Illegal Practice

What is illegal practice?

The AAA is empowered by the Architects Act (the Act) to regulate and monitor the practice of architecture in Alberta and enforce compliance with the Act, to protect the public interest.

Individuals that are not registered architects (RAs) are not permitted to use the term “architect” or any derivative of the word such as “architecture” or “architectural”* in referring to services provided by them individually or by their companies. Likewise, individuals who call themselves “Licensed Interior Designers” but are not licensed through the AAA would also be considered to be practicing illegally.

Misrepresentation of these titles and misleading claims or advertising (inadvertently or purposely), could lead the public to conclude that they would be receiving architectural services from a registered and regulated professional.

Additionally, intern architects, graduates from architectural degree or technology programs, and architects from jurisdictions outside of the province are not granted the right to use the title “architect” (or similar terms) in Alberta without completing the AAA registration process.  

* Architectural Technologists are entitled to use the term "architectural" in their title, however, it may only be used in the context of their title and it may not be used to describe services they offer.

How does the AAA manage illegal practice?

In addition to conducting ongoing research to discover illegal practices, the AAA also receives leads from our members and members of the public. 

When we discover or are advised of instances of illegal practice, our staff sends out carefully worded cease and desist letters in which the offending individual is directed to take remedial measures to stop using the term architect or its derivatives. This means amending their website, marketing materials, social media accounts, third-party websites and more to remove the misleading verbiage. The AAA conducts follow-up inspections 30 days after a cease and desist letter is sent to assess and ensure compliance with the letter and the Act.  In most cases, we enjoy a very high success rate.

The AAA takes illegal practice very seriously and is fully prepared to invoke legal proceedings against any offender who refuses to comply with the cease and desist process.

What to do before you hire an individual to work on your project:
  1. Determine if an architect is required on your project. Single family residences do not usually require an architect. However, just to be safe, we encourage you to read our practice bulletin PB-26 Professional Involvement on Building Projects.
  2. Check out our directory. Enter the person’s name or company name. If they don’t exist in our directory, they are not a registered or licensed member.
  3. Contact our office. Our staff will be happy to assist you in determining if the individual you plan on hiring is registered or licensed. While we must maintain our members’ privacy, we can indicate whether or not they are registered or licensed.
  4. Do your research and ask plenty of questions!

If you have any questions about illegal practice, please contact our office at 780-432-0224 or email to [email protected].