November 3, 2016
By Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesI have very exciting news to report on two milestones that have put the landscape design world in the spotlight in Canada.

Firstly, the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) coalition has produced the Canadian Landscape Standard — a national standards document to follow for design and implementation on all of our projects. To have this standard, instead of just guidelines, is a first for our profession.

Moving forward, the goal is that municipalities should (and will) be asking for these standards to be implemented in the design process of any sites. The Canadian Landscape Standard should, and inevitably will, be enforced upon implementation of all projects. The sooner we can all adopt the standards into our design and construction, the easier it will be for our teams to embrace this methodology as the new norm.

This is also the biggest news we have had to put out to the public in recent years. Homeowners will now be able to ask designers and contractors if they are pricing and building to this same standard. This will start to widen the gap between member companies and those who play outside the new rules. It will be much more difficult for those companies who don’t deliver formal designs or details on their quotes to justify why they are cheaper than others. This problem will never go away, but as our clients become more discriminating and demanding, this standard will help us all continue to strive to reach the next level.

As we continue to discuss the possibility of a Name Act for landscape designers in ongoing meetings with government officials and the OALA, this recent development shows the profession of landscape design is finally coming of age in North America. The Name Act is only a provincial initiative, but Ontario is often the leader in implementing new programs and new legislation for the entire nation.

The need for existing members who are working on their CLD, as well as potential members who want to achieve their CLD has never been higher. Name Act legislation will inevitably come with a unique and possibly strict set of eligibility guidelines. The idea is that all members who already have their CLD would be grandfathered in to the Name Act legislation.

Landscape Architects who are members of a provincial association are also eligible to receive their CLD designation through grandfathering. This dual designation will help when lobbying government for both the Name Act and Practice Act legislation. Evidence of two different associations working together will only help to strengthen us all.

Secondly, another major milestone was achieved in the design world on Sept. 20. Landscape Architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander was awarded the inaugural Governor General’s Award for Landscape Architecture. Of the 13 applicants who were judged, there is no better first recipient than Oberlander. Her 60 plus years of practice has advocated everything we stand for. As landscape designers, we could not be prouder to be part of a profession that shows the world our passion for plants and the environment. Congratulations from all of us at Landscape Ontario, and thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for the profession.

Government now recognizes the economic, social, environmental and intrinsic value of our profession. Couple Oberlander’s award with the national standards and the time could never be better for us to continue to advocate and demand that we as professionals can, and do make a positive difference in our global environment.
Paul Brydges may be reached at