Though the Canadian architecture and construction industry faltered along with most of the rest of the world following the Global Financial Crisis, it has remained one of the strongest and largest in the world.
The Government of Canada has now extended the opportunities within the industry into the international sphere with a newly launched program helping internationally trained architects to find employment in Canada.
Launched by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, the $1.9 million federally-funded Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) Program will help architects from around the world secure work in the Canadian job market.
“Our government’s top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, and we recognize that internationally trained professionals help fill skills shortages in key occupations,” Finley said. “This is why we are working with partners like Architecture Canada so that newcomers can find meaningful work in their fields faster and help to contribute to Canada’s economy.”
According to the minister, architecture licensing processes will be made more efficient through a streamlining process in which international architects can be assessed through an online tool and an interview process.
While the process will be made more efficient, the same standards will still apply in order to maintain a strong Canadian architecture sector. Further training and skills upgrading will also be made available to foreign professionals if necessary.
Ontario Association of Architects president Sheena Sharp said the new process is a win-win solution. The Canadian built environment will benefit from the vision of international architects, who will in turn benefit from the opportunities made available in Canada.
“The architectural community sees great benefits from having internationally trained architects licensed as professionals in Canada,” Sharp said. “With it comes new connections, ideas and perspectives that can only enrich our profession. We believe that this program offers foreign trained architects a fair and effective process to present their work experience and competencies to be assessed against pan-Canadian standards of competency for practice in Canada.”
Pilot programs have already proved successful for a number of international candidates.