The iron ring is worn by many engineers in Canada, reminding those who wear it of their ethical obligations associated with the engineering profession in the service of the public. The concept originated in 1922 with seven former heads of the Engineering Institute of Canada. These Seven Wardens wanted to create a symbol as a reminder to the engineer – and others – of the engineer’s obligation to live by a high standard of professional conduct and to maintain humility.
The iron ring is not a symbol of qualification as an engineer in Canada. Qualification and registration is the role and responsibility of the provincial and territorial licensing bodies.
Historically, rings were wrought iron. Rings today are made of stainless steel. Obligated engineers are asked to return their ring after they leave active service as an engineer; and so a number of rings given to newly obligated engineers have their own part in the history of engineering service in Canada.
The ring is presented to graduates and other qualified obligants in a private ceremony, which is known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. The ceremony was developed with the help of Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel-prize winning English author and poet. While the ceremony is not secret, it is a private function. Guests are asked not to take photographs or make recordings during the ceremony. Information about the history of the Iron Ring ceremony is available at the Main Corporation of the Seven Wardens Website: www.ironring.ca.
There are 26 organizations, called camps, that organize ring ceremonies and arrange for rings to be provided to obligated engineers in Canada who request a replacement ring at a nominal cost.
Camp 6 is the group that administers the obligation of engineers in the region in and around Edmonton, Alberta. Camp 6 has no direct affiliation with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). As of Spring 2016, there are over 29,600 engineers that have been obligated within Camp 6.