AOLS Statutory Assurances

Every Surveyor practicing in Ontario is bound by law to adhere to a specified minimum level of competence and ethical behavior. These rules are set out in the Surveyors Act, R.S.O. 1990, Ch. S.29, and the Surveys Act, R.S.O. 1990, Ch. S.30, (statutes of The Government of Ontario) and in Regulation 1026 (which includes the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice), Regulation 216/10 and Regulation 525/91 of the Revised Regulations of Ontario, 1990.

The Surveyors Act provides for several processes and assurances to ensure that the public are well served by the profession, as follows:

Certificate of Authorization

Inspection Program

Professional Liability Insurance

Compensation Fund

Fees Mediation Committee



Certificate of Authorization

Only holders of a valid Certificate of Authorization (C of A), issued by the Registrar of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, may offer Cadastral (Legal Boundary) surveying services to the public.

The Registrar may issue a C of A to a member, a partnership of members, or a corporation of which 50% of the Board of Directors are licensed Ontario Land Surveyors. The primary function of the corporation must be to engage in the business of providing services that are within the practice of cadastral surveying.

Members and companies engaged only in other branches of professional surveying, such as Photogrammetry, Hydrography, Geodesy and Geographic Information Management do not require a C of A.

Unlicensed People Offering Surveying Services

One of the responsibilities of the AOLS is to protect the public from unlicensed practitioners offering to provide cadastral surveying services. If you are suspicious of a person who holds him or herself out to be a surveyor, offering to establish legal boundaries (including the marking of your property for fencing purposes) or prepare survey plans, ask for identification. If the person cannot prove that they are a member of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, or are working for a member, please note the name of the person and contact the Registrar at the Association Office.

Unlicensed practitioners do not carry liability insurance and may leave you subject to serious financial liabilities.

By law, only licensed members of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors can carry out cadastral surveys in the Province of Ontario.

Inspection Program

The AOLS established a peer competence review process, referred to as the Survey Review Department (SRD), in 1985 to systematically audit the work performed by all Certificate of Authorization holders, as well government agencies performing surveys, in the province. SRD staff or consultants examine plans, or complete project files, for randomly selected surveys with respect to:

  • Research

    This includes documentation of Registry Office searches and investigation of other surveyors or agencies, for information regarding previous surveys of the subject or neighbouring properties.

  • Field Work and the Evaluation of Evidence

    The field notes prepared during the course of the survey may be reviewed to confirm compliance with the Regulations under the Surveyors Act or other Standards or Guidelines. In the case of a comprehensive review, SRD staff performs a field examination to ensure that each plan accurately reflects the conditions on the ground.

  • Plans and Reports

    Plans and reports are reviewed with respect to compliance with Regulations or Standards.

The effect of this ongoing peer review is a continued dialogue within the surveying community and a consistency in the reliability and quality of surveys across the province. Although the principal object of this process is educational, serious violations of the regulations may be referred to the Registrar for further investigation.

To protect the public from the risk of misrepresentation or of reliance on outdated plans, surveyors append to each plan of survey, other than those used in the Registry Offices, a plan submission form similar to the one shown here.

The significant notation on the form is the words: "This plan is not valid unless it is an embossed original copy issued by the surveyor." Plan Submission Form Sticker

This wording is to alert all persons that only those plans that are impressed with the seal of the issuing surveyor should be considered as original copies.

Copies of plans that do not bear an impressed seal may not be valid copies of the original plan, and may have had pertinent information deleted or incorrect information added without the knowledge of the issuing surveyor.

Professional Liability Insurance

All surveyors who provide surveys to the public must maintain Professional Liability insurance. This ensures that any person who suffers a loss because of an error or omission is protected. The AOLS voluntarily embraced the mandatory requirement for insurance in 1980, while virtually all other professional groups waited until mandatory insurance was legislated upon them.

Unlicensed practitioners do not carry liability insurance and may leave you subject to serious financial liabilities.

Compensation Fund

The AOLS maintains a Compensation Fund in order to relieve or mitigate loss sustained by any person in consequence of dishonesty or incompetence in the practice of professional land surveying on the part of any member even if after the commission of the act of dishonesty or incompetence the member may have died or ceased to administer his or her affairs or to be a member. Applications to the fund must be made in writing to the Registrar within six months after the loss came to the knowledge of the person suffering the loss. This may be extended to eighteen months with permission of AOLS Council. Grants from this fund are subrogated to all other remedies that may be available, such as insurance or civil action.

Fees Mediation Committee

The Fees Mediation Committee is available to either mediate or arbitrate a complaint about the fees charged by a member of the Association to his or her client.

As a mediator, the Committee will attempt, with the co-operation of both parties, to resolve any dispute with respect to fees. A mediated resolution is not binding.

As an arbitrator, with the written consent of all parties, the Fees Mediation Committee will arbitrate a dispute with respect to fees. The decision of the Committee in this case is final and binding. An arbitration decision may be filed with the Ontario Court (General Division) and enforced in the same way as a judgment of the Court.

If Discipline is Required

The Discipline Committee is comprised of members of the AOLS and a Lay Council Member. It does not include members of the AOLS staff. The Committee, through a formal hearing process, decides upon allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence against an OLS. Penalties for members who are found guilty may include a reprimand, counseling, fine, suspension, restriction, or cancellation of the member's licence. Members may be referred to the Discipline Committee by the Complaints Committee or by AOLS Council. A ruling of the Discipline Committee may be appealed to the Divisional Court of Ontario.

Fair Registration Practices Report

This Fair Registration Practices Report was produced as required by the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA) s. 20 and 23(1), for regulated professions named in Schedule 1 of FARPACTA, and the Health Professions Procedural Code set out in Schedule 2 of the REgulated Health Profesions Act (RHPA) s. 22.7 and 22.9(1), for health colleges. Click here to view the 2015 report. Click here to view the 2016 report.