Saturday, November 26, 2011

Immigrating to Canada as an Architect

Architects are included in the current demand list for Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program. Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada submitted by Architects after June 26, 2010 are being Fast Tracked with processing times as quick as 12 months. For more information please contact us in Toronto at or complete our online assessment form available at

There are numerous opportunities for people with architectural training to work in Canada. You could work for a Canadian architectural firm or you could work within the design and construction sector. It is not necessary to be registered or licensed to work in an architectural firm while under the direction of an architect.

However, if you wish to practise architecture and to offer services directly to the public, it is necessary  to be registered or licensed as an architect. (Most Canadian jurisdictions also require a certificate of practice with its associated requirements.) In Quebec, you must also demonstrate knowledge of the French language as required by the Office québécois de la langue française.

Employment prospects for architects are good  due to the high level of industrial, commercial, office, retail and residential construction planned. Architectural work is dependent on economic cycles and the level of construction activity. Architectural graduates may face competition particularly for employment in prominant firms. Compared to other occupations, this is a relatively small occupational group.

Before You Come to Canada 
While you are waiting to go to Canada, there are many important things you can do to improve your chances of success.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (www.credentials. is an organization of the Government of Canada that provides you with helpful resources, such as the Planning to Work in Canada? workbook and the Working in Canada Tool ( Use these resources to find and collect important information and to develop your job search plan.

You might need to prove your language skills in English or French or be tested. You can find information at The provincial regulator will specify which tests they, or employers, require. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.

Your official education, work and identity documents are important. It is much easier for you to gather and organize your documents while still in your home country. The Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) will allow you to start the educational assessment process while you are still in your home country.

Verify the translation requirements with the regulator and the CACB. Translations must be certified. In some cases, you might have to use a professional translation service in Canada.

Becoming an Architect in Canada
You must meet the requirements of the provincial or territorial architectural regulatory body. The Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) is a signatory to the Canberra Accord. If you received a professional degree in architecture from an accredited university in the United States, Mexico, China, Australia, Korea or the United Kingdom, you should investigate reciprocal certification of your education with the CACB.

The CACB ( requires specific documents to assess your education against the Canadian educational standard. These documents include copies of your degrees; and original transcripts and course descriptions from the university calendar for the years you attended sent directly by your academic institution. A list of design projects with descriptions and a portfolio of your work are also required. The CACB has an application form and a fee must be paid. The evaluation of your academic background takes a minimum of two months once a full application package is received. You might be interviewed by the CACB. If there are gaps in your education, you will be advised how to upgrade.

Work Experience
Once you have been certified by the CACB, you may apply to become an intern architect in the province or territory where you intend to live, and you must find a mentor. You must also complete the Canadian Experience Record Book.

You must complete 5,600 hours of work experience to meet the experience requirement to obtain a licence
Work experience in architecture gained outside of Canada may be submitted for consideration.

Examination for Architects in Canada—ExAC
The Canadian architectural licensing authorities have developed an examination for interns that must be passed prior to registration or licensure.

The provincial/territorial regulators will inform you of the remaining steps to obtain a licence and then a certificate to practice architecture in their jurisdiction.

For example, there may be another course to take, an oral examination, or continuing education requirements. If you are an experienced architect, you will need to provide proof of a licence in your country and a professional portfolio that explains the scope and complexity of your projects and also clearly describes your responsibilities.

Work references from your previous employers and clients are required. If you intend to practise architecture and you obtain a Certificate of Practice, you may be required to obtain professional liability insurance.

Finding a Job in Architecture in Canada
Register and review job opportunities at the RAIC’s online recruitment service: In addition to determining your eligibility for the Internship in Architecture program, you should investigate any “bridging programs” for which you may be qualified. A bridging program offers work experience or skills or language upgrading courses to assist internationally trained individuals in their progress toward professional registration.

Source: Citizenship & Immigration Canada

Amir Ismail MBA, RCIC, FCMI
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant

Member Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) - # R412319
Member of Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC)
Tel (Toronto): (647) 835-0660 | (416) 913-0230 Fax:| (416) 907-3338
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