The Consulting Architects of Alberta (CAA) received several emails regarding the Practice Advisory recently sent out by the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA).  It was very fortuitous that the CAA and AAA had already scheduled a meeting for Thursday February 11, 2016 with AAA Chair Peter Osborne, AAA Executive Director Barbara Bruce, CAA Chair Linus Murphy and CAA Executive Director Jayne Jeneroux. Provided below is a summary of the meeting.

It was a one hour meeting, with very good discussion.  There were two topics:

  •      The relationship of the AAA and the CAA; and
  •      The practice advisory issued earlier this week.


On the relationship:

Peter agreed there must be a constant and open communication path between the AAA and CAA and agreed to do that.


He also agreed that there is a place for the CAA at the Banff Sessions and confirmed that the CAA is welcomed to give a joint CAA/AAA (Linus Murphy/ Barry Johns) 90-minute session on current activities and challenges in the realm of contracts. The outline needs to be finessed between Barry Johns and Linus Murphy, but this is a great opportunity to showcase the CAA, our activities and our successes.


Peter also advised that, in addition to the joint presentation that will provide professional development points, the CAA could rent a booth at the Banff Sessions to promote our association. This is a significant step forward as previously neither option was open to the CAA.

CAA Executive Director Jayne Jeneroux will be contacting AAA Executive Director Barbara Bruce to set up a time for Barry, Linus, Jayne and Barb to create an outline for the joint presentation at the 2016 Banff Sessions.


It was also agreed that the CAA and AAA would meet on a regular basis (monthly) to discuss areas of mutual interest and importance and agree on actions to be taken and by whom for items deemed to be in our mutual interests.  Jayne will also set this up.


The AAA has had an ex-officio representative at our CAA board meetings (Patti Swanson) for our last three meetings and AAA committed to their continued presence for our board meetings. Patti is, not surprisingly, bringing a great deal to our board and it’s truly a benefit having her with us. She will be changed out at some point with the upcoming AAA elections, but it is most likely that AAA will continue the role on our board.


On the Practice Advisory:

Peter noted the advisory was appropriate given the long tradition of AAA bulletins and advisories on items related to policy or practice.  Linus  commented that it was unfortunate that the CAA wasn’t aware of it prior to its release, as the CAA could have provided perspective and help with distribution. This was acknowledged as unfortunate and it was agreed to meet on a regular basis (noted above) so that this kind of occurrence hopefully doesn’t happen again.


There was also agreement that having input from the CAA would be good, however, there is a fine line with AAA as the regulator and its role with members. All agreed that it is definitely a step in the right direction to have the CAA as part of the discussion, where possible.


Peter also pointed out that the AAA made the document an Advisory (non-binding) because the legislation review is not complete and therefore any comments about non-insurable clauses, and the like, are somewhat weak without mandatory insurance stipulated in the Act.


There are differing opinions amongst CAA members about whether there is a benefit to having the AAA saying insurance is mandatory and knowingly signing a contract that has uninsurable clauses may be in conflict with the Act.  However, based on the emails the CAA received on this topic from a number of our member firms, which included their frustrating that the AAA recognized the CAA in an off-handed manner, Linus suggested and Peter agreed that the advisory may be something that CAA members can use with clients.  The language is strong enough to highlight the issue but not so strong as to put firms completely on edge.


Discussion also took place on the topic of how best to circulate the message (not just the advisory, but the whole message of poor contract conditions). It was agreed that Linus and Barry Johns will connect to arrange an appropriate roll out of the information.

Jayne Jeneroux

Executive Director

Consulting Architects of Alberta