FAQ: The Path to Licensure

Last Updated: January 8, 2021
Click on the links below to see the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions posed by Intern Architects, Student Associates, and others about the path to licensure. Topics include the Internship in Architecture Program (IAP), working with Mentors and Supervising Architects, examinations, the OAA Admission Course, and other regulatory-related matters. If you have any questions for which you don’t see answers, check out the Intern Architect and Student Associate pages, or contact the Office of the Registrar.


APPLICATIONS

What is the Internship in Architecture Program (IAP)?

The Internship in Architecture Program is one of the paths to licensure to become licensed as an Architect in Ontario. To learn more about the program, click here.

Do I need to be employed to apply to the Internship in Architecture Program?

No, although you will eventually need to be employed to log your experience hours as part of the internship requirements. Once you are employed, you must submit a confirmation letter signed by your Supervising Architect to the OAA. 

See Appendix B: Ontario Specific Requirements to the IAP for examples of acceptable work arrangements.

What is an IAP Mentor?

The Mentor acts as an independent guide/advocate for the Intern Architect and Student Associate. The Intern Architect/Student Associate meets the Mentor for regular reviews of experience progress, as well as discussion of career objectives and broader issues related to the profession. The Mentor has to be independent of the Intern’s workplace, and can be an Architect, Retired Member, or Life Member of the OAA. The Mentorship Guide offers helpful information with regard to the Mentor relationship.

I do not know any Architects to act as my Mentor. What do I do?

Applicants are responsible for confirming their own Mentors. If you are unable to find a Mentor, email iap@oaa.on.ca for a list of volunteer Mentors for you to contact. The Mentor confirmation form can be found on the OAA Website.

How long does it take before I am accepted as an Intern Architect?

Each applicant must submit a completed online application. Following acceptance, you will receive a confirmation letter indicating your official Intern Architect acceptance date and other important information.

I am an Intern Architect in another province in Canada. How do I transfer to the OAA?

The application process is the same as any applicant. You will also need to send a request to your previous regulator to transfer your record to the OAA, including copies of your approved hours for review and reapproval.

I am an Intern Architect in the United States. How do I transfer to the OAA?

National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) record holders transferring from the United States may obtain credit for previously approved experience gained while enrolled in the Intern Development Program (IDP). NCARB record holders will need to re-record the post-graduate IDP experience in the Canadian Experience Record Book (CERB), signed by the previous Supervising Architect(s) at the respective place(s) of employment and OAA Mentor. Proof of enrollment in the IDP (i.e. IDP summary reports) will be required.

Contact iap@oaa.on.ca  for more information.

I was previously an Intern Architect with the OAA. How do I reinstate my status?

Any individual who was previously enrolled as an Intern Architect or Student Associate with the OAA may complete the Intern Architect/Student Associate reapplication and the accompanied payment (fees applicable to Intern Architects only).

I am a registered/licensed Architect in another country. Should I apply to the Internship in Architecture Program?

The Internship in Architecture Program is one pathway to licensure. Depending on your level of education and experience, you may also be eligible for alternative routes to licensure, including the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect Program (BEFA). You can also review the list of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and their eligibility requirements.

For more information, email iap@oaa.on.ca. For inquiries related to BEFA, contact the Canadian Architecture Certification Board (CACB)

How do I enrol as a Student Associate with the OAA?

Student Associate status with the OAA is free. Refer to the eligibility requirements on the OAA Website, from which students can also access the online application form. The approval process typically takes about one week to complete. Once approved, Student Associate status is valid until the end of the calendar year and should be renewed annually. 

Which schools of architecture are accredited by the Canadian Architecture Certification Board (CACB)?

Refer to the CACB website for the most current list of accredited Canadian and American schools of architecture.


IAP CHANGES

Do changes to the IAP apply to all Intern Architects and Student Associates in Ontario?

Yes. Changes to the national IAP affect all Intern Architects and Student Associates. Intern Architects and Student Associates are given advance notification of any changes to the IAP.

