Good afternoon. Thank you for allowing me to present to this Committee and granting me a few minutes.

As I indicated in my written submission, I am a past president of the OAA, the only regulator of architecture in Ontario. The OAA is entirely self-funded by members and receives no financial support from government. Since serving 6 years on council, 2 as president, I continue to remain involved in regulatory activities with the OAA as a committee member.

In addition to volunteer activities, I run a busy architectural practice in Ottawa where we deliver high quality projects across the country, and internationally, in complex settings. My practice is now in its fourth decade and since my ownership in 2012 has continued to grow its profile as a firm that leads in technical development of built infrastructure. My firm has always relied on the positive relationship between licensed architects and technical leaders, all of whom have been licensed technologists OAA. My firm would not be what it is without their role and expertise.

It is crucial that the OAA licensed technology program be reinstated. This is a matter of public interest. Our buildings are becoming more complex while we put increased pressure on delivering more homes faster, homes that are sustainable, durable, and accessible. This can only happen with more properly regulated professionals who will continue to work as leaders within firms and as business owners running their own practices.

This is crucial: reinstatement of the OAA licensed technology program will allow more regulated professionals to continue doing what they have done successfully for years: create homes for Ontarians, guided by the professional standards of the OAA, meeting the strict standards of education, experience and examination that the OAA sets, and respecting the public interest accountability that the OAA brings. No other organization has the same mandate, provincial act or legislative responsibility to regulate architecture in Ontario, and none should. The OAA does this very well and has a track record dating back to its original inception in 1899 and subsequent acts, including the architects act of 1990 and subsequent updates.
I wish to stress the importance of this act being considered.
Many of the drivers of creating homes in Ontario fall into a desire for greater moderate density; these are often projects that licensed technologists OAA can deliver but may be too small for many larger architectural practices. By returning credibility to licensed technologists, this government will enable a broader range of homes to be designed and built, work that is essential to creating not only homes for people but helping to stimulate the economy. No other regulatory body has a mandate for this work, other than the OAA. OAA Licensed Technologists have the training, skills, insurance, professionalism, and responsibility no one else has, other than architects, in this field and in this role.

Architecture is a complex field and not always easily understood by the public. Similar to the practice of law, architecture has broad implications for how people live their lives with dignity. And similar to law, many people don’t always realize how architecture affects them every day, in subtle ways. In that sense, just as paralegals are regulated by the Law Society, so should licensed technologists be regulated by the OAA.
There are thousands of paraprofessionals working in the field of architecture in technology role. The majority of these people are graduates of Ontario colleges, working in Ontario companies, delivering thousands of homes and other buildings in support of a thriving Ontario.
There should be a single regulator of architectural practice in Ontario, just as there is a single regulator of medicine or law.

The parallels are clear: both are self-regulated professional bodies with long histories of serving the public interest. Both organizations are made up of self-governing boards or councils which broadly serve to protect the public interest; they both have complaints mechanisms to manage public complaints about the conduct of their members, along with disciplinary bodies for those very rare occasions when a member transgresses. They both set standards for admittance of members, based on a triple E mandate of education, experience and examination. They both have agreements with other similar professional bodies in other provinces. Paralegals provide essential services within law practices and, when practicing independently, offer a range of paraprofessional services to the public that can offer a lower cost service than a full legal practice, while not replacing the services of a fully registered lawyer. In that same way, a licensed technologist OAA can provide services to the public that may not need a full architect. Both paraprofessionals have access to the regulatory services of their respective bodies who hold them accountable for continuing education, for upholding the standards of practice and for being properly insured in the public interest.
For more than a decade, OAA licensed technologists demonstrated a track record of excellence in service delivery, bringing thousands of projects to light that might not otherwise have been possible.
By passing this legislation, this government will ensure more homes are safely designed. It will allow the OAA to continue the path it started with regulating technologists and in turn, open the door to enhancing access to the profession. It will create opportunities for those thousands of people who are working in an architectural technology field to become regulated, contributing to the practice of architecture and to participate meaningfully in regulatory activities such as serving on council and contributing to a safe, healthy, and vibrant Ontario.
At a personal level, this legislation is important to me. As I stated in my written submission, I would not be the architect I am today, nor would I have the firm I have today were it not for the role licensed technologists have played in my life. In particular, one licensed technologist, Derek Ruddy, has worked by my side for more than 20 years and was crucial in supporting my growth as a business, and as a professional. I learn from him on a regular basis. I consider him my equal as a professional. He, and thousands of others, deserve the credibility passage of this bill will grant. In my career, I have had the honor and privilege of working with some of the best in their field and count myself lucky on a daily basis, helping to make important projects into reality.
I urge this committee, and this government to pass this legislation as soon as possible so as to return legitimacy and credibility to a crucial branch of the profession who are essential to practices, essential to our economy and essential to creating homes for Ontarians.

Spoken in support of legislative change at Standing Committee in February, 2024.

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