Comparative Analysis: Canada

Comparative Analysis

Canadian Architectural Certification Board

What are the mission statement, goals, and objectives of your accreditation agency? Please share a short statement of how objectivity and integrity are assured in your accreditation system.

The Mission Statement, From 2006 By-Law No.1 and Conditions and Procedures for Accreditation

The purpose of the CACB-CCCA is two-fold: to administer the programme of accreditation of the Canadian School of Architecture in accordance with established criteria and procedures; and to certify educational qualifications of architectural graduates as individual applicants.

The accreditation mission of the CACB-CCCA is derived from the combined objectives of its cosponsoring organizations. For purposes of professional degree programme accreditation, the Board serves as both a decision-making and policy generating body, responsive to, but independent from, the particular interests of its sponsoring organizations.Accreditation of programmes in the University schools of architecture is carried out on the basis of Conditions and Procedures for Accreditation established and maintained by the Board, consisting of representatives of its members: The Canadian Council of the University Schools of Architecture and the Canadian licensing authorities – provincial and territorial associations and institutes of architects, via their Committee of Architectural Councils, and the public. The CACB-CCCA publishes criteria to be used in the process of evaluating university programmes for accreditation and procedures for evaluating programmes and making accreditation decisions. The CACB-CCCA ensures that all Programmes of Architecture are familiar and understand accreditation conditions and procedures, and that both documents are publicly available.

Certification mission of the CACB-CCCA is based on legal requirements entrenched in provincial/territorial Architects’ Acts, and the agreement of Canadian licensing authorities as to the mandatory character of such a certification. Certification of individual educational qualifications of applicants holding degrees or diplomas in architecture is carried out in accordance with the conditions and criteria contained in the Canadian Education Standard established by the Canadian licensing authorities. The CACB-CCCA maintains a National Register of those certified and confidential records of all pertinent documentation for all applicants. The CACB-CCCA administers the Canadian Education Standard and ensures it stays current.

The CACB-CCCA establishes and publishes appeal procedures concerning accreditation decisions of the Association and for the appealing of decisions of the Association concerning certification decisions.

In the atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect, the CACB-CCCA strives to assist in developing programmes fulfilling the broad requirements of the profession of architecture.

Objectivity and integrity in the CACB-CCCA procedures is accomplished by:

  1. promoting an atmosphere of cooperation and actively seeking the coordination of educational objectives among the sponsoring and affiliate organizations, working toward the international exchange of information and the coordination of common accrediting standards;
  2. conducting periodic reviews of conditions and procedures and by introducing amendments into existing conditions and procedures when necessary, after broad consultations with its members;
  3. including architectural educators, architectural practitioners, regulators, students, interns and members of the public in the decision-making board;
  4. ensuring that the architectural educators, practitioners, students and interns are represented on each visiting team;
  5. adhering to clear definitions of conflict of interest; and
  6. making decisions based only on information also known to the programme and to which the programme has had a chance to respond.

How do you achieve effectiveness in accreditation without unduly burdening the institution under review (issues of costs, time, and complexity)?

Effectiveness of CACB-CCCA accreditation process is achieved by

  1. ensuring that the programmes are well informed about the criteria against which they are being assessed, by way of distributing a Guide to Student Performance Criteria to all programmes;
  2. promoting accreditation training at NAAB-sponsored training sessions;
  3. ensuring that all visits’ duration is identical, and that a standard Visiting Agenda is used in preparations for the visit;
  4. negotiating Visit Agendas between the visiting team chair and the director of the programme
  5. CACB-CCCA does not charge administration fee per visit. All costs of Accreditation Programme are absorbed by financial contributions of the CACB-CCCA members (organizations of regulators and educators)
  6. offering online training for team members via the Associations of Accrediting Agencies of Canada, of which the CACB-CCCA is a members and a founder.

How do you respect diversity of culture and mission of institutions under review while maintaining minimum standards for the profession?

All programs in Canada are expected to demonstrate student achievement at levels of awareness, understanding and of ability according to 37 student performance criteria. The standards of the CACB-CCCA are based on student performance indicators rather than a standardized curriculum. It is also expected that each programme will have a unique mission statement suited to the institutional history, mission and culture, and should be able to demonstrate how they achieve, and how they review and revise, their mission on a regular basis. All of the conditions of accreditation are considered by the CACB-CCCA with respect to their congruence with the mission of each programme and with the mission of its home institution.