As of January 1, 2021, all newly enrolled Intern Architects and Student Associates will be required to complete the new Internship in Architecture Program. Previously enrolled Intern Architects and Student Associates may continue under the old program provided they successfully complete the requirements by June 30, 2022. Any Intern Architect or Student Associate enrolled in the program on or after July 1, 2022 will be required to complete the new program.

KEY DATES
January 1, 2021 | Implementation of the new Internship in Architecture Program
January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022 | Transition period to new program
June 30, 2022 | Effective cut-off date for old program
July 1, 2022 onward | Intern Architects/Student Associates must complete the new program

I'm about to complete the IAP. Do I need to log hours for the new categories (e.g. Envelope Detailing & Energy Literacy/Sustainability)?

Intern Architects and Student Associates who were enrolled in the IAP prior to December 31, 2020 and complete the program by June 30, 2022 do not need to gain experience in the new categories. By July 1, 2022, all Intern Architects and Student Associates must transition to the new IAP Manual, with no exceptions.

Do the 2020 changes to the IAP affect RAIC students?

The 2020 changes to the IAP affects all Student Associates, especially those Student Associates who are enrolled in the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Syllabus Program. Student Associates with the OAA who are enrolled as students in the RAIC Syllabus program may accumulate all of the required 3720 hours of architectural experience gained after admission to Part 2 of the program.

I have student hours gained prior to July 1, 2019. Can I submit those for recognition under the IAP in Ontario?

No. Policies and requirements under the new IAP Manual and the current Appendix B to the IAP Manual are not retroactive.


LOGGING EXPERIENCE HOURS

 

When can I start logging work experience?

The date on your Intern Architect or Student Associate letter confirming your program acceptance date is also the date you can begin logging hours. 

Can I log experience hours prior to my internship acceptance?

No backlogging of experience is accepted once you become an Intern Architect with the OAA. 

The following are instances where pre-internship work experience with the OAA will be considered:

1. You had logged hours as an Intern Architect with another jurisdiction in Canada; 
2. You had logged hours via the Architectural Experience Program/ Intern Development Program (IDP/AXP) in the United States; or
3. You had logged hours via post-graduate international experience gained prior to becoming an Intern Architect with the OAA. (Such experience is subject to an Experience  Requirements Committee [ERC] interview upon application for licence.)

For more information, refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements.


I worked while attending university. Can I get any credit for these work experience hours?

To be able to log Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) experience while a student, review the requirements set out on the Student Associate page of the OAA Website. You must be a Student Associate at the time the experience was being gained.

I am a student enrolled in a program accredited by the CACB. How do I log pre-graduation hours?

Student Associates enrolled in a Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB)/NAAB-accredited architecture program may submit up to 760 hours to be credited toward the experience requirements of the IAP. Review the eligibility requirements on the OAA Website

You must be a Student Associate with the OAA while the experience was being gained and submit a 60 Credit Hour Declaration Form as part of the eligibility process.

Can an Intern Architect log backdated hour prior to enrolling in the IAP if they worked under the supervision of an Architect and have a Mentor?

No. Only work experience gained while holding Intern Architect status will be accepted. Referring to the IAP Manual and Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements, exceptions apply to post-graduate international experience gained prior to becoming an Intern Architect with the OAA.

How can I submit experience toward the IAP?

All hours must be submitted on the Canadian Experience Record Book (CERB). Ensure all necessary signatures are completed by you, your Supervising Architect, and your Mentor before submission. Experience may be documented via the online CERB portal or PDF. The experience review process may take up to eight weeks from date of submission to the OAA. Refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements for more details.

I have experience that I obtained while in the IAP, but I have not yet logged and submitted it for review. Can I still submit this experience?

Yes. However, architectural experience received by the OAA more than eight weeks from the date of the last entry will be subject to late submission charges. The late submission charge for every 1000 hours or portion thereof is noted in OAA Schedule A. Note: this amount may be changed by Council at any time.

