Preparing the Act – Protecting the Profession

Ken Hoyle writes that “legislation restricting the practice of landscape architecture was required to protect the public — who were, more and more, trusting the changes of their land to landscape architects — and to protect the landscape architects from those who did not have the knowledge and skills to advise wisely on changes to the land” (Hoyle, 1989). Landscape architects were feeling the need to publicly define their area of professional expertise, and to gain the credibility that legislation would give them.

Work began immediately on a registration act. A first draft was prepared in 1969, and a second in 1970. In 1971 a brief was presented to the Ontario government. In 1972 a revised version was submitted, but the provincial government, concerned over the existing registered professions, delayed action until a Professional Organizations Committee was established in 1977, and its report given to the Attorney General in 1980 (Hoyle, 1989).During 1981 the by-laws were revised (Glenn Harrington) and the code of ethics rewritten (Jim Stansbury). In 1982 the government indicated that legislation for the profession should not control the practice of landscape architecture, but rather the use of the name. This was generally preferred by the OALA membership. On April 13, 1983 the bill was introduced to the legislature and, in Ken Hoyle’s words: “All hell broke loose. Ryerson objected, Landscape Ontario objected, Flowers Canada objected, individuals objected” (Hoyle, 1989).A year of intense negotiations with the objectors, and revisions to the legislation followed. On April 26, 1984, the revised bill was submitted. Approved by the committee for second reading on May 17th, it had second and third readings on May 25th. On May 29th an Act respecting The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, Bill Pr37, was given royal assent (Hoyle, 1989).

On this date the letters patent were revoked to enable the Association to continue as a corporation by the special legislative act, having sole legal use of the designation “landscape architect” for the members of the OALA. The Association would be responsible for the standards and conduct of its members.

In June 1983 the membership of the OALA, including the full, associate and affiliate members, had been approximately 300. By October 1985 there were almost 600 members (OALA office history file). The sudden increase in membership was caused by the “grandfather” provisions of the new legislation which allowed a year for those who had been “substantially earning a living in landscape architecture”, but were not members of the OALA, to join without having to go through an apprenticeship period or taking a professional practice and ethics examination. January 1, 1989 marked the final time limit for the use of the term “landscape architect” by non-members.


Blue, Frances, History of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, unpublished manuscript. Frances Blue joined the CSLA & TP in 1938 and became a full member in 1939.

Carver, Humphrey, Compassionate Landscape, Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Donaldson, Sue, “Landscape Architecture in Canada” Landscape Architectural Review, Vol. 5, No.2, July 1984.

Hoyle, Kenneth J., “The OALA Name Act: How Bill Pr37 Came to Pass”, Landscape Architectural Review, Vol. 10, No.3, July 1989.