July 1, 2018 Changes are Just Around the Corner

Read more on the upcoming changes to the CRSP®

The Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP) announced in the Fall of 2016 that changes are coming to the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP)® certification. There is also a new certification – the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) certification being developed by the BCRSP. 

Theses changes come at an important time for the occupational health & safety (OHS) profession. The expectations of employers in today's world is changing, and with this comes an expectation of greater knowledge, skills and abilities. One way to help OHS practitioners demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities is through certifications such as the CRSP®, and the soon to be launched CRST. These certifications must meet the expectations of employers, and as expectations heighten, so too must the standards of eligibility for certification. 

As employer expectations increase and as the profession evolves, so must the criteria to obtain and maintain certification. 

The BCRSP is taking the necessary steps to ensure that there will be greater opportunities for OHS professionals in Canada and increased opportunities for professional recognition and influence by increasing the CRSP® eligibility requirements. Similarly, setting a national standard for certification of OHS technicians will provide employers a benchmark and way to pre-screen applicants for positions that demand a high level of technical knowledge in OHS. This is truly a significant time in the evolution of the safety profession, and an exciting time to be an OHS practitioner.

The global market is driving change, and Canadian OHS practitioners 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 falling behind. Raising the bar on the CRSP® certification standard will further enable opportunities for mobility and transportability of credentials through Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with like-minded organizations. Our global counterparts all offer multiple certifications to reflect the varying workplace roles of OHS practitioners, thus the development of the CRST certification will align the Canadian certification system globally. Once the CRST certification is established, we will also be seeking out opportunities for MOUs related to this standard and creating even more opportunities for OHS practitioners. 

This CRST certification aligns to the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations (INSHPO) global capability framework. The BCRSP is mapping both the technician (CRST) and professional level (CRSP®) certifications against this framework to ensure the Canadian safety certifications are aligned to global standards as well as aligned to the need of Canadian employers. 

In relation to the changes to the CRSP® education requirements, we have been in continual communication with the colleges and universities that deliver OHS formal education programs, and many of them are in the process of making changes to their program that will allow students to achieve an education credential that meets either the technician or the professional level certification. Several of the programs are considering a modular approach that will also allow for individuals who may have already obtained a one-year OHS certificate to enroll in a second program to upgrade their educational credential to meet the new CRSP® eligibility requirements. More information will be published on these options as they become available. 

Impact on Existing CRSP®s

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 ISO 17024 clause ensures those who do not meet the new educational requirements are provided a method to upgrade to the new requirements. Rest assured that the Governing Board is cognizant of these concerns and is working to ensure certificants that will be required to upgrade based on the changed eligibility requirements are provided a pathway for doing so in a way that is not onerous or costly to the certificant. 

The Governing Board has considered several demonstrated ‘equivalency’ options that may be selected from to demonstrate compliance with the changes to the certification scheme that will take effect July 1, 2018. Certificants who will be required to demonstrate equivalency will be sent communication directly by the BCRSP later in 2018 advising them of the requirements. To date, the Governing Board has approved the following options:

Option 1: Completion of Online Modules

Certificants that do not meet the new education standard will be requested to complete 4 online modules, which combined with the additional years of experience BCRSP would deem equivalent to the new standard. These modules are being developed for this exclusive purpose by Ryerson University, will be available online to all certificants who do not meet the new education requirement, and are free of charge.  Each module is expected to be 2-3 hours in length.  We are also focusing on topics that we believe are relevant to all CRSP®s – project management, communication and leadership, professional skills, and ethics – and expect these topics to offer value within the context of professional development.  

Option 2: Formal Education

Certificants may meet the new education standard by having obtained or obtaining an educational credential that meets the new standard (2-year /900 hour OHS diploma or certificate; or 4-year Bachelors' degree). We know that many certificants have upgraded their education since their original certification. Certificants will be notified in 2018 regarding the requirement to demonstrate equivalency – if you have obtained a Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters’ Degree (including an MBA), or a 2-year (900 hour) diploma/post-graduate diploma in OHS since you originally became certified, an original transcript from the issuing institution is all that will be required to demonstrate compliance. Certificants may also opt to upgrade their education to comply, and it is expected if this is the route selected, that completion of the Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters’ Degree (including an MBA), or a 2-year (900 hour) diploma/post-graduate diploma being undertaken would coincide with the individual’s CMP cycle that falls after July 1, 2018. 

Overview of Changes

CRSP® Certification Eligibility Criteria

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) (minimum of 900 hours or 60 credits) 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.

Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) Certification

The Governing Board has approved the eligibility criteria for the CRST as follows:

Pathway A:

  • Formal Education Requirement: Have successfully completed a one-year OHS certificate program from a recognized educational institution.
  • Technical Practice: Have had one year of OHS work experience (at least 35% OHS duties) immediately before submitting an application.

Pathway B:

  • Formal Education Requirement: Have successfully completed a two-year NON-OHS formal education program from a recognized educational institution (Community College or University) OR is qualified to journeyman status in a trade.
  • Technical Development: Have completed professional development courses or training related to the nine competency categories before submitting an application.
  • Technical Practice: Have had one year of OHS work experience (at least 35% OHS duties) immediately before submitting an application.

Pathway C Transition Pathway: 

  • Formal Education Requirement: Graduates from an approved 2-year (900 hour) OHS program from a recognized educational institution are eligible to write the Technician Certification examination immediately upon graduation, and if successful hold the Technician level certification. More information on programs approved under this pathway will be published in late 2018.
  • Upon obtaining 4 years’ relevant OHS experience (professional level), they will be eligible to apply for the CRSP® certification. 

The Examination Blueprint for the Canadian Registered Safety Technician (CRST) can be downloaded here. It is anticipated that the first intake of applicants for the CRST will commence in late 2018, and the first CRST Examination will be scheduled for 2019. If you wish to be informed when more information is available, send us an email to be added to the distribution list.