On Thursday, September 19, OAA Council held its meeting at the Association’s Headquarters in Toronto. The event gave Councillors an opportunity to deal with numerous priority and agenda items. Here is a brief rundown of some of the major highlights that occurred.
Comprehensive Education Committee
In May, Council put forward a recommendation to establish a new standing committee to replace the sunset Continuing Education Committee with a broader mandate to oversee all aspects of education-related initiatives carried out by the OAA. The new portfolio of this group, now known as the Comprehensive Education Committee (CEC), will still include the regulatory ConEd Program.
The CEC’s mandate is to oversee matters related to the entire spectrum of education for both the public (i.e. primary, secondary and higher) and architectural practitioners. For the latter, this includes internship, licensure and the various phases of practice, as well as mentorship and retirement. The CEC will also consider the complex and rapid changes in the field of architecture and the broader social context within which it exists— specifically concerning public education, continuing education and professional development.
Three elected members of OAA Council are serving with the group: Agata Mancini, Jeffrey Laberge and Susan Speigel. A call for members-at-large was also issued, with Council approving the appointments of Hadi Jafari, Janet Harrison, Maria Denegri, Krystyna Ng, Welming Chen, Christina Facey and Shane Laptiste.
The OAA has continued to monitor issues regarding Canadian regulatory bodies, noting an increasing level of scrutiny and heightened expectations around accountability and transparency from both the government and the public. The OAA is now establishing a Governance Committee to ensure appropriate oversight over Council’s governance responsibilities. As its mandate includes oversight of OAA human resources, the existing HR Committee will be amalgamated into it.
Reconciliation and Indigenous Architecture
In December 2019, the OAA’s Policy Advocacy Coordination Team (PACT) organized an Indigenous Architecture Roundtable. In the their report, co-facilitators Brian Porter and Immediate Past President John Stephenson suggested the Association pursue establishing a De-Colonization for Architecture Project to examine the current regulatory landscape and consider actions to encourage the evolution of the architectural profession and practice in Ontario with respect to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
To help accomplish this goal, Council approved a motion to establish a small working group consisting of representatives from the new Comprehensive Education Committee, as well as the Practice Committee, PACT, the Vice President Regulatory and two volunteer Indigenous architect members for a four-month exploration to develop short- and medium-term action plans.
Website Redesign Updates and Changes
Council received an update on the current OAA Website redesign project, which is in the final stages of design and in the midst of content development. Various OAA Committees and departments have been offering input to confirm direction and model content into the new structures and templates. The new OAA Website is projected to be launched in late February, coinciding with the unveiling of a new logo.
The main priorities and objectives to be addressed in the Website Redesign Project include meeting accessibility standards, restructuring the site to meet the objectives of member support and public protection/awareness, updating the content management system, redesigning the information in an engaging, user-friendly manner (including responsive layouts for cellphones and tablets) and allowing the site to eventually accommodate bilingual content.
Major changes include:
- a primary content strategy for two separate, but connected, domains for the public and member audiences;
- a Member Directory (formerly “Discover an Architect”) that increases transparency, connecting discipline decisions to members and practices, showing all status categories and offering a complaints form (further, the ability for members to create their own profiles has been removed); and
- a streamlined and integrated Calendar that will include ConEd as well as other events, thereby eliminating separate ConEd Learning Opportunities and advertisements.
Council has approved the venue for the 2023 OAA Conference—Sudbury. In addition to a distinctive Franco-Ontarian culture and being the long-established territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, the city is home to Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture—the first school of architecture built in Canada in more than 40 years. It is felt that hosting the OAA Conference in Sudbury offers the ability to connect with students as well as offer an opportunity to partner with the university as the main host location. Further, by holding the event in the Northern Ontario Society of Architects’ (NOSA’s) catchment area, the OAA embraces its membership community outside its traditional programming along the shores of Lake Ontario.
Council also approved the final schedule of events for the 2020 edition of the OAA Conference, which will be taking place in Toronto next May.
Numerous other items were explored at Council, from amendments to increase the transparency and efficacy of the OAA’s Special Project Funding (SPF) Program for the Local Architectural Societies to approval of the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) Conditions for Licensure in Canada document.
Council agreed to sunset the Honours and Awards Program, moving many of those responsibilities to OAA staff or the Communications Committee. (A SHIFT Challenge Task Group would remain in place to develop the topic for the program’s 2021 edition.) Further, Council agreed to offer support to the Canadian entry for the 2020 Venice Biennale, “Imposter Cities.”
Meeting dates were also set for Council through to the end of 2020. The next one takes place on Thursday, November 7 at the OAA Headquarters. As always, members are welcome to attend the open meeting. Please RSVP to Tina Carfa
if you plan to be there.