I had hours logged while enrolled in the U.S. Architectural Experience Program (AXP)—known as the Intern Development Program (IDP]) prior to 2016. Can any of my experience be submitted toward the Internship in Architecture Program?

National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) record holders transferring from the United States may obtain credit for previously approved experience gained while enrolled in the AXP/IDP. They will need to re-record the post-graduate AXP/IDP experience within the CERB, signed by the previous Supervising Architect(s) at the respective place(s) of employment and OAA Mentor. Proof of enrollment in the AXP/IDP (i.e. summary reports) will be required. Refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements for more details.

I am an Architect in another country. Can any of my experience be submitted toward the Internship in Architecture Program?

An individual may record and submit post-graduate international architectural experience gained outside of Canada while not enrolled as an Intern Architect in the IAP. This experience must be signed by the Supervising Architect(s) at the respective place(s) of employment and by an Ontario Mentor. The OAA must receive proof of licensure of the Supervising Architect(s) in the respective jurisdiction(s). All licence applicants must comply with the Ontario requirements for currency of 940 hours of experience in Ontario.

Refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements for more details.

An Intern Architect whose experience submission contains architectural experience gained outside of Canada while not enrolled in the IAP will be required to attend an interview with the Experience Requirements Committee at the time of application for licence.

I have already begun pursuing licensure in another country (outside of Canada and the United States). Can any of my experience be submitted toward the Internship in Architecture Program?

If you have never been an intern in Canada or the United States before, you may be able to seek recognition for some of your work experience that was gained abroad. An individual may record and submit post-graduate international architectural experience gained outside of Canada while not enrolled as an Intern Architect in the IAP. Refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements for more details.

I am enrolled in the IAP and have been offered work overseas in an architectural firm. Will I be able to log these experience hours with the OAA?

Yes, if the experience is gained under direct supervision of a registered/licensed Architect qualified to practise in that jurisdiction. Also, your existing Mentor must sign off on that work experience. This experience still needs to be logged within the time requirements as outlined in Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements. IAP requirements regarding Currency of Experience should also be considered.

Is there a time limit to when I need to finish the IAP?

Currently, there is no time limit to complete the IAP. However, Intern Architects should be aware of the OAA’s five-year fee structure and the currency of experience requirement in Ontario. Refer to Appendix B: Ontario Specific IAP Requirements for more details.

If my internship has lapsed and I wish to reinstate, will I need to start again when I return?

No. If you reinstate your internship, you will be able to resume your IAP progress and not lose any logged hours, exams, or courses prior to your leave. Reinstating interns are encouraged to review and fulfil any updated requirements upon their return.

 

EXAMS 

What is the difference between the NCARB ARE and the ExAC?

In Ontario, Intern Architects have a choice of writing either the Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) or the National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s Architect Registration Examinations (NCARB ARE). The ExAC is based on Canadian content and recognized across Canada by all Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA); the NCARB ARE is based on U.S. content. Individuals interested in the NCARB ARE should check to determine which CALA jurisdictions recognize these exams.

When can I register for either the NCARB ARE or ExAC?

For the EXAC, Intern Architects are required to have a minimum of 2800 approved Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) hours by the end of the registration closing date in mid-July. Check the ExAC website for more details.

For the NCARB ARE, you are eligible to open an NCARB record once you become accepted as an Intern Architect. Tests are scheduled online. For more information, refer to the NCARB website.

When are the exams scheduled?

For the ExAC, exams are scheduled only once a year, traditionally in November. This is a written exam and completed over the course of two full days. Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this schedule is under review. 

For the NCARB ARE, Intern Architects can schedule the exams online through their NCARB record. Exams are completed online through testing centres.

Once I pass all sections of the ExAC, will they expire?

At the moment, no. Refer to the ExAC website for the most updated information.

