Canada, Australia and New Zealand sign mutual recognition arrangement

Canada, Australia and New Zealand recently signed a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) that allows for fast-track cross-border registrations of senior architects between the three economies. This took place at a ceremony at the New Zealand Parliament, hosted by New Zealand’s Minister for Building and Housing Dr. Nick Smith. The signatories were) the International Relations Committee of the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA), the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA), and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).

The MRA has come about as a result of Canada’s, Australia’s and New Zealand’s participation in the APEC Architect Project. All three economies maintain an APEC Architect Register of senior architects who have met a number of criteria including having at least seven years’ senior experience.

As a result of the MRA agreement, an APEC Architect in Australia or New Zealand is entitled to registration in Canada as of right, apart from being assessed about any aspects of the architectural process in Canada that is specific to Canada. The same applies for a Canadian APEC Architect applying for registration in Australia or New Zealand.

Canada is obliged under the MRA to accept Australia or New Zealand’s assurance that the Australian or New Zealand APEC Architect making the application is competent and safe to practice in terms of the generic skills, knowledge and attitudes required of an architect. The same also applies the other way when a Canadian APEC Architect applies for registration in Australia or New Zealand.

“On behalf of the 11 Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA), we welcome the opportunity to enter into a trilateral arrangement with Australia and New Zealand,” Peter Streith, Chair of CALA’s International Relations Committee said. “Architecture is an international profession and this enhanced mobility of senior architects among our economies will provide opportunities that will enrich our profession. CALA also wishes to recognize and thank the federal government of Canada for its support of this important initiative.”

Architects Accreditation Council of Australia President Richard Thorp said: “We are very pleased to have implemented an arrangement under APEC with our New Zealand and Canadian colleagues that will facilitate the mobility of senior architects across our respective economies. We anticipate great interest from architects as the trilateral arrangement offers significant opportunities for senior architects and benefits for our respective economies.”

NZRAB Chair Warwick Bell commented: “The principal beneficiary of these APEC Architect MRAs is the host economy, rather than the home economy. If a Canadian APEC Architect becomes registered in New Zealand and practices here, the benefit to New Zealand in new ideas and new thinking is far greater than any earnings that the architect may repatriate to Canada. Likewise, the benefit is Canada’s if an Australian or New Zealand APEC Architect is registered and works there.”

New Zealand architects are already entitled to registration in Australia as of right, and vice versa, under the Government to Government Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement.