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Accreditation and Certification


Accreditation is a process that evaluates whether an organization or program meets a set of quality standards in the provision of specific services. Accreditation evaluates standards at the organizational or program level.

The accreditation process is undertaken by an independent authoritative body and usually involves both self-assessment and peer review of the organization or program. The evaluation results in a work plan that is carried out to ensure that the organization or program is continually striving to meet established quality standards and best practices. Progress on the work plan is regularly reviewed.

Why get accredited?


  • Provides clients with the assurance that they are receiving the best-quality care;

  • Demonstrates accountability and professionalism; and

  • Highlights an organization’s commitment to excellence.

How to get accredited

View Accreditation for Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Centres: Getting Started

In Canada, the following organizations provide voluntary accreditation specifically for substance abuse treatment programs at the national level:

The Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA) provides mentorship to organizations seeking to obtain accreditation for Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) through the COA. 

In Quebec, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS, Quebec) has established a voluntary standards and certification framework for private or community organizations providing substance abuse treatment and lodging. Quebec also has legislation mandating all public institutions providing health and social services to be accredited by a recognized body — either Accreditation Canada​ or the Conseil québécois d’agrément (CQA)​ — every three years.

CCSA’s Issues of Substance (IOS) conference is another valuable learning opportunity for the substance abuse and addictions workforce. The next IOS conference is in November 2017. (Learn more here​).



Certification offers a way to ensure that professionals in the substance abuse workforce develop and maintain the necessary skills to provide the highest quality services to their clients. Certification focuses on standards at the individual level. Continuing education, membership fees, ethics codes and periodic reviews ​are a common part of the certification process.​

CCSA is in the process of developing a national certification based on the Competencies for Canada’s Substance Abuse Workforce.

Why get certified?


  • Gives addictions professionals regular access to the latest developments in the field and targeted training opportunities;

  • Demonstrates expertise and serves to promote professionalism towards the public and peers; and

  • Can lead to increased compensation and expanded career opportunities.

How to get certified

Six Canadian organizations offer certification to substance abuse and allied professionals with the general aims of providing protection to their clientele and recognition for the practitioner.