The Architects Act
The provincial Architects Act was brought into existence in 1920 by the government of British Columbia.
Since the 1950s when the Act was last fundamentally changed, there have only been a few major amendments and as a result many areas are outdated, do not reflect modern society’s expectations and governance principles, nor the evolution of professional architectural practice.
The last important amendment to the Act occurred in 2012 when consensual resolution was authorized as an option for disciplinary matters related to AIBC registrants. Consensual resolution is considered a modern, fair, efficient and cost-effective means of resolving disciplinary matters. Read more.
Minor amendments were made to the Architects Act in late 2018 as a result of the changes to the regulation of the engineering profession brought about by the Professional Governance Act, which oversees the regulation of five professions. Simply put, reference to the now defunct Engineers and Geoscientists Act was replaced with the name of the new legislation, the Professional Governance Act.
How the Architects Act Can be Changed
Because it is an Act of government, only the provincial government can make changes. Neither the AIBC nor its registrants “own” or control the Architects Act. Amendments can occur without approval from the AIBC or its registrants.
Focus of Act Review
The AIBC has identified areas in the Act in need of attention and responds to requests from government seeking this information. Key problem areas have been distilled to four themes: Public Protection; Qualifications; Regulation; and, Governance.
Specific issues that demonstrate the limitations of the Act include:
- hardwired experience requirements for intern architects and alternative qualifications applicants inconsistent with national standards and agreements;
- inability to set up limited liability partnerships (LLP);
- absence of a “Duties and Responsibilities” section, an essential piece of modern regulatory legislation;
- antiquated or missing investigation/disciplinary provisions in need of modernization;
- harmonization of the Act with other built environment and public safety laws and regulations, including the B.C. Building Code; and
- handling of non-compliance with mandatory continuing education through disciplinary process, rather than as an administrative matter.
With an understanding that legislative change is at the sole discretion of government, the AIBC conducted a series of engagement sessions with registrants in 2014. Overall, there was continued support for working with government to address the legislative shortcomings.
Recent events including the passage of the Professional Governance Act in 2018, and the ongoing review of the health professions’ legislation, indicate an appetite for deeper public policy review of professional regulation legislation in the province.