Professional Certifications Standards Project

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Canadian Association for Professional Access and Privacy Administrators and Canadian Access and Privacy Association




This report is the end result of the first phase of an ongoing initiative by the Canadian Access and Privacy Association (CAPA) and the Canadian Association for Professional Access and Privacy Administrators (CAPAPA) to establish standards for information and privacy professionals in Canada.

A working group for this project, chaired by Frank Work, Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, consisted of senior representatives of CAPA, CAPAPA and the Quebec L’Association sur l’accès et la protection de l’information (AAPI), senior officials of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, as well as academics, consultants and industry representatives involved in this field.

The objective of this report was to identify and establish professional standards for information and privacy professionals (IPPs). The standards will constitute a minimum-level-for-practice criteria used to evaluate competence to practice as an IPP seeking certification.

The report advances a strong requirement for professional standards and, in subsequent phases of this work, creation of a certification and oversight body. It stresses that IP professionals can be seen, in some settings, as quasi-judicial officials upholding legal rights of a quasi-constitutional nature. It describes such professionals as “stewards of a public trust that underpins our democratic and economic freedom”. It argues that the work of such professionals “requires special qualifications and a high-level of professional comportment”.

Described in the report are the three inter-related aspects of IPP work: the Administrator Aspects; the Executor Aspect; and the Advisor Aspects, all of which require a different focus. The report states that the ordering of these aspects is an important consideration in designing and classifying job descriptions, in organizing IPP work groups, and in engineering career structures.

The competencies required in all three aspects are outlined in an IPP Competency Profile which presents the level of proficiency needed to achieve entry into the profession through formal certification. A total of 24 specific competencies are identified under the three aspects, including interpreting legislation, building relationships and trust, developing technological awareness, and providing training and education. The report adds that the structure of the competencies contemplates possible later refinements and customized enhancements to identify more expert levels within each competency. Appendix C of the report contains a list of “attainment indicators” for each of the 24 competencies, making this an extremely useful matrix for any evaluation of IPP qualifications.

The report also contains a proposed six-point Code of Ethics for IPPs, intended to identify their professional obligations, and identify for clients, stakeholders and members of the public the expectations and accountabilities placed on certified IPPs.

The report concludes with criteria for certification that could be applied by a professional certifying body, a listing of target audiences for certification, and an outline of work yet to be completed. The next stages of work include a recommended certification model (delivery in August 2007) and a recommended governance model, to be completed by the end of November 2007.

This document is available in the following language(s):

English only

OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

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