COVID-19 – FAQs for Supervising Architects, Intern Architects, Student Associates, and Mentors

Q: I’m an Intern Architect and I’m worried about not being able to pay my fees. Will my status lapse?

A: Because of the uncertainty and the potential for financial hardship resulting from COVID-19, it will be important to maintain communication with the OAA regarding any upcoming 2021 fees. Please contact the Office of the Registrar to discuss the available options. Should financial hardship be a concern to you, please refer to the OAA Financial Hardship Policy. For Student Associates, please ensure that your annual free enrollment is up to date. Contact officeoftheregistrar@oaa.on.ca if you have any questions.

Last updated: October 7, 2020

Q: Will applications for licence and enrollment in the IAP still be accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Yes, applications will continue to be accepted.

OAA staff is working remotely and exercising best efforts to maintain regular processing times. However, due to the evolving situation and factors beyond control, processing times could be delayed. If you are currently awaiting an Experience Requirements Committee (ERC) interview, please note existing scheduled interviews are being suspended at this time while we investigate options.

The OAA is working to determine the best way forward. OAA staff will be in direct contact with candidates whose interview has been impacted—these individuals will receive priority placement at the next available opportunity. If you wish to apply for an Experience Requirements Committee Interview, please note that no new interviews are being scheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic. If a new application is received, the candidate will be put on a waiting list for the next available interview.

Last updated: June 9, 2020

Q: Is the ExAC being affected? What about the ARE?

A: The OAA is currently monitoring the situation and in communication with the national Committee for the Examination for Architects in Canada (CExAC) regarding the next administration of the ExAC. At the present time, registration and the exams will still take place as scheduled, but the committee will be continually assessing the situation as it unfolds. We understand that there may be some challenges for interns who are working toward the required 2800 hours of practical experience required to sit the examination due to changes in employment situations—this issue is being considered by CExAC. In the interim, Intern Architects are encouraged to check with www.exac.ca/en/accueil.html

Candidates planning to take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) should refer to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website for the most recent updates at www.ncarb.org/press/coronavirus-update-ncarb-services.

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Q: I am now working remotely. How do I ensure I am appropriately supervised?

A: While all Intern Architects and Student Associates must be supervised and directed by a Supervising Architect on a daily basis, many tasks can be completed remotely. To ensure appropriate supervision and guidance, daily interaction with your Supervising Architect must be maintained through frequent emails, telephone calls, and/or video chats. Intern Architects and Student Associates should continue to contact their Supervising Architect with any questions they may have. Frequent communication with Mentors is also encouraged, not only because Mentors are required to review and attest to the IAP experience, but also because they will be a valuable resource during this time of uncertainty.

The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) has prepared an excellent resource page on COVID-19 preparedness their website, which offers links to guides for working remotely, among other topics.

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Q: As a Supervising Architect, how do I supervise remotely?

 A: Ensure you are in contact with your Intern Architect or Student Associate on a daily basis and check in through email, phone, or video chats. During this period of uncertainty, it is important to keep in mind that employees may have additional questions, concerns, and worries.

Supervising Architects are encouraged to contact the OAA at officeoftheregistrar@oaa.on.ca should they have any questions about temporary adjustments in their workplace environment that affect their ability to monitor and supervise the work performed by an Intern Architect or Student Associate. You may wish to access this resource from CAMH, posted on the TSA website, providing succinct and clear tips on how to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19.

Among the many benefits of employing Intern Architects and Student Associates is their ability to work independently under the direction of a Supervising Architect. As always, the OAA will continue to rely on Supervising Architects to support, direct, delegate, and review the work of their Intern Architect or Student Associate. The review comments and experience attestation by Supervising Architects are a vital component of the IAP, and the OAA relies on this commitment to ensure those enrolled in the IAP are gaining the requisite competencies. This process will be more vital than ever during this time of working remotely.

Last updated: June 9, 2020

Q: Can I still sign up for the Admission Course?

A:  With the cancellation of the OAA Conference, the segments of the OAA Admission Course that were to be offered in-person at that time have also been cancelled. Additionally, the in-class edition that was scheduled for the fall of 2020 has been cancelled.  There continues to be one alternative option for interns wishing to fulfil their Admission Course requirements this year—an online version through the University of Toronto. 

Last updated: October 7, 2020

Q: Can I continue to enter experience on my CERB if I have been laid off?

A: As an Intern Architect or Student Associate, you can continue to enter any outstanding experience if you are no longer employed, provided you were employed at the time you gained the experience and your Supervising Architect can confirm the experience.

In the event of any changes to your employment due to COVID-19, contact the OAA and refer to section 1.3 of the Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) Manual for further information.

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Q: Will COVID-19 affect the OAA review of my CERB submission?

A: OAA staff is working remotely and exercising best efforts to maintain regular review and processing times. However, due to the evolving situation and factors beyond control, experience review times could be delayed.

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Q: Should Student Associates keep logging hours if they have reached the allowable 760 hours?

A: For information related to the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) certification process, please check for updates at cacb.ca/special-announcement.

There may be some delays in the CACB assessment timelines in the coming months, and the OAA is carefully monitoring the situation. This page will be updated as more information becomes available. For Student Associates who are have been logging student hours and are now awaiting CACB certification the OAA recommends that you continue to log hours. If you reach the maximum allowable 760 hours as a Student Associate while waiting for CACB certification please contact officeoftheregistrar@oaa.on.ca or the staff you are already in communication with at the OAA.

Last updated: April 1, 2020

Q: Is CACB’s Academic Certification Program still accepting applications? Is BEFA still active?

A: On April 26, 2020, the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) issued an update about the Academic Certification Program, the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) program, and others. Visit cacb.ca/special-announcement.

Last updated: April 27, 2020