Will my ExAC results be accepted elsewhere if I move to another Canadian province?

Yes. Your ExAC results can be transferred if you choose to complete your internship in another province.


OAA ADMISSION COURSE

What is the purpose of the OAA Admission Course?

The OAA Admission Course is a mandatory requirement for licensure for all Intern Architects and OAAAS Technologists in Ontario. It covers topics related to regulatory matters, legal issues, and information specific to the practice of architecture in Ontario.

How do I register for OAA Admission Couse?

You can register for the OAA Admission Course online within the OAA Website. The Admission Course is offered in three formats, designed to accommodate different needs:

The Online Admission Course is administered by the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. The online format offers all course modules and is available during the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer semesters. Each session is approximately two months in duration.

Conference Admission Course Modules is offered in an in-person format during the annual OAA conference. Each year, the OAA usually offers four out of eight course modules, which collectively account for two full days of learning.

The In-House Admission Course provides traditional face-to-face delivery format and is traditionally available in the fall every year.

The Admission Course schedule is currently under review due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can an Intern Architect win a free registration for the OAA Conference?

Intern Architects can enter an OAA draw to attend the annual Conference, with details provided in the biweekly OAA News e-newsletter. The OAA sponsors two Intern Architects to attend.

 

REGULATORY MATTERS

What is the difference between the OAA and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)?

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is enabled by the Government of Ontario, under Provincial statute (Architects Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.26), to regulate the profession of architecture in the province in order that the public interest may be served and protected. The OAA has the sole official responsibility to ensure the provisions of the Architects Act are upheld and to enforce that legislation. The OAA is a multi-object professional self-regulatory organization.


The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is a national organization that represents architects and architecture in Canada. It is the country’s only national advocacy group for architects.

Which OAA Committees have Intern Architect and Student Associate positions?

The Interns Committee, the Comprehensive Education Committee, and the Communications Committee have Intern Architect and/or Student Associate positions.

What is the Architects Act?

Legislation is synonymous with statutory law—it is the description of both the legal requirements and the punishment for violating the law. The Ontario Architects Act R.S.O. 1990, c. A.26, introduced in Ontario in 1889, is the legislation that governs the architectural profession throughout the province. Its underlying purpose is to protect the public interest. While it is specific to architects and architecture, it affects everyone, including related professions, government officials, clients, and the public.

The Act specifies the legal responsibilities for those who practise architecture, including qualifications, professional conduct standards, liability, and Certificates of Practice. It also establishes the authority and mandate of the OAA, the self-regulatory body of the profession.

What is Regulation 27 under the Architects Act?

The Regulations under the Act are also law. Regulations are the ongoing processes of monitoring and enforcing the law—not just how the legislation is being enforced, but also the very act of enforcement.

Regulations are considered “delegated legislation” because the authority to make them is delegated by the Legislative Assembly in a statute. A regulation deals with topics related to the statute under which it is made; the purpose of a regulation is to provide details to give effect to the policy established by the statute.

What are the OAA Bylaws and how do they fit with other legislation?

Bylaws govern the administration of the OAA. They are written rules that provide the framework for the operation and management of the OAA. Bylaws generally provide guidance for roles and duties of Council and Officers, as well as rules and procedures for holding meetings, electing Councillors, and other essential governance matters. They facilitate the orderly operation of both the governing body and the Association.

Policies and Committee terms-of-reference support the bylaws with more specific operational and policy details. These documents can evolve over time to accommodate changing needs and changing norms. The documents may be developed under the direction of Council and/or Administration.

CONTACT

General Enquiries
e: iap@oaa.on.ca

Lashmi Olivierre, Administrator, Internship in Architecture Program (IAP)
t: 416.449.6898 Ext.204 
e: lashmio@oaa.on.ca

Catherine Reyes, Administrative Assistant, Internship in Architecture Program (IAP)
t: 416.449.6898 Ext.205
e: catheriner@oaa.on.ca


 


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