The AAA Advocacy Steering Committee
, established at the direction of Council in 2016, recently finalized a high-level plan to pursue strategic advocacy initiatives on behalf of members. The AAA has defined ‘advocacy’ as a strategic and deliberate process to influence attitudes in order to create change in policies and behaviors.
The AAA will grow this program cautiously as there is a critical balance between advocacy and the regulation of Alberta’s design professions (which is a legally mandated role that can never be compromised). While AAA’s regulator role will always take precedence, the Advocacy Committee and AAA administration have identified the following potential roles for AAA advocacy:
- Advocate – Where public interest and regulatory interest coincide with the interests of the professions of architecture and licensed interior design, the AAA can assist in promoting specific policy positions on behalf of members to various stakeholders.
- Educator – The AAA is uniquely positioned to provide information on the scope and ‘big picture’ value of professional services as well as the more technical requirements set out in the Architects Act, General Regulation, Code of Ethics and AAA bylaws.
- Expert – The AAA can be a ‘go-to’ expert for members, clients, government, allied organizations and professions, and the public on matters of professional scope, regulation and practice.
- Facilitator – With careful planning and thoughtful preparation, the AAA can enable membership with tools and messages to provide consistent information about the professions.
- Supporter / Collaborator – On some matters, it may be more appropriate for allied organizations to take the lead on issues, with the AAA playing a supportive role.
The AAA is well-positioned to commence strategic advocacy initiatives that are complementary to its legislated regulatory role. The three priorities of the advocacy master plan are:
- Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – a focus on clarity around scope of practice
- Government & External Relations – general conversations plus some engagement in industry committees where the regulatory perspective is provided
- Public Education – collaboration with Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities who have a national initiative under way, Rise for Architecture.
While the AAA’s legislated regulatory focus and resource limitations will guide the extent of the AAA’s advocacy involvement, the focus on AHJ is the first step of an ongoing effort to promote the value of Alberta’s professional building design professions.