The AIBC recently had the pleasure of hosting CACB colleagues Mourad Mohand-Said and Celeste Burnie, who were in Vancouver for a series of Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) Interviews. Their visit was a chance to catch up about BEFA and help spread the word about this program, which is designed to help foreign architects achieve registration in Canada.
AIBC: What is BEFA?
MMS: The BEFA program is designed for licensed architects from foreign countries with work experience. The BEFA process is founded on the integrity and high standards of the Canadian system. BEFA is not a shortcut; it’s another pathway to registration in this country.
AIBC: What are the benefits of BEFA?
MMS: My belief is that the BEFA program is invaluable to foreign licensed architects. The program was designed to allow eligible, qualified candidates to be registered within a year, which is huge. Compared to the traditional pathway, BEFA helps foreign licensed architects substitute the need to go through an internship of at least two years and exam, with an alternate but equally rigorous certification process.
AIBC: Will you describe the BEFA process?
MMS: First, applicants need to make sure they are eligible. Foreign licensed architects have to be registered in their home country for seven years, at least. They have to show experience within the last ten years in 12 areas of competency. In addition, they must have at least six months of Canadian work experience. The later must have been acquired under the personal supervision and direction of an architect in the Canadian province or territory in which they will be applying for registration.
Second is the self-assessment stage. It allows candidates to show how they fulfill the requirements in regards to the 12 areas of Canadian Standards of Competency for Practice. Candidates present as evidence their specific role for each project of their submission.
The third and final stage is the Interview. It is a 90-minute interview with a panel of three architects. Candidates present their projects demonstrating their competency to practice in Canada.
We encourage applicants to get as much information as they can about eligibility to practice architecture in Canada and building codes. They should read the BEFA resources on our website: cacb.ca/en/broadly-experienced-foreign-architect-befa-certification.
AIBC: How long does it take?
MMS: Typically, the BEFA process takes one year. However, we had a candidate who went through the process in six months because they were very well-prepared, they were eligible, did a good job on their self-assessment and performed well in the interview. But I want to stress that the BEFA process is not a shortcut. It is a process that requires time, dedication and rigour.
AIBC: Where does an interested candidate begin?
MMS: Candidates can visit www.cacb.ca and click on the “BEFA Certification” section where they will find all the information they need to get started. Candidates can also call us at 613-241-8399.
Useful resources on the CACB website
- Success Stories: cacb.ca/en/success-stories
- FAQ (coming soon)
The BEFA Program was launched on September 21, 2012 and is in place for all 11 provincial and territorial architectural licensing authorities in Canada. BEFA was developed and piloted through AIBC leadership of staff and volunteers.