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Study of Registration Practices of the
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF ARCHITECTS, 2007

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION
  2. 2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Legislation
    2. b. Protected Titles
    3. c. Definition of the Profession
    4. d. Labour Market/Economic Trends
    5. e. New Developments Within the Profession
    6. f. Staffing
  3. 3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES
    1. a. Registration Requirements and Application Process
    2. b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals
    3. c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)
    4. d. Academic/Program Requirements
    5. e. Work Experience Requirements
    6. f. Examinations
    7. g. Language Requirements
    8. h. Fees
    9. i. Third Parties
    10. j. Typical Length of the Registration Process
    11. k. Accredited Programs
    12. l. Internal Review/Appeal Process
  4. 4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS
  5. 5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS
  6. 6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Nature and Frequency of Communication
    2. b. Backlogs
    3. c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process
  7. 7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY
  8. 8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS
  9. 9. SOURCES

ISBN 978-1-4249-6486-4 [HTML English version]


1. INTRODUCTION

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) undertook a study of registration practices of Ontario's regulated professions during the fall and winter of 2007–2008. The purpose of the study was to understand each regulated profession's 2007 registration practices and to establish baseline data and information to enable the OFC to measure progress as it fulfills its mandate under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006.

This report reflects the registration practices of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) as of December 31, 2007. Information in this report was gathered from:

The Ontario Association of Architects also provided registration information and statistics for 2005, 2006 and 2007 through a standard spreadsheet designed by the OFC.

An analysis and summary of the findings for all of the regulated professions is contained in the OFC's Ontario’s Regulated Professions: Report on the 2007 Study of Registration Practices.

2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY

a. Legislation

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is governed by the Architects Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.A.26 and Ontario Regulation 27 under the Architects Act.

b. Protected Titles

The OAA regulates architects in Ontario. To use the title “architect” or offer the services of an architect in Ontario, an individual must have:

c. Definition of the Profession

Architecture is the designing of, and the providing of aesthetic and technical advice on, built objects in public and private landscapes.

d. Labour Market/Economic Trends

Approximately 2,600 architects are employed in Ontario, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa. About 50 per cent of these architects are self-employed as principals in firms of one or two architects. There are approximately 1,300 architecture offices in Ontario — one-half being sole proprietorships with small staff. Other architects work for architectural firms, government, real estate developers or large corporations, or teach. Most licensed architects work full-time.

Architects may specialize in housing or renovations, or institutional, industrial or commercial buildings. They often lead teams of specialists including structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and must therefore have strong project and contract management abilities.

There is no constant customer base for architecture. In addition, the business is vulnerable to economic downturns, especially in the construction business. As a result, the business can be erratic and difficult to sustain for any firm.

Architects’ salaries vary according to their levels of experience.

e. New Developments Within the Profession

The OAA is developing a new examination for interns in Canada. The Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) is a practice-based examination designed to test the knowledge of interns after they have obtained at least 2,800 of the required hours of experience. This examination is for interns enrolled in the Intern Architect Program (IAP) only and may replace or provide an alternative option to the existing Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The OAA expects that the ExAC will be in place in late 2008.

f. Staffing

The OAA Office of the Registrar has seven full-time employees. All seven of these employees are involved with some aspects of the registration process.

3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES

a. Registration Requirements and Application Process

The Architects Act and Regulation 27 set the requirements for the issuing of a licence as an architect in Ontario. According to the legislation, applicants for a licence must:

b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals

i. Standard Documentation

All applicants must apply for certification of their academic qualifications through the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). The following information must be submitted directly to the CACB:

ii. Options for Applicants with Unavailable/Destroyed Documents

Applicants must contact the CACB for all matters concerning their documents.

c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)

The CACB Assessment Committee reviews the documents the applicant submits and determines whether the education is equivalent to the Canadian Education Standard (CES). In some cases, applicants may be asked to attend an interview with the Assessment Committee.

The assessment process has three possible outcomes:

d. Academic/Program Requirements

i. Academic Qualifications

Applicants require a degree in architecture from a post-secondary institution, or must have successfully completed the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada syllabus.

Applicants must apply for certification of their academic qualifications through the CACB.

ii. OAA Admission Course

Every applicant for a licence with the OAA must attend the Admission Course. The course is offered once a year in Toronto, usually during May or June. The Admission Course covers topics related to regulatory, legal, and practice issues specific to Ontario. It is designed to supplement the applicant's formal professional education and the practical experience gained during the period of internship. Familiarity with The Canadian Handbook of Practice is part of the Admission Course.

