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Education Requirements Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

In late 2020, OAA Council approved a new mandatory requirement for a minimum of one learning hour of accredited programming focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for this Continuing Education cycle.

All OAA Architects, Non-Practising Architects, and Licensed Technologists OAA must complete one of the accredited courses, offered in partnership with Turner Consulting Group and made free to those who hold OAA status, as part of their 2021–2022 Continuing Education Cycle. While the OAA encourages its members to continue learning with respect to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the EDI requirement does NOT apply to the 2022–2024 Cycle. 

The decision to introduce the requirement for this subject matter comes from, in part, the results of the most recent OAA Membership Survey where almost a third of respondents reported having experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Similar concerns were further shared by participants in the OAA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Roundtables in late 2020.

As a regulator, the OAA has a duty to investigate conduct that may contravene the Architects Act, including “Conduct or an act relevant to the practice of architecture that … would reasonably be regarded by members of the Association as disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional.” However, only known issues can be investigated, and most harassment and discrimination go unreported due to fear of the potential backlash and negative effects.

The matter of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is not limited to a specific project typology, firm size, or other aspect that may not apply to all those in the architecture profession. The topic is of fundamental importance for all those licensed to provide services to the public.

The OAA does not expect having all licensed members attend an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity course to solve the problem. The approach is meant to promote discussions on the issue and educate members on both appropriate behaviour as well as potential courses of action when faced with discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

The Association is partnering with Turner Consulting Group, an organization that has been delivering a range of equity-related services primarily to non-profit and public-sector organizations for almost two decades.

To obtain the mandatory hour, part of the existing requirement of 25 Structured Learning hours for the previous cycle, members needed to participate in at least one of the following webinars, each of which were offered multiple times. These sessions were free to all those who hold status with the OAA.

Understanding and Minimizing Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process
Research in neuroscience and psychology has highlighted the impact that unconscious (or implicit) bias has on our behaviour and decisions. This impact extends to the workplace and is reflected in day-to-day interactions, in the hiring process, and in one’s work. Tana Tuner offers participants an introduction to help them better understand their biases and how they impact the hiring process, as well as how to structure the hiring process to minimize this.

Human Rights In the Workplace 
Led by Brenda C. James, a senior practitioner in human resources and employment equity for 30 years, this session provides an overview of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the responsibilities of organizations, managers, and employees to foster a respectful work environment and address issues when they occur. Participants will learn about the various violations, the protected grounds, and options for resolving issues.

The Business Case for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Tana Turner works primarily in the non-profit and public sectors to assess the equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts of organizations. She will review key demographic and social trends that will present challenges to OAA members, both as employers and as practitioners. This session will also discuss the benefits of a diverse workforce and strategies for getting the best from this diversity.

Continuing Education Staff 
t: 416.449.6898 Ext: 290

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