John Stephenson, OAA, MRAIC, has been elected as the president of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) for a second one-year term.
Stephenson is a founding partner of FORM Architecture Engineering, one of the largest architectural practices in Northwestern Ontario. After receiving his bachelor of architecture from the University of Toronto, Stephenson worked as an intern architect in Toronto, before relocating to Northwestern Ontario in 1980, where he continued his internship with Graham Bacon Welter Architects & Consulting Engineers prior to beginning his practice in Thunder Bay.
As OAA president, Stephenson says he is committed to building a strong profession that is valued and empowered to serve the public interest through excellence in design and professional practice.
“In addition to design excellence, the key to achieving this goal is recognizing effective project and risk management are central to the architect’s role today,” he says.
Stephenson joined the OAA council in 2013. He has participated in several committees, task forces, and executive roles, serving as senior vice-president and treasurer for the two years prior to becoming president.
During his time on the council, Stephenson has taken part in several initiatives, many of which remain in progress, including the OAA Headquarters Renew + Refresh project, re-imagining the OAA Honours and Awards program, a new media content creation and communication strategy, and, in collaboration with Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO), considering ways in which the practice of interior design could be regulated under the Architects Act.
Stephenson is passionate about promoting continued public engagement and advocacy by architects on topics such as procurement, housing affordability, and the role of the profession in reconciliation with Indigenous people.
During his first year as president, Stephenson led the profession in a vigorous campaign refusing to participate in procurement processes requiring architects to contract out of their professional obligations. He has also been a vocal advocate for more enlightened employment practices by architects and for the creation of a national architecture policy to guide the procurement of architectural services and the creation of a safe, healthy, and uplifting built environment for Canadians.