To be eligible for registration in the Admission Course, the applicant must:

The content of the lectures for 2008 includes the following:

e. Work Experience Requirements

Once the CACB has certified an individual’s credentials, he or she submits an application for appointment as an intern architect with the Intern Architect Program (IAP). The applicant must find a mentor with one of the ten provincial architectural associations. The OAA can provide a list of architects who are willing to serve as mentors.

Applicants must complete 5,600 hours of work experience to fulfill the experience requirement. This must include 940 hours of experience in Ontario (within the three years before an application for licence) on projects physically located in Ontario, under the personal supervision and direction of an architect licensed to engage in the practice of architecture in Ontario. Applicants may be eligible for credit for up to 4,660 hours of their international work experience.

Each applicant must satisfy the requirements of the Canadian Experience Record Book (CERB), and record all work experience in the CERB.

Work experience will be reviewed by the OAA and may be considered for part of the Intern Architect Program requirements. If an applicant’s international experience forms part of the 5,600 hours of required experience, he or she must attend an interview with the Experience Requirements Committee at the time of applying for a licence.

f. Examinations

The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) was developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and has been adopted by the Canadian provincial and territorial architectural associations as a requirement for licensing. The ARE is administered and graded by computers in test centres across Canada and the United States. Although the OAA sends eligibility information directly to the testing organization, intern architects are responsible for scheduling each division of the examination. (The different divisions of the exam are listed in section 3.h.)

An individual who fails a division must wait for six months before retaking that division. Results are sent directly to the OAA, and the OAA forwards the results to the intern architect.

g. Language Requirements

The OAA does not require any specific language abilities. However, as part of the academic assessment process by the CACB, an applicant may be required to attend an interview, in English or French, before the Assessment Committee for a detailed evaluation.

h. Fees

GST must be added to the costs listed here. Except for the Architect Registration Examination fees, all fees are shown in Canadian dollars. Payment must be made in Canadian funds and is non-refundable. Shipping costs may apply.

Various Application Fees

Assessment of academic qualifications by the CACB for graduates of a foreign school of architecture

$1,300

Assessment of academic qualifications by the CACB for graduates of an accredited school of architecture in Canada or the United States

$110

OAA intern architect annual fee

$145

Canadian Handbook of Practice

$320

Mastering the Business of Architecture kit

$160

Admission Course

$375

Application fee for licence

$275

Application fee for certificate of practice

$250

Architect Registration Examination Fees

These fees are listed in US dollars. Canadian applicants must pay the exchange rate plus GST. Exam fees cannot be refunded once an appointment to write has been set.

Pre-design

$102

General structures

$102

Lateral forces

$102

Mechanical and electrical systems

$102

Building design/Materials and methods

$102

Construction documents and services

$102

Site planning

$153

Building planning

$153

Building technology

$153

Licence Fee

Annual licence fee renewal

$760

Certificate of Practice Annual Fees

Annual certificate of practice renewal (1 architect)

$390

Annual certificate of practice renewal (2–4 architects)

$630

Annual certificate of practice renewal (5–10 architects)

$1,295

Annual certificate of practice renewal (11 or more architects)

$3,325

i. Third Parties

Name of Third Party Relationship to Regulatory Body

Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB)

Assesses academic qualifications for both domestic and international applicants.

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)

Develops and facilitates the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) to assess candidates.

j. Typical Length of the Registration Process

The registration process can require from one year to five years or more.

Currently, there is no limit to the length of time that individuals can remain as intern architects.

k. Accredited Programs

The OAA does not accredit university programs in architecture. The CACB manages this process.

Three Schools of Architecture in Ontario have professional architecture degree programs that are accredited by the CACB.

The Architectural Science program at Ryerson University is a four-year degree program and is considered pre-professional studies. To pursue licensing from the OAA, individuals require further studies to attain a professional architecture degree.

The following schools in Canada outside of Ontario have CACB-accredited programs in architecture:

l. Internal Review/Appeal Process

If an applicant wishes to appeal a decision involving his or her application, the Registrar evaluates the applicant’s application package to ensure that all requirements have been met for the issuing of a licence.

If applicants have any issues regarding their work experience, they have the option of requesting an interview with the Experience Requirements Committee, which will make a determination that is binding on both the applicant and the Registrar.

The Registrar has never proposed to refuse an applicant a licence. However, if the Registrar were to propose to refuse a licence, the applicant may appeal to the Registration Committee. A tribunal (consisting only of architects) of the Registration Committee hears the appeal. If the tribunal agrees with the Registrar, the applicant may appeal the decision to the Ontario Divisional Court.

The Registration Committee is composed of:

4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS

The OAA has a pilot mentoring program with the Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) that helps internationally trained applicants integrate into the architectural profession in Ontario (for example, by providing job-hunting skills). The first phase of the program began in 2006 with 16 participants. By the spring of 2008, 61 people will have been mentored. There are no fees for this program. This pilot program ends March 31, 2008.

