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Government and Public Affairs

Update - PACT’s evolving role in policy and government affairs

March 13, 2018

The OAA’s Policy Advocacy Coordination Team (PACT) has a new name and a refocused mandate.  Read more about PACT’s recent consultations related to the updated Construction Lien Act, the Home Inspectors Act, and Quality-Based Selection (QBS)—all initiatives with great significance to the architectural profession. Also, get an update on what’s happening at Queen’s Park, and check out the Government Relations (GR) Portal.
The OAA’s policy and government relations agenda is managed by Council, the Practice Advocacy Coordination Team (“PACT”—more on this below), and the OAA’s policy and government relations staff. 
The mandate of the Committee is to address issues and concerns that are political in nature, to identify and triage ongoing and emerging issues, and to coordinate the OAA’s efforts to “achieve maximum effectiveness” in our response. OAA staff regularly monitor the political and media landscape for important developments, flagging them to PACT and to Council and working with architects to determine our course of action.
With the OAA’s increasing involvement on legislative, regulatory, and even municipal affairs, the role of PACT has been quickly evolving. As they have taken on more Policy (as opposed to Practice) work, the decision was made by Council to change the name to the Policy Advocacy Coordination Team. Given the last year we’ve had, the timing for this change couldn’t be more fitting!
With an election just around the corner, the Ontario government has kicked into overdrive to complete its legislative agenda before the provincial election in June. Developments regarding Ontario’s legislature—Queen’s Park—are happening on a daily basis including this weekend’s selection of Doug Ford as the new Progressive Conservative leader to replace an embattled Patrick Brown. From the government side, changes to legislation and regulations, public consultations, and meetings are at an all-time high.
The OAA has recently entered submissions on three of these consultations, all of which have great significance to the architectural profession: 
  • Construction Lien Act: This legislation modernizes the lien and holdback process and has a new focus on prompt payment. While the legislation appears to improve on the previous legislation, the OAA contains to have a number of concerns including over the applicability of substantial performance for architectural services. While this would have been best addressed in the original legislative, we hope to resolve our concerns during development of the related regulations. To read the entire submission, click here
  • Home Inspectors Act: This legislation intends to regulate the home inspection industry in Ontario. The OAA proactively sought and secured an exemption for architects, avoiding a troubling situation where our members may have been prevented from delivering part of their usual and customary services. The government is currently consulting on how to best implement this exemption and the OAA has again recommended a full exemption for the architectural profession. To read the entire submission, click here
  • PSPC QBS: At the federal level, the OAA has also made a submission in response to Public Service and Procurement Canada’s (formerly PWGSC) Request For Information about the introduction of Quality-based Selection (QBS) for federal procurements. The OAA has written a submission which strongly supports the government’s intention to use QBS. To read the whole submission, click here
Over the past year, the OAA has also commented on the provincial budget, professional exemptions in the Employment Standards Act, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), elevator and accessibility issues, Ontario Building Code changes including regarding electric vehicles, heritage and adaptive reuse, municipal planning affairs, and more.
To see these submissions or learn more about the Policy and Government Relations work that Council, PACT and the OAA team are doing, check out our Government Relations (GR) Portal . And check back soon for the OAA’s 2018 Election Issues Paper plus our commentary following the introduction of the provincial budget on March 28.