How does your agency inform itself about the needs of the profession, worldwide developments in the discipline of accreditation, and developments in education?

Currency of Professional and Educational Content Statement:

To ensure that it stays current regarding the needs of the profession, every five years the CACB-CCCA holds a Validation Conference. Canadian accredited schools, regulators, practitioners, architectural students, interns and members of allied professions, as well as members of the public participate in its deliberations.

The CACB-CCCA is also a members and a founder of the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC) and is actively involved in its work.


In addition to the assessment of institutional resources and how they are allocated with respect to the institutional mission, how does your agency assess student performance criteria?

As part of its Conditions for Accreditation, the CACB-CCCA publishes a list of 37 Student Performance Criteria that must be met either at a level of “awareness”, “understanding” or of “ability” for all programmes seeking or maintaining accreditation. In preparation to the accreditation visit, a programme would assemble student work from all required courses in the Team Room available only to the team during the visit. Exhibits must include examples of both minimum pass and high achievement, be of sufficient quantity to ensure that all graduates are meeting the performance criteria, have been executed since the previous site visit, and span no less than a single academic year. If more than one professional degree programme is being reviewed, student work from each programme must be clearly distinguishable.

In the Visiting Team Report (VTR), teams report the criteria as either “met” or “not met” based on the work exhibited at the time of the visit, to the directors of the CACB-CCCA. The directors meet twice a year to consider the reports of the visiting teams and to determine the terms of accreditation.

The 37 Student Performance Criteria are reviewed after each Validation Conference for necessary changes that reflect the needs of the profession nationally and internationally.

How are your governance and secretariat functions organized to assure integrity and professionalism in the conduct of their operations?

The CACB-CCCA was founded by, and is supported financially by, the Committee of Canadian Architectural Councils (CCAC) and the Council of Canadian University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA). The CACB-CCCA reports annually to the boards of each of these organizations and meets with the leadership of its members once a year. The budget for the CACB-CCCA is negotiated with these organizations and their members and each member appoints up to 3 representatives to be directors of the CACB-CCCA. Up to three directors on the Board have been joint appointees of the regulators and the educators. Each organization has the right to understand how the resources they have provided to the CACB-CCCA are used and the right to scrutinize the Association’s lines of action. The CACB-CCCA is accountable to its members and the clarity of its financial transactions is the mechanism by which its actions are reviewed.

The staff of the CACB-CCCA have academic and professional credentials for the positions they assume, are reviewed for job performance annually, participate in professional development programmes offered in-house and externally.

What are your mechanisms to insure that expertise and experience in the applications of standards, procedures, and values are present in members of visiting teams, commissions, and staff (please supply and organization chart)?

The CACB-CCCA maintains a register of team members, and potential team members for accreditation teams. The CACB-CCCA members (educators and regulators) provide candidate names on a regular basis. Teams are composed of individuals on this Register. Visiting team members either attend to orientation and training sessions offered by the ACSA, are supported by the CACB-CCCA Accreditation Programme Manager/Executive Director, are mentored by more experienced team members informally, and at a regular team’s telephone conference, and are offered on-line training via the AAAC accreditation training programme. Visiting team chairs must have served on a minimum of three previous visits with positive recommendations from their peers and from the programs visited. Only one inexperienced (first time) member, excluding a student member, may serve on a team at a given time, and teams with first-time chairs include at least one team member with extensive chair experience. Team members are evaluated by their peers on the team and by the program visited.

The CACB-CCCA directors are appointed by the CCUSA, CCAC and CASA. They have extensive knowledge of issues and agendas of the organizations they represent. Most nominees have previous team experience. If they have not had team experience before they join the CACB-CCCA, they are sent on visits as observers in their first year of serving as CACB-CCCA Directors. Observer experience is also arranged for new public members and the CACB-CCCA staff.

The Executive Director of the CACB-CCCA has experience as an educator and academic administrator, with extensive experience in international education systems, as well as a professional manager. Staff has appropriate work and academic credentials for the positions they fill. Staff responsibilities are documented for each position and are reviewed annually at a staff retreat.

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