The Ontario Engineering Competition was originally created by Diane Neil from Queen's University in 1980. It was called the Ontario Engineering Design Competition (OEDC) and had only three categories to compete in: the Open Competition, the Industrial Competition and the Communications Competition.
Following the success of the first competition, students from the University of Waterloo decided to turn the competition into an annual event to be hosted by different Ontario engineering universities every year. The competition still had only three categories; however the Open Competition and the Industrial Competition were changed to the Entrepreneurial Design Competition and the Corporate Design Competition. The Communications Competition was split in 1982 into the Editorial Communications and Explanatory Communications.
The Competition was to continue this way until 1991, when the Sandford Fleming foundation approached the OEDC board and proposed to join their debates with the competition, as they were unhappy with the attendance at their competition. Thus, the University of Waterloo added yet another communications division called Extemporaneous Communications (later renamed Parliamentary Debate).
In 1992 the entire competition was renamed to its present name, the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) by the competition committee for the University of Ottawa. This new title was to show that the "competition and engineering in general, is more than just design". In addition to the new name, they made the name bilingual to show that we are a bilingual country.
The sixth and final category was added to the competition in 1997 by the organizing committee from McMaster University. The committee decided that younger students needed a way to get acquainted with the competition, but not be at a disadvantage by competing against older students. They created the Junior Design Category, an impromptu design category.
For the 2010 competition there are still six categories, however, we are introducing a new aspect to the competition: the business side of engineering. As engineering professions change, the planning committee from the University of Waterloo has realized that an increasing number of engineers are being called upon to make business decisions. Employers don't just want a design, they want to know how feasible it is, and whether not the decision to implement would be financially sound. Thus, in the 2010 competition, there will be new constraints to mimic the always changing definition of engineering.