Since the 1970’s, there had been several attempts the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS), to develop a Counsellor Certification Program in Canada. In 2004, Counsellor Certification emerged as a very important initiative – the time had come to develop and implement such a program.
The optimal model for development, administration and delivery of Counsellor Certification was examined with a view towards alignment with the following objects of OACCS’ provincial legislation:
- To establish, promote and regulate uniform province-wide standards of knowledge, skill and ethics for persons engaged in the practice of not-for-profit credit counselling;
- To provide training and continuing education for its Members;
- To furnish means and facilities by which its Members may increase their knowledge and skill in all things related to the practice of not-for-profit credit counselling.
Many experienced Member Agency Senior Credit Counsellors, Program Managers and Executive Directors were consulted about what a Certification Program should include and an OACCS Committee was struck to help guide the certification development process. The members of the Committee, with a combined total of over 130 years of credit counselling expertise, examined various models and options for developing and delivering a certification program and considered elements such as, organizational values, certification and program expertise, course requirements, program development and administrative components.
With a view to developing the Personal Finance and Counselling Skills components of an envisioned Canadian-specific program as an important component of OACCS Credit Counsellor Certification, OACCS decided to explore a partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). Work on the certification project continued through an OACCS Curriculum Sub-Committee to oversee the development of Canadian content for the Personal Finance and Counselling Skills courses and to determine the texts and study guides to be used for the program.
In readiness for the launch of Counsellor Certification in Canada, the program name and resultant designation was jointly (OACCS and AFCPE) determined to be the “Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada” with the acronym “AFCC” and OACCS would exclusively offer the AFCC program and designation for Canada. The AFCC was launched in Canada in 2006, representing an integral element of our vision for Counsellor Certification.