OAA President John Stephenson returning for second term

OAA President John Stephenson
OAA President John Stephenson. Photo via OAA.

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is pleased to announce the election of John Stephenson, OAA, MRAIC, to serve as OAA President for a second one-year term.

Stephenson is one of the founding partners of FORM Architecture Engineering, the largest architectural practice in Northwestern Ontario, established in 1986 as Kuch Stephenson Architects. After receiving his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, he worked as an intern architect in Toronto, before relocating to Northwestern Ontario in 1980, where he continued his internship with Graham Bacon Welter Architects & Consulting Engineers prior to beginning his practice in Thunder Bay.

As OAA president, Stephenson is committed to building a strong profession that is valued and empowered to serve the public interest through excellence in design and professional practice.

“In addition to design excellence, the key to achieving this goal is recognizing that effective project and risk management is central to the architect’s role today,” he says.

Stephenson joined OAA Council in 2013. He had originally served a term in the early 1990s, continuing to volunteer with the Association afterward. Since then, he has participated in several committees, task forces and executive roles, serving as Senior Vice President and Treasurer for the two years prior to becoming President.
During his time on Council, Stephenson has taken part in several new and ambitious initiatives, many of which remain in progress, including the OAA Headquarters Renew + Refresh project, re-imagining the OAA Honours and Awards program, a new media content creation and communication strategy and, in collaboration with ARIDO, considering ways in which the practice of interior design could be regulated under the Architects Act.

Stephenson is particularly passionate about promoting continued public engagement and advocacy by architects on topics such as procurement, housing affordability and the role of the architectural profession in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

During his first year as President, Stephenson led the profession in a vigorous campaign refusing to participate in procurement processes that require architects to contract out of their professional obligations. He has also been a vocal advocate for more enlightened employment practices by architects and for the creation of a National Architecture Policy to guide the procurement of architectural services and the creation of a safe, healthy and uplifting built environment for all Canadians.