October 31, 2016
By Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul Brydges Landscape Ontario is in pursuit of adopting a name act for landscape designers through the provincial government.This is being done in collaboration with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA).

At this time, the OALA is pursuing a Practice Act with the Ontario government. In the spirit of working together, a joint task force has been established to ensure our respective organizations reach government in the most strategic and efficient way possible. Expert counsel has advised we will have a much stronger case when we come to the table together.  

The joint task force will have in-depth conversations to discuss and define the similarities and differences between landscape designers and landscape architects. The discussions will focus on defining our respective roles in servicing the public of Ontario, and making it better for the future. This discussion is being administered by members of both LO and the OALA. Among those are Ron Koudys, and myself.

The joint task force will also be responsible for maintaining open dialogue between the two associations and to provide mutual support in this endeavour.

OALA obtained a name act in 1984, protecting the name of landscape architect for OALA members and those practicing landscape architecture in Ontario. Similarly, LO is now looking to have the title of landscape designer protected through a provincially legislated bill. This name act would protect the name landscape designer for those qualified and pursuing a career in landscape design as their full time primary occupation.

The OALA has researched other Practice Acts around the world and have hired Brown and Cohen Communications to assist in building relationships with government. LO has been in regular contact with Brown and Cohen on how best to table this to government in a joint ask, as one association may not be successful without the cooperation of the other.

There is an incredible mood of cooperation between the two associations. I have been in both courts my entire career, with a pencil in one hand and a shovel in the other. One cannot create and construct the incredible work we see throughout the province without both tools.

My presidential theme, “Drawn Together,” has never been more relevant than it is now during these discussions with the OALA. We are aware that some members have concerns, but we feel confident we will achieve much more by working together. When landscape designers receive a name act to protect their profession, we will all flourish and thrive. As projects become more complex and the need for sustainability rises to the forefront, the importance of landscape architects and designers will be critical.

Through the coming months there will be ongoing discussion as well as training sessions hosted by both LO and the OALA to coach members on how to reach out to their local MPs and MPPs. I ask that all members consider signing up for this government relations workshop in their respective area. It will help this process and provide confidence for members speaking to MPs and MPPs in future years on other issues such as climate change.

In order for this initiative to be successful the two associations must be joined at the hip and present a joint ask to government. A list is being assembled of members who have joint membership. Anyone who is a member of each association should email Tony DiGiovanni and myself as a reminder. The more names we have on this list the more solidarity it shows moving forward.

Questions, concerns or comments will be forwarded to the joint task force.
Paul Brydges may be reached at paulbrydges.la@sympatico.ca.