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Mapping the progress of our associations for the interior design profession: a compendium of important dates


 Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia (IDIBC):

1950 – Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia (IDIBC) is incorporated under the province’s Society Act.

1955 – The association produces its first Decorama event, a semi-regular design show that runs until 1970.

1970 – Douglas College introduces BC’s first Interior Design program.

1976 – US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) is adopted by the organization; a year later, the examination becomes mandatory for professional membership in BC.

1977 – IDIBC launches an ongoing series of successful design and charity events, including Designer Show Homes; continuing education at Designers Weekend, which runs yearly until 1999; and the annual Designer Garage Sale, which starts in 1990.

1981 – The Awards of Excellence design competition program is initiated as an annual event, showcasing excellence and innovation in residential and commercial interior design in BC.

1985 – IDIBC and Institute of Business Designers (IBD) BC Chapter amalgamate, effectively strengthening both. 

1987 – The title “Registered Interior Designer (RID)” is registered under the Society Act of British Columbia.

1991 – The provincial Building Code is revised, requiring Letters of Assurance to accompany building permits signed by certified professionals. IDIBC meets with government officials to clarify this requirement, and finally receives an exemption for tenant improvement projects in 1993.

1992 – Legal committees are formed to pursue legal recognition for Registered Interior Designers in BC. Standard legal contracts, building code courses and professional liability insurance requirements are developed.

1993 – Kwantlen College, later Kwantlen Polytechnic University. inaugurates a Bachelor program in Applied Design in Interior Design; by 2006, this program is awarded full, six-year professional level accreditation by the US Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER), a first for BC.

2000 – IDIBC celebrates its 50th anniversary by hosting the 27th IDC AGM in Vancouver.

2001 – The annual Design Northwest Trade Show is launched in Vancouver, held in conjunction with Buildex and the BC Construction Show.

2003 – The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) program with a three-year reporting cycle becomes mandatory; online CEU reporting and management are handled through NCIDQ.

2006 – IDIBC and the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a framework for on-going discussions regarding possible incorporation of their memberships under the Architects Act.

2008 – Vancouver Island University launches a new Bachelor of Interior Design degree.

2013 – The British Columbia Institute of Technology launches new Bachelor of Interior Design degree.

Interior Designers of Alberta (IDA):

1957 – An initial meeting in Calgary of nine interior designers leads to a new association, Calgary Interior Designers (CID). It is agreed that designers would gain more prestige in the community if their services were properly publicized. Subsequent meetings see a charter drawn up, along with qualifications for membership and a professional standard of ethics.

1959 – Representatives from Alberta and BC meet in Nelson, BC, to form the Canadian Institute of Interior Design (CIID).

1960 –The CID association, broadened to include all of Alberta, is incorporated under the provincial Society Act as Registered Interior Designers Institute of Alberta (RIDIA).

1976 – RIDIA begins hosting the Westex trade show, which alternates yearly between Calgary and Edmonton. The event, focusing on suppliers and manufacturers active in the Western Canadian market, as well as educational seminars and guest speakers, runs annually until 1992.

1980 – “Interior Design” becomes defined and regulated under the Alberta Architects Act (AAA). RIDIA successfully lobbies for licensure of Interior Designers as recognized practitioners. The province’s Interior Design community is split by the proclamation of Bill 31, as both RIDIA and AAA are legislated professional organizations. To this day, AAA-licensed Interior Designers remain qualified and recognized within Alberta only, whereas the association’s members are recognized and qualified throughout Canada.

1980 – Calgary’s Mount Royal College applies for and is granted accreditation for its Interior Design program by the US Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER).

1991 – RIDIA applies for registration under the Professions and Occupational Associations Registration Act, with the intention of attaining Title Act status. The application is denied in 1992 for unknown reasons.

1992 – The association adopts Interior Designers of Alberta (IDA) as its new operational name.

1999 – IDA establishes a professional degree as the minimal educational standard for registered members, and makes Professional Liability Insurance coverage mandatory for all members.

2000 – IDA launches Urban Encounters, a successful table-top trade show presented annually in both Calgary and Edmonton.

2003 – The mandatory Professional Development Program launches.

2010 – IDA celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Interior Designers Association of Saskatchewan (IDAS):

1968 – Eight interior designers meet in Saskatoon to establish Interior Designers of Saskatchewan (IDS).

