Hi Mick , I have recently started a "my communities" Canadian Professional Engineers group", which I recommend you join and start asking questions. There are a number of Engineers in this community that have been over here much longer than I. You have caught my earlier comments when I was exasperated at the whole process of obtaining PEng, nevertheless it serves as a reminder of what happened to me personally at that time
In answer to your requests:
You raise some excellent points which most Engineers will go through when immigrating to Canada. Some of my statements will obviously be tinged with some of my personal preferences and experiences, so read into this as you will .
Perhaps the other Canadian engineers will provide a more comprehensive set of experiences in the my communities forum.
1) Upgrading membership?
Without doubt you should maintain your IET membership and/or upgrade as you feel appropriate. Why is this necessary? Canada although English and French speaking is still a slightly different culture which needs adjustment too. By maintaining your IET membership you get access to your local network and a set of colleagues who you can ask advice and will understand your challenges. You benefit from networking and note Canadians value personal contact. You also get to find out about the workplace events and potential career leads which is hugely important. One other item is the volunteering. This is a very important part of Canadian life as it shows some commitment to society, in fact the children have to do 40 hours of mandatory volunteering as part of their high school graduation. It may be different in other provinces.
2) Worth having CEng and IEng?
Without doubt very important as it shows you have already gone through process to attain CEng or IEng . There are a number of IET /IMechE/ICE members here that have both the CEng and PEng and so although CEng is not officially recognised, the CEng is valued certainly in the rail industry and civil engineering industry in which I work: Others may have different opinions on this.
I think that having these postnomials at least gets your foot in the employment door. Remember to qualify CEng with (UK) or (ECUK) , I have received a cease and desist letter early on in my Canadian career and from what I understand the CEng designation alerts the professional engineering body that you may be masquerading as a Consulting Engineer which requires another process to follow. The (UK) in brackets seems to appease them.
3) Securing position without PEng?
No problem. You will enter the industry either as an Engineer in training (EIT) or work under a PEng for 4 years. After which you are assessed for your experience to qualify for the legal and ethics exam. The only issue you may have is your degree date. Is it post Washington accord or pre-Washington accord. Post Washington accord educational assessments seem to run smoother. This whole area needs some work by the IET /Engineering Council .
Don't apply for any international engineering designation. There is no recognition in Canada and it's a waste of money.
Differences you may see between UK and Canada: The Engineer's status is much higher and potentially better paid (certainly in the line of work I am in) and it's a career that kids can actually aspire to. Other's may have differing opinions.
The Professional Engineers act is enforced rigidly by the provincial bodies and as such there is a lot of litigation to maintain this. Even the government has fallen foul of the act.
I was originally apprehensive in jumping through another set of hoops for the PEng, but I am certainly glad I did. The legal and ethics exam was an eye opener and should be mandatory for CEng's as well; as it deals a lot with British law.
The climate for integration of engineers into Canada has certainly changed in my short time here. The PEO (Professional Engineers Ontario) have a bridging program and a mentorship program to help you transfer. I would take advantage of this and get onto one of their programs very early on. I don't know where you will be moving to, but each province has its own professional body with slightly different regulations, links are below.
I am currently living in Ottawa which has over 8500 Professional Engineers it has one of the highest densities of engineers in its population. Ottawa hosts Canada's Silicon Valley (Kanata).
Ottawa is a bit of an aberration as it is the capital and of course government central, therefore employment is fairly good. The high tech sector is still in recovery from the market crash and seems to be bumping along with some glimmers of hope. I would imagine that Kanata will eventually pick up steam and become a more solid employment centre in the future.
For Alberta, Including links to Canadian professional bodies.
Professional Engineers Ontario
Overarching body was ( the CCPE... I think)
All the links to the various provincial bodies.
My advice is contact the Canadian body that represents your location and get in touch with the local chapter and ask. Canadians are very welcoming and courteous and I suspect whoever you contact will extend the same kindness to you and help you along.
A more personal but still business thought. Remember Canada is a huge country ( I am still struggling with this). So when choosing a location make sure that, unless you like long commutes, you keep close to your place of work or give yourself plenty of scope for travel.
Hope that helps. Feel free to correspond.