The Architects Act charges the Northwest Territories Association of Architects (NWTAA) with the regulation of the profession of Architecture in the NWT to safeguard the public from professional misconduct, gross negligence, incompetence or misrepresentation.
- Misconduct occurs when the conduct of a professional breaches or conflicts with the NWTAA's Code of Ethics, relevant laws or community rules, common standards of decency or other reasonable expectations of conduct.
- Gross Negligence and Incompetence occurs when a professional's practiced/demonstrated skill or expertise does not meet the NWTAA's defined standards of education, competency or reasonable expectations of a trained professional, resulting in damages or vulnerabilities in a building project.
- Misrepresentation occurs when a registered architect falsely represents their expertise in specific building projects. This may include presenting the work of others in a portfolio or crediting themselves for projects in which they had no role or a minimal role. (This is different from Unauthorized Practice.)
NWTAA establishes and enforces policy and standards so that misconduct within the profession is mitigated. Architects also have a professional duty to report possible misconduct by their colleagues. However, as with all professions, clients and the public may witness misconduct first-hand.
Complaints regarding the conduct of an Architect are processed as follows:
- The complaint is received by the Registrar and undergoes a cursory review to ensure that it is not blantantly frivolous* or malicious and that there is sufficient information to proceed.
- The Registrar first attempts mediation between the complainant and the architect/firm in question (the "respondent")
If mediation is successful, the complaint is deemed resolved and the file is closed.
If mediation is unsuccessful, or if any party refuses mediation, the complaint is forwarded to the Complaints Review Committee.
- On receipt of a complaint, the Committee contacts the complainant and the respondent to advise that the Complaint is being investigated and to request a formal response from the respondent. The Committee appoints an Investigator to collect all evidence and statements that are relevant to the complaint and to provide a summary report to the Committee.
- The Committee reviews the report and evidence to determine if there is evidence of possible misconduct.
If so, the complaint is forwarded to Council and Council is directed to conduct a hearing on the matter.
If not, the Committee closes the file and no further action is taken. [It is possible to appeal this decision.]
- Council calls a hearing and provides notice to the complainant and respondent. A hearing may proceed without the respondent present, if necessary, and the complainant reserves the right to attend and be heard at the hearing.
- Following a hearing, Council determines whether the professional is guilty of misconduct.
If so, Council reprimands the professional accordingly, up to and including suspension or revoking their registration.
If not, Council closes the file and no further action is taken. [It is possible to appeal this decision.]
IMPORTANT: NWTAA can only make judgement and order reprimands regarding the conduct of an architect. It does not have jurisdiction to review or provide opinion on any other aspects related to the complaint, nor to order compensation or otherwise award the complainant for damages. Only the NWT Courts have jurisdiction regarding damages and compensation via the Civil Claims process at Territorial Court or other court action at the Supreme Court.
Filing a Complaint
There is no prescribed form for submitting a complaint.
For a complaint to be received by the Registrar, it must:
- be in writing,
- identify the authorized practitioner(s) or firm permit holder(s) subject to the complaint,
- identify an allegation or reason for the complaint, with relevant facts to support the allegation, and
- identify, and be signed by, the complainant.
Complaints can be sent to the attention of the Registrar via the NWTAA office.
NOTE: If necessary, a complaint may also be taken orally by the Registrar or designate. A transcription or summary of the complaint will then be provided for the complainant to sign.
As decreed by the Architects Act, a person who provides architectural services or advertises themself as an architect is required to be registered with, and authorized/permitted to practice by, this Association. Incidents of non-registered persons conducting themselves as architects are considered illegal and "unauthorized practice". Appropriate legal action is taken to halt such practice.
Complaints cannot be accepted for unauthorized practitioners because they are not registered members and therefore cannot be reprimanded through the same process. However, professionals who are registered in another jurisdiction remain subject to the rules of that jurisdiction. NWTAA can assist in identifying professionals registered in other jurisdictions in order to pursue a complaint.