Other Proposed Changes

Beyond the 13 Guiding Principles, there are several other items that will require other parts of the Architects Act be reviewed and updated for consistency. There may be consequential changes to other statutes as well as interior design matters that are being addressed with government.
 

Consequential Changes

Joint Board of Practice

By better defining practice entities, we will no longer need to take joint firm applications to a Joint Board for assessment and so the board can be repealed. Repeal of the Joint Board will require the repeal of Schedule 8 of the Government Organization Act and coordination with the statute governing professional engineers.  
 

Language 

Some of the language in the old Act is very dated and we will be using more modern references. For example, inconsistent references to interior designers throughout the legislation will be cleaned up.
 

Governance Framework

The governance framework under the current Act is out of date in that it does not provide the tools necessary for the AAA to function efficiently and effectively in a modern professional regulatory context.

The roles and responsibilities of Council, the Registrar, Complaints Review Committee, the Chair of the Complaints Review Committee and the Registration Committee need to be updated. In addition, these bodies need appropriate delegation authority. The composition of statutory committees and Council will also need to be amended to reflect the inclusion of allied professions such as interior designers and architectural technologists. The Chartered Professional Accountants Act is a good legislative model for proposed changes.
 

Discipline matters

The Chartered Professional Accountants Act and the new Foresters Act lay out modern approaches to managing complaints and discipline. The new Architects Act will take significant cues from these statutes in regard to the manner in which complaints and discipline are addressed in the newer legislation. One of the challenges that the AAA current faces with our current legislation is a lack of ability to compel evidence. Another limiting factor is the unrealistic timeline that is mandated within the legislation for investigation of complaint files. 
 

Updating and Streamlining Registration

The Architects Act currently addresses the topic of registration in Part 4 in a somewhat cursory manner. The rules and processes around registration are not always clear which can make registration applications from other jurisdictions difficult. AAA is aiming to update the legislation in regard to registration such that:
 
  • The role of the Registrar is much cleaner – currently the Registrar and the Chair of Registration Committee each have specific powers and responsibilities, with ultimate administrative approval coming from Council. The new legislation will give Council policy-making authority, but delegate administrative authority to the Registrar. Entry to practice requirements will be set in legislation, policy set by Council, and administration of such to be done by the Registrar.
  • The Registrar will be given delegation authority for efficient operations.
  • The registration process will be set out (at a high level) including appeal and cancellation mechanisms.
  • Registrants will be required to notify the Registrar if their registration information changes.
  • Mechanisms for periodic registration renewal will be established.
  • Matters around reinstatement will be clarified.
  • Clarification around the information that the Association must maintain with respect to each registrant.
 

Authority Over Interns

Currently, there are several categories of registrants, including intern architects and intern interior designers which are set out in the bylaws. This means that they are not subject to the statutory discipline, registration or practice review portions of the Act. These registers should be addressed in the Act and regulation so that the AAA has comprehensive authority over all registrants engaging in the practice of architecture and interior design.
 

Information Collection Use and Disclosure

The disclosure of information about regulated members is a challenging area for many regulators. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that regulators regulate professions in the public interest such that they must balance the information privacy interests of individual members with the public interest of knowing certain things about regulated professionals.

Examples include knowing whether an individual is in good standing as a professional, whether there are conditions on their ability to practice and even their discipline history. The current Act does not contemplate such disclosures and does not address the use or disclosure of discipline information. It is important to properly authorize the AAA to disclose discipline information to other regulatory bodies as per modern legislation.
 

Interior Design Matters

A new Task Force came together relatively recently in response to a concern expressed about the lack of specific perspective on matters that would concern the Licensed Interior Design (LID) membership of the AAA. Each of the other Legislation Review Task Forces had included a LID member for that perspective, but it was acknowledged that an overall LID view of the legislation had not been sought.

In 2018 the Licensed Interior Design Legislation Task Force began meeting to review the Architects Act and General Regulation with a view to considering how the profession of Licensed Interior Design should be represented in the future legislation. The process was one of extensive review of the legislation, sharing of views, and research on how interior design is represented in legislation across the country.  

At the November 2019 Council meeting an Interior Design Legislation Review Task Force Recommendations report was presented that outlined a series of suggestions. After considerable debate, AAA Council voted in support of all the recommendations put forward by the Task Force.

The five key issues and recommendations from the task force are as follows:

Issue 1 – Title Protection

The task force is recommending a new title altogether that would more accurately reflect the nature of the scope of work currently done by LIDs: Interior Architect. This title is being suggested as a way to eliminate the public confusion around the various references to interior designers used in the marketplace today.
 

Issue 2 – Scope Definition

The Task Force is not recommending any substantive changes to the scope. However, they have noted that the definition should be edited slightly so that it uses inclusive language rather than the negative, exclusive language. Minor wording changes would accomplish this.

The location within the legislation for scope definition should also be the same for both professions. It may be desirable for various reasons to put both in the General Regulation (where it is easier to update the definition as the profession evolves) or both in the Architects Act (where it sets the tone for everything to follow). The Task Force simply felt that both definitions should be together.
 

Issue 3 – Name of Association

It was recognized that the name: Alberta Association of Architects does not currently reflect the inclusion of Licensed Interior Designers. It is agreed that once the matter of Protected Title is decided regarding LIDs or Interior Architects, that the title of the association should better reflect the membership. Various options for names are suggested in this report.
 

Issue 4 – Representation

The Architects Act delegates the privilege of self-regulation to the AAA. The current legislation is inconsistent in how it represents the regulation of interior design in regards to regulatory functions. The proportion of LIDs on Council, on the Complaints Review Committee and the Practice Review Board for example is specified in a way that is limiting. In other sections of the legislation the representation is more generous. The underlying philosophy recommended by the Task Force is that this segment of the membership be more equitably represented, and that their perspective be honored, especially when LID members are the subject of disciplinary process.
 

Issue 5 – Use of Terms

It may be an artifact of the haste in which interior designers were added to the legislation, but there are many places throughout the Act and General Regulation where references to LIDs and architects is inconsistent. In some cases, there are gaps where assumptions must be made that a rule that applies to an architect member must logically apply to a LID member. The Task Force noted that care must be taken in drafting the new legislation for more considerate use of language for inclusiveness, clarity and consistency.
 

AAA members and other stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the policy recommendations noted on this website. ‚Äč

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