Examination Alternative Project


To develop a Canadian Alternative to the current NCIDQ exams.

Current Phase

Open Comment Period



2023 - 2025

Special notice links:
Open Comment Period
Call-out for Senior-level Interior Designers

What is the Examination Alternative Project?

  • ARIDO has agreed with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) that an alternative to the NCDIQ exams should be developed as a Canadian option in relation to the future Direct Regulation Model.
  • This Canadian Alternative would be a second option, in addition to the NCIDQ exams, for satisfying ARIDO’s examination requirement.
  • To this end, ARIDO has launched the Examination Alternative Project to develop a Canadian Alternative to the current NCIDQ exams. The goal is to ensure a fair and equitable path to qualification as an Interior Designer in Ontario.

What is the purpose of this Project?

  • ARIDO currently accepts that applicants who have successfully completed the NCIDQ exams have satisfied the examination requirement to become a Registered Member of ARIDO.
  • Under the future ARIDO/OAA Direct Regulation Model, the current requirements of education, experience, and examination to qualify as an Interior Designer will provide Registered Members with a license to practice the protected scope of interior design.
  • ARIDO’s role as a qualifying body will therefore be accountable to provincial government, the OAA and the Ontario Fairness Commissioner for assessing if individuals have met the requirements for registration into the Interior Design profession. ARIDO will be accountable for ensuring the validity, reliability, and fairness of assessments it uses to satisfy the requirements it is mandating, and it must also have authority to oversee and alter the requirements to qualify as it relates to fair access.


MilestonesStart DateEnd DateStatus
InitiationJanuary 2, 2023March 15, 2023Completed
Periodic ReviewsJanuary 20, 2023August 29, 2023Completed
Feedback SurveyApril 15, 2023May 12, 2023Completed
Development of the Proposed SolutionMay 31, 2023September 27, 2023Completed
Review of the Proposed SolutionNovember 1, 2023December 23, 2023Completed
Open Comment PeriodFebruary 12, 2024March 4, 2024
Content CreationMarch 1, 2024September 2, 2024
Pilot TestingOctober 1, 2024December 23, 2024
Launch - Field TestingMarch 30, 2025TBD

A Solution by Interior Designers

ARIDO will be inviting participation from the interior design community during the phases of development, including reviewing the proposed Canadian Alternative, commenting on the proposed solution, and conducting pilot testing for individuals needing to meet the examination requirement.

ARIDO recognizes the dual focus on both Ontario-specific needs and broader applicability within Canada. Deliberate efforts have been made to include practitioners from across Canada in the Review Group. Notably, the new, alternative option being developed will be bilingual, available in both English and French.


Open Comment Period – February 12 – March 4, 2024

This is your chance to review and comment on the proposed solution and intended direction for a new, Canadian option to fulfill the examination requirement that is currently under development.

We invite feedback from:

  • ARIDO members across all membership categories
  • Practitioners who are members of a provincial jurisdiction outside Ontario
  • Designers who are not a member of any Provincial jurisdiction including Ontario but who are practicing interior design in Canada.

We encourage a diverse range of individuals to comment, including those who completed interior design education other than a CIDA-accredited degree or are foreign-trained and internationally-educated. 

To participate in the online Open Comment Period:

1. Become familiar with key background information on this project website.

2.  Watch the following Video Introduction in Zoom, (passcode z*YI9^Z*).  

3. Start Your Review and Provide Comment using this online survey link , accessible between February 12, 2024 and March 4, 2024.

Click here to access our Frequently Asked Questions

Call-out for Senior-level Interior Designers

ARIDO is seeking senior-level practitioners of interior design, who are qualified in Ontario or another Provincial jurisdiction, to participate in the development of content for the Canadian Alternative. While this initiative will develop and implement an additional option to meet the examination requirement for Registered Interior Designers in Ontario, we are welcoming the participation from practitioners from across Canada.

If you are interested in participating as a content contributor, please indicate your interest when completing the survey for the Open Comment Period or email us directly at assessment@arido.ca

Review Group

In November 2023, 40+ senior-level interior designers participated in 1-on-1 interviews and/or online surveys in order to review the proposed solution for a new, alternative option for the examination requirement. The feedback from this group will be sent back to the Development Group in spring 2024 to make any necessary adjustments.

Periodic Review Reports

Between January and August 2023, reviews were conducted by an independent consultant to evaluate the real-world performance of ARIDO-developed competency systems used in the registration path, gathering feedback from all system users.

You can access copies of the Independent Consultant’s Reports:

Development Group

Between May and September 2023, a development group made up of current practitioners with a variety of education and experience participated in 3 all-day working sessions in order to develop and propose a solution for a new, alternative option for the examination requirement. This group has developed a proposed solution which has been reviewed by a Review Group.

Pilot Testing

Recruitment for pilot testers occurred between April and August 2023 and pilot testing is scheduled to take place in October to December 2024. This phase will allow a small group of individuals to complete the new, alternative option to meet the examination requirement under close monitoring.

During this phase, ARIDO will be actively seeking feedback to improve the instructions and process from applicants before launching a field-testing phase.

Survey on Examination Requirement

ARIDO conducted an anonymous online survey to gather input from interior designers across Canada. The survey’s primary focus was on gathering feedback on the current examination requirement and identifying barriers for becoming a Registered Interior Designer in Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions. To ensure inclusivity, the survey was available in both English and French.

The survey was open for responses until May 12, 2023. We received 505 responses! Thank you to all who participated! For details on the results of the survey, please see the Preliminary Review of Canadian Alternative report.

Information Session - Recording

This virtual information session on ARIDO’s Examination Alternative Project took place on Friday, April 28th, 2023, in order to share more about this project and open the floor to questions from ARIDO members and interior designers from jurisdictions outside of Ontario.

It was presented by Sharon Portelli, ARIDO's Executive Director and Registrar, and Daniel Zanth, Examination Alternative Project Lead and focused on ARIDO’s project to develop a Canadian Alternative to the current exams.

If you have any questions about this project, you can email ARIDO at assessment@arido.ca.