Become an Ontario Land Surveyor

Persons wishing to practice cadastral (legal boundary) surveying in Ontario must hold a licence issued by the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors. Professional memberships, called Certificates of Registration, in the fields of Geodesy, Photogrammetry, Hydrography and Geographic Information Management are also available but are not mandatory.

Statutory Requirements

To be granted a licence to practice cadastral surveying in Ontario, an applicant must:

  • be a citizen of Canada or have the status of a permanent resident of Canada;
  • be not less than eighteen years of age;
  • have complied with the academic requirements specified in the regulations for the issuance of the licence and have passed such examinations as the Council has set or approved in accordance with the regulations or is exempted therefrom by the Council;
  • have complied with the experience requirements specified in the regulations for the issuance of the licence; and
  • be of good character

Academic Requirements
The first step for all candidates for membership is to apply to the Association for a detailed evaluation of their post-secondary education and experience.

Professional membership in the Association requires completion of a baccalaureate level program in professional surveying (often referred to as Geomatics), approved by the Association’s Academic and Experience Requirements Committee (AERC), or a course that is in the opinion of the AERC equal in content and level of difficulty, or experience and knowledge that provides equivalent competencies to such an academic program.

This is followed by a term of articles of up to 1-1/2 years during which applicants work for an Ontario Land Surveyor to gain practical experience. A professional entrance examination must be successfully completed at the end of articles.

Courses in professional surveying (Geomatics) are available at York University in Toronto, Ryerson University in Toronto, the University of New Brunswick and the University of Calgary. Candidates from other educational and experience backgrounds will be assessed on a course by course and experience basis.

The AOLS academic evaluation will specify what additional university courses, partial courses, or equivalents, you will need in order to satisfy our academic requirements. The majority of these courses are available at the above named universities. Some may be available at other universities and colleges and some may be available by distance learning.

If your degree/diploma was earned in another country, you must first apply to either the Comparative Education Service (CES) of the University of Toronto, or to World Education Services (WES) and request a “document by document” evaluation from one of these services to submit with your application to the AOLS. You may contact CES at (416) 978-2400 Ext. 3, or go to http://www.learn.utoronto.ca/ces. The WES website is http://www.wes.org/ca.

For an academic evaluation to be undertaken, we require:

  • payment of the $282.50 ($250 + HST) fee. We accept cheques, Visa or MasterCard; Note: A convenience fee of 3% of the total amount will be charged for credit card payments.
  • a cover letter; (see sample
  • Completed Academic Evaluation Application Form
  • your detailed résumé
  • an official transcript forwarded directly from each educational institution (If this is not possible you may bring your original documents to the AOLS office to be copied)
  • detailed course descriptions, in English; and,
  • any other supporting information - academic or experience related - that may support your evaluation.

Applicants from outside of Ontario may wish to submit evaluation requests from their home country or province.

Evaluation Flow Chart
A Flow Chart illustrating the academic evaluation process and the expected timeline for an evaluation is available here.

List of Academic Requirements
A table of AOLS academic requirements may be found here:

Information about University visiting student policies is available here:

Experience Requirements
The Surveyors Act requires that all candidates for licensure must have obtained a minimum of 1-1/2 years of training and experience in professional land surveying to the satisfaction of the Academic and Experience Requirements Committee. This is done by means of an Articling Contract with an Ontario Land Surveyor/Ontario Land Information Professional.

Cadastral surveying in Ontario requires an in-depth knowledge of Canadian Common Law and Ontario Statute law, as well as detailed understanding of how the systems of land division and registration were developed. The practical application of this theoretical knowledge can only be obtained by direct on-the-ground experience in assessing the various types of physical and documentary evidence that are unique to the re-establishment of boundaries in Ontario. All candidates, including graduates of Geomatics programs in Ontario must be able to demonstrate that they have obtained this experience.

The standard term of articles may be reduced if the candidate can demonstrate that he or she has obtained suitable equivalent experience prior to applying for articles. Applications for such a reduction are made with the submission of your application to article. An application for a reduction in the term of articles requires the submission of a completed Reduction of Articles form and a completed Candidate Assessment Form.

Articling Contract
"Articles" is an agreement respecting training and service between a member of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (Articling Surveyor) and a student. Under the terms of the Articling Contract the student undertakes to serve the surveyor in the practice of professional land surveying. The Articling Surveyor is required to give an undertaking to the AERC that he or she is willing to provide the student with the scope of experience stipulated by the AERC. The Articling Contract must be approved by the AERC.;

The Articling Contract requires that the student become competent in fourteen (14) Essential Areas of Knowledge (EAKs). A description of the EAKs may be found here. The Articling Surveyor must certify that the student has achieved an acceptable level of competency in each EAK. This may be achieved through practical experience, or by the completion of assignments that are available on the AOLS Learning Management System (LMS). Students and surveyors are expected to agree on a Learning Contract that specifies the outstanding training requirements and the methods and time frames required to complete them.

Term of Articles
The standard term of Articles for an applicant who has completed the academic requirements is 1-1/2 years. However, where an articling student has received work experience in professional land surveying prior to his or her term of articles that is comparable to the stipulated requirements, the AERC may reduce the articling time. Under certain circumstances a student may be permitted to have his or her articles transferred to another surveyor.

To Whom May I Article?
The Regulations state that a term of articles shall be under the direction of:

  • a member of the Association who became a licensed member at least three years before the beginning of the term of articles (This provision pertains to a students who is articling in order to apply for a licence as a cadastral surveyor.); or,
  • a member who has held a Certificate of Registration for at least three years before the beginning of the term of articles or a person who, in the opinion of the AERC is competent to provide and direct the approved professional experience. (This provision pertains to students who are articling in order to apply for a Certificate of Registration.)

A detailed description of how to prepare your Articling Application click here and the Flow Chart of the articling process is available here. Note that applications to article are only considered at the January, April, July and October meetings of the AERC.

The Professional Examination
Upon successful completion of the term of articles the student is required, as a final step, to pass a professional entrance examination consisting of both a written and an oral test. Examinations are normally held twice a year, in late May and late November. The application by an articling student to take the professional examination must be submitted in writing to the Registrar at least one month before the examination.

On successful completion of the professional examination the student is eligible to apply for membership in the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors.

Associate Memberships
An associate is a person who applies to be an associate, pays the annual fee prescribed by the by-laws for associates and,
   (a) is enrolled in a post-secondary school course in professional surveying;
   (b) is a party to Articles of Agreement with a member of the Association; or
   (c) is employed in, retired from or aligned with the practice of professional surveying.

Associates are entitled to receive general information issued by the Association and to attend meetings of the Association, but are not entitled to vote at meetings.

Articling students are required to maintain Associate Membership during their term of Articles. To see the Associate Membership Application Form, click here.

Costs to Become Licensed
The following fees currently apply to the membership process: (All fees in Canadian dollars)

Note: A convenience fee of 3% of the total amount will be charged for credit card payments. Academic Evaluation $250 + HST (total $282.50)

  • Evaluation Appeal $125 + HST (total $141.25)
  • Articling Application Fee $125 + HST (total $141.25)
  • Application for Reduction in Articling period $125 + HST (total $141.25)
  • Assignemt of Articles $125 +HST (total $141.25)
  • Annual Articling Fee $100 + HST (total $113.00)
  • Associate Member Annual Fee $210 + HST (total $237.30)
  • Application for Reduction of Articles $125+ HST (total $141.25)
  • Statutes Examination $175 + HST (total $197.75)
  • Professional Lecture Course $300 + HST (total $339.00)
  • Professional Examination – Oral $175 + HST (total $197.75)
  • - Written $175 + HST (total $197.75)
  • Appeals Exam Results $125 + HST (total $141.25)
  • Copy of Student's Exam unmarked Responses $25 +HST (total $28.25)
  • Direct Entrance Exam $535 + HST (total $604.55)
  • Re-Entrance Exam $535 + HST (total $604.55)
  • AIT Exam $150 + HST (total $169.50)

To remain licensed you are required to pay annual dues, which are currently $2,000 + HST.

Members of Other Canadian Surveying Associations
The AOLS is a signatory to a Mutual Recognition Agreement that was signed by all Canadian provincial surveyors associations as well as the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors under the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). This agreement allows for a licensed surveyor from any Canadian provincial jurisdiction or a licensed Canada Lands Surveyor to achieve membership in another jurisdiction by demonstrating, through an examination and/or completion of an assignment, knowledge of local jurisprudence and systems. No academic evaluation or period of articles is required. Click here for a detailed explanation of the AIT membership process.

Applicants Educated Outside of Canada
Detailed information for applicants educated outside Canada is available here.

Applicants with Special Needs
AOLS Accessibility Policy