Australia and New Zealand sign with Canada on APEC Architect agreement
APEC Architect scheme good in theory, not in practice

Australia’s Andrew J.D. Scott is the first architect to be registered in Canada under a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) between Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The tri-lateral agreement regarding licencing laws was made between the three countries in February this year making Scott the first to have signed under the new framework.

The MRA allows for fast-track cross-border registrations of senior architects between the three economies that were already on board the APEC Architect scheme. Senior architects applying must meet various criteria, including having at least seven years of professional experience.

Scott obtained his APEC designation in 2010 when he moved to Vancouver in British Colombia and has now been granted his architecture licensure by the Architectural Institute of BC after a successful domain specific interview as part of the APEC registration process.

The reciprocal exemption means that Australia or New Zealand APEC architects are entitled to registration in Canada without further assessment—except for some country-specific processes—and vice versa for Canadian architects looking for work in Australia.

Australia already has similar agreements with Japan and Singapore, and in September 2014 signed its first foreign architect through the APEC Architect process - Japanese graduate architect Megumi Sakaguchi, who works for PTW in Sydney.

Fourteen ‘economies’ in total have committed to the APEC Architect scheme and the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) says the framework facilitates access for APEC Architects to independently practice within those regions.

Kate Doyle, head of the Canberra-based AACA, has previously said that disinterest from Australian architects towards the APEC scheme was partly because it’s unnecessary in most circumstances—you can work overseas in association with a local architect or as a consultant without it. She also said the ­jurisdictions Australia has specific agreements with – Japan, Singapore and Taipei – weren’t key destinations Australian designers wanted to find work in.

However she did predict that once countries such as the USA and Canada sign on to mutual agreements then joining the APEC Architect scheme will be a whole lot more attractive for Australian architects.