IDC Bulletin: O Canada

July 1, 2007

By Bruce Wardrope

An introduction into the happenings in the design industry north of the border.

Representing seven provincial interior design associations across Canada, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) is the industry's national authority and advocate for the profession. IDC differs from ASID and IIDA, its sister associations, in that it does not have direct membership. Instead, interior designers choose to become members of their
provincial associations, and as part of that membership, they are represented by the national organization. 

IDC's issues as a national organization are the same on many fronts: recognition and respect as a profession; pursuit of practice act legislation to regulate the work we do; and most importantly, education of the public on what is involved in the practice of interior design and how it differs from other related professions.

IDC's issues as professionals are also much the same: sustainable and universal design; designing for an aging population; remaining competitive in a global marketplace; and continually striving to stay on the leading edge of design to provide its customers and clients with beautiful, efficient spaces to live, work, heal and play.

Each one of IDC's provincial associations maintains high standards of qualification and membership, with three-year programs currently the minimum standard for education across the nation. All seven provinces have mandatory Errors & Omissions and professional liability insurance, and five of the seven provinces have mandatory professional development programs for their members. Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate the Interior Design Experience Program (IDEP) as mandatory for all pre-professional members of their association. IDC shares minimum requirements, standards and programs across the various professional associations to ensure there are common elements from province to province, making reciprocity easy to accommodate.

As the association that represents the interior design profession across Canada, IDC takes great pride in the achievements of its provincial associations. All seven of IDC's provincial associations have Titles Act legislation. In 2003, Nova Scotia became the first province to achieve Practice Act legislation. In June 2006, Practice Act legislation was successfully introduced in the Legislature (Bill 121) in Ontario; at this point the Bill is working its way through the legislative process, and we await its outcome. 

IDC has also successfully negotiated the second term of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government of Canada. The MoU directs the federal government to hire IDC members to provide interior design services within a defined scope of practice for all federal government departments.

Perhaps the advancement of the profession IDC is most proud of is the work undertaken by its provincial association in Ontario, which commissioned the first "Body of Knowledge" document in 2000 (co-authored by American researchers Denise Guerin and Caren Martin). The document was revised and reissued in 2005 by the collaboration of organizations known as Issues Forum, which consists of members from ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ, CIDA, and IDC.

Nationally representing the profession, IDC is very proud of the annual trade show IIDEX/NeoCon Canada that occurs in Toronto in September each year. Similar to NeoCon in Chicago, this show provides its attendees more than 400 exhibitors, 50 seminars and numerous keynote speakers. The two-day show is an excellent way to learn about unique and qualified Canadian manufacturers that provide viable, affordable solutions for design projects. This fall, IDC invites you to experience some Canadian hospitality as it hosts the quarterly meeting of the Issues Forum at IIDEX.

Throughout the history of the profession, IDC members have been instrumental in the groundbreaking work that has established many of its shared organizations, including CIDA (formerly known as FIDER), IDEC and IDCEC. IDC is proud that the Canadian interior design profession is defined as a collective colleague to our many friends throughout the United States.

Bruce Wardrope is president of Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and a partner in Partners by Design, which specializes in corporate design in Manitoba. IDC is located in Toronto, ON, and can be reached at (416) 594-9310 or [email protected].

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