This page brings together helpful resources for internationally trained professionals looking to continue their architectural careers in Ontario. Links below have been collected through community input. The TSA does not endorse any specific program and we encourage you to contact CACB and the OAA on next steps in your path to licensure.
Newcomer in Architecture Information Session
The video below is a recording of a Newcomer in Architecture Information event held online on November 08, 2023. The session included presentations by the Toronto Society of Architects, the Ontario Association of Architects and the Canadian Architectural Certification Board with a particular focus on paths to licensure. It is a great resource to understand the different paths available.
Paths to Licensure (Architect)
In Canada, only those who are licensed by their provincial regulator can call themselves an Architect. There are different pathways to becoming licensed, depending on your level of education and experience. Here are some links on the different paths and requirements for each. While a license is required to call yourself an architect or open your practice, you do not need one to work in an architect’s office.
— OAA Summary of Paths to Licensure
— OAA Page on Becoming an Architect for Internationally Trained Professionals
— CACB: Academic Certification
— CACB: BEFA (Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect Program)
— RAIC Syllabus Program
International Recognition Treaties
Canadian architectural regulators are signatories to numerous international treaties that provide recognition of licensure credentials or fast-track processes. There are a lot of specific conditions and particularities, so it is best to contact the OAA to understand if these apply to you.
— Mutual Recognition Agreement Between Canada and the United States
— Tri-national Agreement between Canada, United States, and Mexico
— Mutual Recognition Agreement Between Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Other Paths and Programs
In addition to architects, there are many other design professionals involved in shaping the built environment. Each has their own eligibility requirements and processes, and many of programs designed specifically for internationally trained professionals.
Registered Building Practitioner (BCIN)
The Architects Act (the Act) prescribes that only those licensed under the Act may engage in the practice of architecture or hold themselves out as engaging in the practice of architecture. The Act also carves out specific exceptions to the protected scope for certain types of buildings. These exceptions are commonly referred to as the ‘public domain’. If you intend to offer design services for projects that fall within the public domain, and you are not licenced under the Act (i.e. you are not an Architect), there are additional requirements set out in the Building Code Act for individuals and firms to be qualified and registered with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH).
It is important to note that this registration is not a path to licensure, but it will allow you to provide design services for this limited type of project. More information on these requirements, as well as information on courses and registration, can be found here:
Unsure what falls within the ‘public domain’ or what might require an Architect or Professional Engineers of Ontario licensee? OAA and PEO have put together a short two-page summary.
There are a number of programs available in Ontario that are specifically designed to help you in the process of gaining knowledge about practice in Ontario. Here are some of the opportunities available.
— IPLAN: Immigrant Professionals Leveraging Architectural Knowledge for New Opportunities (IPLAN Employment & IPLAN Practice)
— Engineering/ Architecture Skills Enhancement – Bridging Program (Humber College)
— Building Code Training Courses (George Brown College)
While there are many different job posting websites out there, the list below is specific to the architecture community in Ontario. Some offices will also have opportunities on their websites.
From provincial regulators to local community groups, there are many architectural organizations in Canada. Here are some that are particularly relevant for those in the Greater Toronto Area.
— Ontario Association of Architects (provincial regulator)
— Toronto Society of Architects (local community group)
— Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (national advocacy group)
— Canadian Architectural Certification Board (national group responsible for academic certification)
— Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (national group bringing together all regulators)
For many, one of the first steps in your path to licensure will be the translation of academic documents. Many newcomer centres offer advice on translators or might even offer these services for free. Make sure to verify with the CACB regarding translation requirements prior to proceeding.
Being a newcomer isn’t just about your license! Here are other helpful resources to get settled in Ontario.
— YMCA Newcomer Information Centre (A program servicing newcomers in the GTA and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
— Settlement.org (A website designed specifically to address frequently asked questions by newcomers)
— Steps to Justice (A step-by-step information guide for legal issues in Ontario, from employment to housing)
Know of another great resource we should include? Is something out of date? Let us know and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org