BCRSP Governing Board Approves Changes to CRSP Eligibility Criteria

Date Posted: 
December 11, 2016

Effective July 1, 2018 the eligibility criteria to apply for the CRSP certification will be changing

This article originally appeared in Vol 25.Issue 3 of Governors' Table

At the October 2016 BCRSP Governing Board meeting, the Board approved a change to the eligibility criteria for the CRSP certification. The change to the CRSP certification eligibility requirements impacts the level of education and amount of experience an applicant must have prior to pursuing the certification.

This change comes at an important time for the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) profession. The demand for OHS professionals to support safe and healthy workplaces is growing, and as a result, the need for well-qualified OHS professionals to achieve these goals is paramount. The expectations of employers in today’s world is changing, and with this comes an expectation of higher levels of education. The BCRSP believes that the increase in education and experience requirements for the CRSP certification are important and will better position the CRSP of the future. The BCRSP believes that increasing eligibility requirements will lead to greater opportunities for OHS professionals in Canada and increased professional recognition and influence.

Professions by definition, have well-defined entry pathways which include robust formal education programs that support career entry. Through the National Education Symposium (NES) in 2013 and 2015, we have been in consultation with representatives from various OHS programs at Canadian colleges and universities and they have responded positively to the prospect of change in the BCRSP requirements - and have indicated that they will respond to these change requirements through program development initiatives. We will be communicating with them in the coming months on the BCRSP’s program expectations to ensure that programs align with the new requirements.

The global market is driving change, and the Canadian OHS professional must stay in step with advancing practice elsewhere. OHS Professionals from countries such as the US, UK, Europe, and Australia already have a higher standard of education and experience in place for their OHS professional certification schemes, and Canada is lagging behind. Raising the bar on the CRSP certification standard will further enable opportunities for mobility and transportability of credentials through Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with like-minded organizations.

The Board also recognizes that a single designation and single certification process for the OHS profession in Canada does not best serve the profession. In order to support individuals who may not meet the new eligibility criteria for the CRSP certification, the BCRSP is working on a new certification scheme which would create two distinct certification paths. More details on this will be available in the coming months.

Changes Effective July 1, 2018
Applications for the CRSP certification received on or after July 1, 2018 will be required to have the following:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (4-year) in any field OR a 2-year diploma (or certificate) in occupational health and safety or a closely related field from a recognized academic institution.
  • At least four (4) years of experience where occupational health and safety is at least 50%, preventative, professional level with breadth and depth of health and safety duties.

So what does this mean for existing CRSPs?
As some certificants will be aware, there is a requirement in the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard under clause 9.2.2 and 9.6.2 that when there is a change in the certification scheme, the certification body shall document the methods and mechanisms required to verify that certified persons comply with changed requirements. The certification body shall ensure during the recertification process that it confirms continued competence of the certified person and ongoing compliance with current scheme requirements by the certified person. In response to this requirement, the Governing Board will be considering a number of demonstrated ‘equivalency’ options that existing CRSPs may select from in order to demonstrate compliance with the changes to the certification scheme that will take effect July 1, 2018.

Information will be distributed on the equivalency options in the fourth quarter of 2017.  CRSPs will be required to demonstrate compliance with the new scheme requirements as part of their certification maintenance cycle that occurs after July 1, 2018.

Does this mean that I will have to go back to school to get a degree or diploma in OHS?
No. While obtaining additional formal education may be one option for existing CRSPs to demonstrate equivalency to the new standard, the Board will not be requiring certificants to return to school and other options to demonstrate equivalency will be identified.

More information on the Board approved options to demonstrate equivalency will be published as they become available.

If  you have any questions regarding these changes, please email the office at criteriachanges@bcrsp.ca.