British Columbia architects applaud new national mobility agreement

The ratification this past week of the National Agreement on Internal Trade is great news for British Columbia’s burgeoning architectural community. The pact, negotiated by federal, provincial and territorial labour and trade ministers as part of Canada’s Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), paves the way for full labour mobility between provinces.


Under the provisions of the new agreement, which comes into effect on April 1, 2009, people with a specific professional or occupational certification in one province or territory will be recognized as qualified to practise their profession in all provinces and territories where their profession or occupation is regulated. For members of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia , it throws opens the doors to new business opportunities.


“This presents a unique advantage for BC architects,” says AIBC President David Wilkinson MAIBC. “BC architects are in high demand. For some time now they have been recognized for leadership in contemporary design, sustainable design and urban development. By properly acknowledging their qualifications, regardless of the province in which they may choose to work, it will allow BC’s best to take their knowledge, skills and reputations across the country.”


Adds Wilkinson: “It’s a move that also recognizes the increasingly global nature of the profession. Canadian architects, and BC architects in particular, have been making a name for themselves through project work around the world. It only makes sense that they be allowed to do the same within their own country.”


Prior to this agreement, individual architects had been required to register separately in any provincial jurisdictions where they might have a business interest. “It was a cumbersome, time -consuming and redundant process that actually served as a deterrent,” explains Wilkinson.


Much of the groundwork for this new agreement was established through the success of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), a partnership between the governments of British Columbia and Alberta. Under the reciprocity agreement, in place since April of 2007, barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility between the two provinces were removed, allowing the free-flow of recognized and registered professionals.


“This new agreement is an important step, particularly during increasingly difficult economic times,” says Wilkinson. “All regions of the country will benefit from the interchange of skilled and talented architects and designers, and the new insights and influences they will bring to other provinces. That said, I think BC architects in particular are positioned to seize the resulting opportunities.