It is anticipated that the AIBC will be transitioning legislation from the Architects Act to the Professional Governance Act (PGA) by early February 2023.
Here’s what architects and other registrants need to know before the transition date:
The Practice of Architecture in British Columbia
- The actual practice of the architectural profession in B.C. is being minimally impacted.
Some updated professional standards are required under the PGA, but none is a dramatic departure from current conduct and ethical expectations.
- Titles and designations are remaining the same.
“Architect” is a protected title and will continue to be restricted to registered architects – as well as “Intern Architect” and “Architectural Technologist”.
- The reserved scope of practice for architects will essentially be the same, with some improvements and clarity as to when an architect is required by law.
Section 60, or the “exceptions”, is being replaced by an updated “reserved practice” scope in regulations to the PGA that are specific to the practice of architecture. Better harmonization with the BC Building Code and clarity for the public, including clients and building officials, have been key AIBC recommendations.
- The definition of “good standing” is being expanded.
Currently, good standing is set in the Architects Act to simply mean a payment by registrants of their annual fee on or before February 1. Good standing will now include payment of all fees owing to the AIBC by the due date; not being suspended or under a restriction, condition or limitation of practice that removes a registrant from good standing; and compliance with the Continuing Education System, and all Certificate of Practice, Professional Liability Insurance and Firm Update requirements. This is consistent with professional regulatory expectations in other professions.
- The AIBC’s practice advice service is unchanged.
Architects and other registrants, as well as the public, can continue to seek information and direction from the AIBC’s practice advice program.
Continuing Education System
- A minimum of two Core Learning Units related to Indigenous Peoples Learning are required each reporting period.
Mandatory continuing education programs that support Indigenous reconciliation are required under the PGA. Starting this current 2022–2024 reporting period, CES Participants must meet requirements for learning related to Indigenous history, Truth and Reconciliation and/or engagement. Learn more.
- CES non-compliance will be addressed as an administrative matter.
This means that after an appropriate amount of notice and reminders, the suspension/cancellation of a registrant’s registration can take place for those who fail to complete CES requirements, instead of resorting to the formal professional conduct complaint and discipline process. Read more.
- The AIBC’s CES two-year reporting cycle and deadline of June 30 are remaining the same.
CES Participants will continue to self-report to the AIBC through the Registrant Portal and follow the same two-year reporting period with a total of 36 LUs required (of which 16 must be Core).
Handling of Existing/Current Applications, Complaints and Ongoing Matters
- All applications, complaints and ongoing matters submitted prior to the transition date (to be determined) will follow the current processes under the Architects Act, until they are completed.
Completed applications already submitted to the AIBC (such as applications for registration or firm change requests) will continue to be processed under the requirements of the Architects Act, current AIBC Bylaws, and other requirements. After transition, all new applications received will require to be submitted using the new published forms in accordance with PGA processes and requirements.
This approach is the same for professional conduct and discipline matters: All complaints received under the Architects Act will follow the current process, and all discipline matters commenced under the Architects Act will continue and complete under that law and bylaws to the greatest extent possible. Once transitioned, all new complaints, investigations and discipline matters will follow PGA requirements, new bylaws, and updated processes.
- The pathways for registering as an Architect AIBC remain the same.
There are several pathways for becoming a registered architect in British Columbia: Internship in Architecture Program, Mutual Recognition Agreements, and Alternative Qualifications. The requirements for these pathways will remain substantially the same to current standards, with important changes to the Broadly Experienced Applicant (BEA) Program. Learn more.
Firms and Certificate of Practice
- Firm regulation is largely staying the same.
The regulation of architectural firms in British Columbia is remaining essentially the same, including corporate ownership requirements. There will be an expansion of partnership options to include Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).
- Certificate of Practice is unchanged.
Certificates of Practice are not changing, and will remain the medium through which firms and registrants are authorized to practice the profession of architecture in British Columbia.
AIBC Council and Elections
- AIBC Council is being downsized.
Under the PGA, AIBC Council will eventually be leaner with greater proportion of lay (public member) representation. Council will consist of seven elected architect councillors, four appointed lay councillors, and a non-voting immediate past president.
- Council Nomination Process will be changing.
All nominations and appointments will be merit-based as required under the new legislation. Architects will continue to vote for architect councillors in elections.
- Eventually, AIBC Council will be referred to as “AIBC Board”.
While this terminology change won’t be in force until later in 2023, under the PGA, the term “council” will be replaced with “board”. In addition, “President” will become “Chair”.
Regulatory Documents, Website, and Resources
- There will be new terms and changes to current terminology.
Registrants will begin to see new terminology across the AIBC website and in documents. For instance, under the PGA the term “member” will be replaced with “registrant”, and “Registration Board” will be renamed “Credentials Committee”. Note that some of the terminology changes will not be in force until after the transition date.
- Key regulatory documents will be updated by the transition date, with some material being revised post-transition.
The AIBC website and practice resources will be updated in a phased approach: key regulatory documents will be revised and available on the day of transition, with other documents not being updated until after the transition date. The AIBC will clearly indicate which documents have been updated, and which have not.
- More information will be available on the AIBC website.
The principles of enhanced transparency and public safety are key elements of the PGA. More information will be available on the AIBC website – for example, former registrants will be searchable in the AIBC’s Online Register, and more information about discipline history for all registrants (current and former) will be displayed. Of note, the update to the online register will be taking place after February 5.
The AIBC and Getting in Contact with Staff
- The AIBC’s name, mandate and core functions are remaining the same.
The AIBC will still exist as a statutory corporation known as the “Architectural Institute of British Columbia”, and will continue to regulate the profession of architecture in B.C. in the interest of the public.
- Department contact information and staff responsibilities are not changing.
While the largest impact of the PGA transition is on AIBC operations, AIBC staff will remain in the same departments, and are reachable through the same contact methods available on the website.
Next Steps Before Transition
It is anticipated that there is about one month left before the AIBC will be transitioned to the PGA. Over the coming weeks, the AIBC will be sharing more information with registrants, including the remaining revised bylaws and the rest of the draft Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. We encourage registrants to review the material and email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.