The architect profession is regulated in Canada. Provincial and territorial regulatory bodies of architects set the entry standards into the profession and issue licenses to those who meet the qualifications.
By law, you can only practice as an architect in Canada, or use the title “architect,” if you have been licensed as a full member from the provincial or territorial regulatory body where you intend to work. However, it is not necessary to be registered or licensed to work in an architectural firm if you are working under the direction of an architect.
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is the national association and the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada. It represents over 4000 architects.
Before you immigrate
There are steps that you can take before you immigrate to improve your chances of practicing your profession in Canada:
- Attend the Know Before You Go Webinar Series to learn more about life in Canada.
- Research how your international qualifications may be viewed in Canada and get a general sense of the Canadian labour market.
- Contact the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) and the provincial or territorial regulatory body in the area where you intend to settle and work. Find out the procedure to follow and the potential costs and time required to obtain a permit. Ask what steps in the licensing process that you can take before and after you immigrate.
- To practice the profession, you need to have advanced English or French (depending on your destination province) language competency. Even if you speak fluent English or French, it’s helpful to improve your language skills. Enroll in language classes while you are in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- The CACB requires specific educational documents such as your degrees and original transcripts to assess your education against Canadian standards. These documents have to be sent directly by your academic institution(s).
- Gather and organize your official education, work and identity documents while still in your home country. When contacting them, find out what other documents you need to bring for employment purposes, or to continue education. Verify what documents need to be translated. You may need to use a professional translation service in Canada.
- Understand how the profession of architect is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the procedures, laws, and legislation that govern your profession in the province where you will settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
- Find out how to get a driver’s license in Canada and apply for it right after you land. It will be useful to have when you get a job, or even to search for a job.