1972 – In Ottawa, Saskatchewan becomes one of the original signatories to the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) charter. This further helps legitimize IDS in provincial government eyes.

1978 – First reading of Bill 105, an Act Respecting the Interior Designers of Saskatchewan, is received and tabled in the Saskatchewan legislature; the bill stalls when the government is later adjourned for an election. IDS meanwhile institutes the US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as qualification for membership.

1988 – IDS represents the highest percentage of members among all provinces who subscribe to the first IDC Liability Insurance program, and the second-highest percentage of members among all provinces who successfully pass the NCIDQ exam.

1992 – Together with other professional organizations (architects, engineers, landscape architects, graphic artists and community planners), IDS helps form the Design Council of Saskatchewan (DCS), to promote excellence in design to the public and to introduce elementary school students to the design process through hands-on learning.

1997 – The association’s name is changed to Interior Designers Association of Saskatchewan (IDAS). The Interior Designers Act is proclaimed in the provincial legislature, granting IDAS legal protection for the title “Interior Designer.” 

2000 – Active participation begins in an advisory capacity to the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Architectural Technology and Interior Design program.

Professional Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba (PIDIM):

1948 – The University of Manitoba establishes a new, four-year Bachelor of Interior Design course. For nearly two ensuing decades, it remains the only school in Canada to offer this type of degree. Interior Design students at the U of M’s School of
Architecture form the Society of Student Interior Designers (SSID); after graduation three years later, they expand the group, changing its name to the Manitoba Institute of Interior Designers (MIID).

1954 – An act to incorporate the Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba (IDIM)  is passed by the Legislative Assembly of M
anitoba.

1964 – IDIM celebrates its 10th anniversary by sponsoring a Trade Exhibition at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg. Eighteen annual and biennial shows follow until 1993.

1980 – The provincial association adopts examination and certification requirements of the US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

1981 – IDIM changes its name to the Professional Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba (PIDIM) and formally petitions the Manitoba government to reserve and protect the title of Professional Interior Designer for registered members. Shortly afterward, Manitoba becomes the second province (after Quebec) to enact legislation designating Interior Design as a profession. 

1983 – U of M hosts the International Federation of Interior Designers (IFI) Forum on Interior Design Education. Several other Interior Design organizations, including IDC, IDEC, FIDER and NCIDQ, hold their annual conferences in Winnipeg in
conjunction with this global conference. 

1984 – Winnipeg’s Ronald McDonald House opens its doors. The project represents a mammoth undertaking by 31 PIDIM members, who donated all Interior Design services.

2001 – Canada’s first Master of Professional Interior Design program launches at U of M.

2004 – PIDIM celebrates its 50th anniversary with a lecture entitled “Advancing the Interior Design Profession.” The event is held at the University Women’s Club – the original meeting place of IDIM.

2005 – PIDIM is invited by the Minister of Labour to join the Building Standards committee, a body that reviews and proposes building code amendments to Cabinet.

2007 – PIDIM applies for membership in NCIDQ.

2008 – The association implements a professional development program, offering instruction in both the continuing education and participation categories.

Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO):

1934 – A group of designers meet in Toronto to establish the Society of Interior Decorators of Ontario (SIDO).

1964 – Association leaders seek to outline professional standards for the profession and industry.

1970 – Society of Interior Decorators of Ontario (SIDO) changes its name to Interior Designers of Ontario (IDO). 

1982 – IDO institutes its annual awards program, open to all registered members. Showcasing excellence, innovation and originality in interior design across 10 distinct categories, the awards become highly regarded honours in the Ontario Interior Design community.

1984 – On the occasion of the association’s 50th anniversary, the Legislature of Ontario passes the ARIDO Act, legally changing the self-regulating organization’s name to Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) and authorizing it to set standards and rules for its members. ARIDO requirements include six years of combined education and supervised internship; passing the standardized North American examination under the US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ); carrying professional and general liability insurance; adhering to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice; and participating in a mandatory continuing-education program. Of equal note, ARIDO founds IIDEX the same year, which instantly becomes the country’s leading design show.

1999 – The ARIDO Act is amended in the provincial legislature with the passing of Bill Pr6; the Titles Act grants registered members who meet ARIDO standards exclusive use of the title “Interior Designer” in Ontario.

2010 – ARIDO restructures to focus on regulatory functions in pursuit of a Practice Act.

Association of Professional Interior Designers of Quebec/Association professionnelle des designers d’intérieur du Québec (APDIQ):

1933 – Five shopkeepers gather at Montreal’s Windsor Hotel, setting the foundations for an association that will be named Interior Decorators Association of Quebec (IDAQ).

1946 – Quebec’s legislature formalizes the existence of the newly renamed  Interior Decorators Society of Quebec (IDSQ)/la Société des décorateurs ensembliers du Québec (SDEQ).

1966 – The word “Design” is used for the first time within IDSQ/SDEQ.

1975 – IDSQ/SDEQ confirms the meaning of “Interior Design,” defining the skills and educational programs related to the field.

1994 – As the concept of Interior Design is refined over the years, the association
changes its name to la Société des designers d’intérieur du Québec/the Society of Interior Designers of Quebec (SDIQ).

2002 –  SDIQ ends its activities.

2003 – A new organization arises, Association of Professional Interior Designers of Quebec/Association professionnelle des designers d’intérieur du Québec (APDIQ), with a new mission and specific objectives.

2012 – APDIQ becomes affiliated with the national association, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and Interior Designers of Quebec (IDQ).

Association of Registered Interior Designers of New Brunswick (ARIDNB):

1984 – Partly in response to the provincial Architects Association, which is seeking to limit the practice of Interior Design to registered architects only, New Brunswick–based members of Interior Designers of Nova Scotia (IDNS) decide to form their own provincial association.

1987 – The New Brunswick Legislature passes the Titles Act, restricting the designation “Registered Interior Designer (RID)” to IDNS members, and charging the association with the responsibility of fostering professionalism and education among its members. That same year, IDNS and the Interior Design program offered through Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick/New Brunswick Community College, in Dieppe, host a presentation on Colour Theory by celebrated Californian designer Carlton Wagner.

1990 – ARIDNB, along with the University of New Brunswick Wood Science and Technology Centre and Forestry Canada, undertakes a project to investigate the opportunities for Maritime maple in value-added applications. All products are designed by members of ARIDNB and manufactured within New Brunswick.

1992 – IDNS institutes the requirement that all members pass the US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam.

2005 – Marking its 20th anniversary, IDNS hosts (for the third time) the board of directors meeting of Interior Designers of Canada (IDC).

Interior Designers of Nova Scotia (IDNS):

1975 – Interior Designers of Nova Scotia (IDNS) is established.

1990 – The Nova Scotia legislature passes an act limiting the use of the title “Interior Designer” to registered members of IDNS. Professionals must now possess seven years’ education and experience, pass the US National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, and be members of IDNS to so term themselves.

2003 – The Interior Designers Act gets first reading in the provincial legislature, and is passed the following year. The act provides a legal definition of “Interior Designer,” legally recognizes the profession in terms of qualification and standards, and removes the stipulation that only architects or engineers are permitted to sign off on non-structural drawings representing work over $60,000.

2011 –The Interior Designers Act is amended, further outlining and defining the responsibilities and practice of the profession.

Interior Designers of Newfoundland and Labrador (DNL):

2013 – Interior Designers of Newfoundland and Labrador (IDNL) is founded in St. John
’s with 17 core members, and received provisionally at the IDC AGM. Recent growth in the local economy is reflected by the province’s growing design community. Multiple inaugural events are planned for the spring of 2014.

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC)

1972 – After several years of consultation and preparation, provincial members from the seven extant Interior Design associations meet in Ottawa to sign a federal charter for a national advocacy and advisory group, creating the
umbrella organization of Interior Designers of Canada (IDC).

1976 – A national office is established in Ottawa, in shared space, for the IDC president and a small secretarial staff. 

1979 – Lacking the necessary funding and unable to convince the former federal department, Design Canada, of the need for cross-country educational accreditation, IDC begins talks with the US-based Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) about a transnational affiliation; an agreement is reached the following year.

1980 – IDC’s Interior Designers Council of Canada is created, to foster charitable works in the Interior Design field. Toronto’s National Interior Design Show, owned and managed by Southex, a division of Southam Publishing, folds. For several years, the event provided the Canadian Interior Design community with a valuable showcase, as well as funds for an annual student-design competition. 

1983 – IDC’s national office relocates to Toronto.

1984 – IDC drafts an examination affiliation with the US-based National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). In Toronto, the International Interior Design Expo (IIDEX) is founded by the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO).

1986 – A professional development program is finally formulated, and Continuing Education Units (CEU) are launched with a marketing seminar held at IIDEX. IDC holds its first strategic planning session and conducts a national fee and salary survey, the results of which are published in Canadian Interiors.

1987 – The national Professional Liability Insurance program comes into being, with member associations at first encouraged to voluntarily participate. After initially using its own exam, Quebec begins development of a French version of NCIDQ; by 1995, all provincial Interior Design associations have adopted the NCIDQ exam as a mandatory requirement.

1988 – IDC convenes the first annual provincial Continuing Education conference, in Toronto.

1989 – Decima Research is tasked with undertaking an economic-impact survey of the Interior Design profession. Resource industry representatives sit with IDC in a joint committee to investigate the ethics of then-current “specifiers fees.” The committee recommends condemning the practice and IDC disseminates display-form Ethical Policy certificates throughout the industry. 

1990 – Toronto hosts the Issues Forum, a semi-annual transnational conference wherein, under the name Unified Voice Task Force, talks are held between IDC and US-based design associations about a possible merger. On both sides of the border, these associations successfully lobby their respective governments to include “Interior Designer” in the
professional designation list of NAFTA’s North American Industrial Classification System. That same year, IDC produces the first issue of its semi-annual
newsletter, Communiqué. 

1991 – The Interior Designers Council of Canada changes its name to the IDC Foundation, and receives tax-exempt status from the federal government.

1992 – In celebration of its 20th anniversary, IDC holds its first international Education Forum in Ottawa, which is attended by representatives of Canadian schools of Interior Design, NCIDQ and FIDER. That same year, Unified Voice Task Force disbands after deciding that there are too many obstacles to overcome.

1994 –  IDC acquires IIDEX, the world’s only major design exposition owned by a professional association.

1995 – IDC sets up its Export Committee, charged with assisting Canadian Interior Designers in promoting their services internationally.

1996 – Looking for a fresh and financially stable structure, IDC is repositioned as an association of
associations. A new Government Liaison post is created to seek redress in uneven government-contract allocation. 

1997 – Price Waterhouse issues a report, commissioned by Human Resources Development Canada, analyzing the national design sector’s strengths and weakness, with recommendations for improvement. IDC signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) regarding fairness in contract allocation.

1999 – A mandatory national Liability Insurance program is implemented. IDC’s website debuts in English, and becomes fully bilingual the following year. At IIDEX, IDC launches its annual Product and Booth Awards, known today as the Innovation Awards.

2004 – IDC, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), and International Interior Design Association (IIDA) launch careersininteriordesign.com, a website aimed at educating the public about the complexity of the Interior Design profession and the career path toward becoming an Interior Designer.

2008 – ARIDO presents a restructuring proposal to IDC’s provincial member associations. The provinces agree to investigate the new model, which becomes operational upon unified acceptance the following year. 

2010 – IDC’s first Annual Meeting under the new structure takes place in Halifax. Under the new model, provincial associations transition to become regulatory bodies, transferring advocacy roles to the national association. Industry membership – consisting of manufacturers and suppliers across the country – is transferred from all provincial associations to IDC. IDC also launches its first-ever member survey, which results in  important data about the demographics and make-up of the Interior Design profession in Canada. This same year, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA) create a new identity for the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC). The Council, now with its own director and headquartered in Toronto, becomes an independent entity charged with streamlining and centralizing the continuing education process for both providers and learners across North America.

2011 – IDC releases its most current salary survey. Representatives of IDC’s board, along with invited association members, comprise export missions to explore marketing opportunities in Las Vegas, Germany, Abu Dhabi and Denmark. Dimensions, IDC’s quarterly magazine, is rebranded and published inside Canadian Interiors, which also publishes IDC’s Member Directory and Buyers’ Guide.

2012 –In an effort to bring the broader design community together in smaller regions, IDC launches a successful series of table-top trade shows – small, local events where suppliers and manufacturers display their products on table tops rather than in booths. IDC and Architecture Canada | RAIC become co-presenters of IIDEX. IDC also partners with Canadian Interiors to launch the Canadian Interior Design Benchmarking and Best Practices Study. The results of the study – the first of its kind since 1998 – establish the size and scope of the design industry in general and the Interior Design profession in particular.

2013 – After much deliberation, IDC sells IIDEX to its managing company, Informa Canada. IDC also awards its first Honours and Fellows designation under the new a
ssociation model.  cI


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