Interior Designers Act, 2006 introduced for Ontario

Introduced by MPP Tim Peterson, The Interior Designers Act, 2006 will protect the public from unqualified practitioners by regulating the practice of interior design in Ontario. Interior design is currently an unregulated profession in Ontario, and there are no restrictions on who may practice interior design. As a result, consumers and businesses in Ontario have no reliable way of knowing if practitioners possess the appropriate qualifications and training to practice safe interior design. If the Bill is passed, Ontario will become the second jurisdiction in Canada to regulate the practice of interior design.

Interior design includes the development of all public interior spaces, such as corporate offices, restaurants, retail stores and shopping malls, health and long-term care facilities, academic institutions, airports, detention centres and public facilities. Interior design significantly affects the health and safety of the public who occupy these spaces.

Interior Designers incorporate specialized knowledge of fire codes, building codes, material flammability and toxicity issues, and barrier-free design matters into each project to ensure the protection of the public.

Highlights of the proposed legislation include:

*establishing the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) as the self-governing body responsible for regulating the profession of interior design in Ontario
*granting ARIDO the authority to set standards of practice and entry to practice requirements for the profession, including education, experience, examination and professional liability insurance
*defining the scope of practice for interior design and restricting the use of the title “Interior Designer” to members of the profession who meet the necessary qualifications

The Bill regulates the practice of interior design but excludes most residential buildings, such as residential buildings under 600 square metres (6,450 square feet). The Bill does not regulate interior decorating. Architects and Engineers can continue to practice interior design subject to their own regulatory statutes.

“I am proud to introduce the Interior Designers Act, 2006” said MPP Tim Peterson. “If passed, the Bill will regulate the practice of interior design and protect the health and safety of Ontarians. ARIDO and the interior design community have been pursuing regulation for many years and I am pleased to be a part of realizing their public interest objectives.”

ARIDO has widespread support for the Bill. ARIDO has consulted extensively with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including the Ontario Association of Architects and the Professional Engineers of Ontario. The Bill is consistent with NAFTA, the National Building Code and the Ontario Building Code.

Interior design in Ontario generates over $4 billion of economic activity in the province annually. The majority of Interior Designers are small business owners. ARIDO currently has 1,800-plus members.