5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS

The OAA has a reciprocity agreement with all Canadian provincial and territorial licensing authorities with respect to the issuing of a licence. There is a separate reciprocity agreement with the United States for the issuing of a licence.

A reciprocal agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico is currently under development.

6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY

a. Nature and Frequency of Communication

Most of the OAA’s contact with applicants is by phone or e-mail or through personal visits. The frequency varies by applicant, and can be frequent.

b. Backlogs

There is no backlog for licence applications.

c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process

The most frequent complaints from interns concern:

With respect to employment, a number of interns state that they are unwilling to take entry-level positions when they are overqualified for the position.

7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration conducted a survey in 2005 to collect information about occupational regulatory bodies in Ontario.

A new examination, the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC), is under development and is intended to be implemented in late 2008.

8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS

Definitions used in these tables:

Alternative class of licence: a class of licence that enables its holder to practise with limitations; additional registration reqirements must be met in order to be fully licensed. The Ontario Association of Architects did not have an alternative class of licence in 2005 or 2006. Alternative classes of license granted by the Ontario Association of Architects since 2007 are specified under the tables below.

Applicant: a person who has applied to start the process for entry to the profession.

Applicant actively pursuing licensing: Intern architects (IAs) paying the IA annual fee plus applicants who have completed their internship and are applying to be licensed as architects (members).

Inactive applicant: a cancelled IA.

Intern Architect (IA): A person who is completing the requirements to obtain a licence as an architect. An IA is not permitted to call him/herself an architect or provide architectural services to the public.

Member: a person who is currently able to use the protected title or professional designation “architect.”

Languages in which application information materials were available
Language 2005 2006 2007
English

Yes

Yes

Yes

French

No

No

No

Other(s)      
Countries where internationally educated applicants were initially trained in architecture
Applications received 2005 2006 2007
Largest number

Iran

India

Iran

Second-largest number

Romania

China

India

Third-largest number

India

Iran

China

Fourth-largest number

China, Colombia, Egypt

Egypt

Egypt, Iraq

Fifth-largest number

Mexico

Colombia, Iraq

Ukraine

Staff employed by the Ontario Association of Architects
Number of staff 2005 2006 2007
Involved in registration process

3

3

4

Involved in appeals process

N/A

N/A

N/A

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in architecture (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
Members Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
Total members1

1,3922

477

311

366

2,546

Non-practising members3

11

2

1

0

14

1 As of January 25, 2008.

2 The total number of members in Ontario includes 19 professional engineers grandfathered as architects.

3 The OAA category of non-practising member is an architect with terms, conditions and limitations who cannot be involved in the practice of architecture.

Applicants processed by the Ontario Association of Architects in 2005

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in architecture (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2005 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received1

87

19

12

65

183

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

560

112

106

279

1,057

Inactive applicants

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who became members

33

8

7

12

60

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence but were not issued a licence

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

1 Applications for IA status, plus applications to be licensed as architects (members) by applicants who have completed their internship.

2 This information not available until an Application for Licence is submitted.

Applicants processed by the Ontario Association of Architects in 2006

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in architecture (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2006 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received1

131

22

22

77

252

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

657

126

121

344

1,248

Inactive applicants

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who became members

49

7

7

12

75

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence but were not issued a licence

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

1 Applications for IA status, plus applications to be licensed as architects (members) by applicants who have completed their internship.

2 This information not available until an Application for Licence is submitted.

Applicants processed by the Ontario Association of Architects in 2007

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in architecture (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2007 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received1

118

9

12

71

210

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

725

153

131

403

1,412

Inactive applicants

238

55

38

115

446

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Applicants who became members

42

9

7

10

68

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence3 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence3

11

2

1

0

14

1 Applications for IA status, plus applications to be licensed as architects (members) by applicants who have completed their internship.

2 This information not available until an Application for Licence is submitted.

3 Non-practising membership: a class of licence that does not enable its holder to practise architecture.

9. SOURCES

Ontario Association of Architects and Settlement.Org, “Your Path to Becoming an Architect in Ontario: A partnership between OAA and Settlement.Org.” http://www.settlement.org/site/ecareermaps/arch/ontario/oaa.html. Last accessed: May 29, 2008.

Ontario Association of Architects website. http://www.oaa.on.ca. Last accessed: January 29, 2008.

Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration website, “Access to the Profession of Architecture in Ontario.” http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/working/career/professions/architects.shtml. Last accessed: January 29, 2008.

Representatives of the Ontario Association of Architects met with staff of the Office of the Fairness Commissioner on October 1, 2007, to provide further information for this study.