can't see any reason why you should have any particular problem.  A legally landed immigrant enjoys all the benefits of citizenship except the right to vote and serve in elected government.  


Thank you kindly for the corrections and information.


Land surveyors in Canada are some of the best in the world..... comparable to Britain in many regards. While you are fully eligible to become a licensed land surveyor in Canada, it will likely take a minimum of 5 years, 14 examinations and an hour of being queried verbally by the board. 
Canada does have a land registry, and at least western Canada uses the dominion system, so some familiarity there. I believe a 2 year degree is required to sit for the exam.

Now, that being said, lots of people are employed in Canada without being licensed. Engineering layout, topographic maps, drone work and the like are often done without a LS stamp, as it isn’t required unless you make any reference to a legal boundary.



Land surveying in Canadian provinces is a self-regulated profession. The professional society of each province is itself the regulatory body, rather than the provincial government. At least that was the case when I visited Ontario and Manitoba about 15 years ago as a representative of a U. S. state professional society.

I agree with summerprophet that the level of professionalism is high. I also found the Canadian surveyors to be very hospitable to a colleague from the States.

Here are information links for the Ontario and Manitoba societies, which describe the steps toward licensure. After meeting the education requirements it's necessary to be articled, i.e. serve what amounts to an apprenticeship.

It would be best to check the requirements for other provinces individually. Mark Mayer has said that the requirements vary a good deal from one province to another. Self-regulation likely accounts for such differences.