During the 2021 federal election campaign, the RAIC seeks to engage political candidates, along with the public, in a discussion about the importance of architecture and urban design in building a better future for Canada.
The RAIC has prepared a series of questions for the political parties on the Environment and Climate Action, Long-term Care, Indigenous Matters, and a National Architecture Policy for Canada. The responses from the parties will be published online and shared with RAIC members.
The federal government is Canada’s single largest owner of buildings and land. It has a pivotal role in setting the highest standards of excellence and environmental sustainability to maximize the benefits to Canadians, achieve value for money, and position Canada as an international leader. Buildings and infrastructure that are sustainable, healthy, attractive, and durable represent a smart investment in Canada’s prosperity and livability.
The questions delivered to Canada’s federal political parties are included below.
Climate Action, Environmental Advocacy and Sustainability
Buildings remain major producers of carbon, so their design and construction offer significant opportunities to reduce emissions and combat climate change.
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report(2018), bold action over the next 12 years is needed to limit global heating to 1.5°C—the threshold necessary to mitigate the most disastrous effects. Additionally, Canada’s Changing Climate Report(2019) confirms that Canada is warming at twice the global average and has reached an approximate 1.7o C average warming over land and roughly 2.3o C in northern Canada.
Designing buildings to be sustainable, resilient, and resource-efficient – and developing Canadian expertise in this growing industry – is imperative for the future of Canadians and everyone around the world.
Questions: What is your strategy to radically accelerate decarbonization, strengthen resiliency, and leverage regenerative co-benefits to invest in the ongoing environmental action plan for Canadians and Indigenous peoples?
How would you harness and invest in the capacity of Canadian architects and other practitioners in the built environment to address the interdependent and intersectional crises of climate, equity, and intergenerational health?
The federal government exercises great control over the design and construction of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities on and off reserves. The housing and infrastructure of some settlements have been compared to the poorest in the world and potable water and indoor plumbing are often lacking, with 51 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 32 communities.
Question: What is your plan for improving living conditions for Indigenous peoples and how will you accelerate the permanent lifting of the long-term drinking water advisories still impacting Indigenous peoples?
With the recent findings of the remains of children at former residential school sites, Canadians are becoming more aware of the horrors of our country’s colonial history.
Question: What firm, actionable plan does your party have to uncover all burial sites and support residential school survivors?
Giving agency to Indigenous peoples to plan, design, and develop their communities is a step toward reconciliation. Successful First Nation, Inuit and Metis projects in Canada address culture, heritage, economic sustainability, and environmental conservation. They demonstrate the transformative impact of involving Indigenous architects and designers and including the local community in the design process.
Question: How will you give agency to Indigenous groups and Indigenous architects over their communities and projects where the community has a vested interest?
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on vulnerable residents of Canada’s long-term care facilities. The RAIC knows that good design matters and can make positive contributions to mitigating infection and disease control, as well as the overall health, well-being, and dignity of residents. Current design standards and approaches to accommodating and caring for long-term care residents need to be fundamentally rethought.
Questions: What is your strategy to improve the accommodation and care of residents in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities? How would your party work with the provinces? And, to what end are you willing to explore innovative solutions and international best practices in LTC operations and design?
A National Architecture Policy for Canada
Well-designed environments enhance health, quality of life, and economic and social well-being. More than 30 countries have adopted or are developing a national architecture policy. Canada’s architecture community is currently working on recommendations for a national architecture policy as a guide to excellence in design, construction, and sustainable development. A national architecture policy for Canada can inform public debate and influence legislation. It can inspire Canadians to create meaningful and resilient communities amid climate change, reconciliation, rapid urbanization, threatened heritage, and other 21st-century challenges.
Question: Do you support a national architecture policy, and how would your party work with professionals, industry leaders and the public to improve the quality of Canada’s buildings, infrastructure, and cities?
The federal election takes place on September 20, 2021, and we encourage all RAIC members to make their voices heard and make an informed decision at the polls.
Here’s how to be involved:
1. Questions for political parties
The RAIC has prepared four questions for the political parties on:
Climate Action and Sustainability
A National Architecture Policy for Canada
RAIC members can make use of the RAIC brief when communicating with candidates or participating in all-candidates meetings
2. Contact your candidates
Contact the candidates in your riding. Send them the RAIC questions and ask them for their views. Tell them what issues matter to you and why. Tell them who you are: e.g. a constituent, an architect, a member of the RAIC, and a small business owner. Tell them you’re willing to be a go-to person if they have questions about the built environment. Use this opportunity to build personal relationships with the candidates running for office. Don’t forget to cc the RAIC firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Spread the word on social media
3. Meet your candidates
Set up a meeting with your candidates, either through your firm, or a group of RAIC members. Discuss the issues facing the built environment today and ways to promote better results in design and construction. Offer yourself as an expert to consult on these issues. Candidates want to know how a specific issue will affect their riding so use local or personal experiences to emphasize your points.
Meet personally with a candidate you have donated to or worked for or with whom you have a relationship. Find your MP here.
4. Attend a town hall meeting
Attend a town hall meeting and ask questions. Identify yourself as a constituent and an architect.
5. Tell the media
Email the RAIC brief to local journalists covering the election. Offer to be available for an interview or write an op-ed article.
6. Election Resources
Are you registered to vote? Check HERE
Find your riding and candidates HERE
Read the party platforms: