Standards of Practice

The Canadian Association for Financial Empowerment (CAFE), building on the legacy and formally known as the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services, and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, are the Certification Body in Canada.  CAFE in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) is committed to promoting the highest of ethical standards for financial practitioners.

All associated through CAFE are required to adhere to a professional Standards of Practice in order to maintain their designation and certification as Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada® (AFCC®) designees as well as a Code of Ethics.

We are constantly evolving to raise the Standard in Canada.

AFCC® Designees pledge to maintain the following Standards of Practice

Section A: The Counselling Relationship

Standard of Practice One (SP-1): Nondiscrimination: Counsellors respect diversity and must not discriminate against clients because of age, colour, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or socio-economic status.

Standard of Practice Two (SP-2): Disclosure to Clients: Counsellors must adequately inform clients, preferably in writing, regarding the counselling process and counselling relationship at or before the first meeting and throughout the relationship.

Standard of Practice Three (SP-3): Dual Relationships: Counsellors must make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair their professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, counsellors must take appropriate steps to ensure that judgment is not impaired and that no exploitation occurs.

Standard of Practice Four (SP-4): Sexual Intimacies: Counsellors must not engage in any type of sexual intimacies with clients and must not engage in sexual intimacies with former clients within a minimum of two years after terminating the counselling relationship. Counsellors who engage in such relationships after two years following termination have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such relations did not have an exploitative nature.

Standard of Practice Five (SP-5): Protecting Clients During Group Work: Counsellors must take steps to protect clients from physical or psychological trauma resulting from interactions during group work, financial education classes, or seminars.

Standard of Practice Six (SP-6): Advance Understanding of Fees: Counsellors must explain to clients, prior to their entering the counselling relationship, financial arrangements related to professional services.

Standard of Practice Seven (SP-7): Termination: Counsellors must assist in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment of clients, when necessary, following termination of counselling relationships.

Standard of Practice Eight (SP-8): Inability to Assist Clients: Counsellors must avoid entering or immediately terminate a counselling relationship if it is determined that they are unable to be of professional assistance to a client. The counsellor may assist in making an appropriate referral for the client.

Section B: Confidentiality

Standard of Practice Nine (SP-9): Confidentiality Requirement: Counsellors must keep information related to counselling services confidential unless disclosure is in the best interest of clients, is required for the welfare of others, or is required by law. When disclosure is required, only information that is essential is revealed, and the client is informed of such disclosure.

Standard of Practice Ten (SP-10): Confidentiality Requirements for Subordinates: Counsellors must take measures to ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of clients are maintained by subordinates.

Standard of Practice Eleven (SP-11): Confidentiality in Group Work: Counsellors must clearly communicate to group members that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in group work or financial education classes or seminars.

Standard of Practice Twelve (SP-12): Confidentiality in Family Counselling: Counsellors must not disclose information about one family member in counselling to another family member without prior consent.

Standard of Practice Thirteen (SP-13): Confidentiality of Records: Counsellors must maintain appropriate confidentiality in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and disposing of counselling records.

Standard of Practice Fourteen (SP-14): Permission to Record or Observe: Counsellors must obtain prior written consent from clients in order to record electronically or observe sessions.

Standard of Practice Fifteen (SP-15): Disclosure or Transfer of Records: Counsellors must obtain written consent from a client prior to disclosing or transferring records to third parties, unless exceptions listed in SP-9 exist.

Standard of Practice Sixteen (SP-16): Data Disguise Required: Counsellors must disguise the identity of the client when using data for training, research, or publication. The survey must also contain a written disclosure statement concerning privacy at the beginning of a survey.

Section C: Professional Responsibility

Standard of Practice Seventeen (SP-17): Boundaries of Competence: Counsellors must practice only within the boundaries of their competence.

Standard of Practice Eighteen (SP-18): Continuing Education: Counsellors must engage in continuing education to maintain their professional competence.

Standard of Practice Nineteen (SP-19): Impairment of Professionals: Counsellors must refrain from offering professional services when their personal problems or conflicts may cause harm to a client or others.

Standard of Practice Twenty (SP-20): Accurate Advertising: Counsellors must accurately represent their credentials and services when advertising.

Standard of Practice Twenty-One (SP-21): Recruiting Through Employment: Counsellors must not use their place of employment or institutional affiliation to recruit clients for their private practices.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Two (SP-22): Credentials Claimed: Counsellors must claim or imply only professional credentials possessed and must correct any known misrepresentations of their credentials by others.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Three (SP-23): Sexual Harassment: Counsellors must not engage in sexual harassment.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Four (SP-24): Unjustified Gains: Counsellors must not use their professional positions to seek or receive unjustified personal gains, sexual favours, unfair advantage, or unearned goods or services.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Five (SP-25): Clients Served by Others: With the consent of the client, counsellors must inform other financial professionals serving the same client that a counselling relationship between the counsellor and client exists.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Six (SP-26): Negative Employment Conditions: Counsellors must alert their employers to institutional policy or conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the counsellors’ professional responsibilities, or that may limit their effectiveness, or are not in the client’s best interest.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Seven (SP-27): Personnel Selection and Assignment: Counsellors must select competent staff and must assign responsibilities compatible with staff skills and experience.

Standard of Practice Twenty-Eight (SP-28): Exploitative Relationships with Subordinates: Counsellors must not engage in exploitative relationships with individuals over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or instructional control or authority.

Section D: Relationship with other Professionals

Standard of Practice Twenty-Nine (SP-29): Accepting Fees From Agency Clients: Counsellors must not accept fees or other remuneration for consultation with persons entitled to such services through the counsellor’s employing agency or institution.

Standard of Practice Thirty (SP-30): Referral Fees: Counsellors must not accept or pay referral fees.

Section E: Evaluation, Assessment and Interpretation

Standard of Practice Thirty-One (SP-31): Limits of Competence: Counsellors must perform only testing and assessment services for which they are competent. Counsellors must not allow the use of psychological assessment techniques by unqualified persons under their supervision.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Two (SP-32): Appropriate Use of Assessment Instruments: Counsellors must use assessment instruments in the manner for which they were intended.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Three (SP-33): Assessment Explanations to Clients: Counsellors must provide explanations to clients about all financial analyses to be performed prior to the analysis. Explanations should include the nature of and purpose of the analyses.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Four (SP-34): Recipients of Test Results: Counsellors must ensure that accurate and appropriate interpretations accompany any release of testing and assessment information.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Five (SP-35): Obsolete Tests and Outdated Test Results: Counsellors must not base their assessment or intervention decisions or recommendations on data or test results that are obsolete or outdated for the current purpose.

Section F: Teaching, Training and Supervision

Standard of Practice Thirty-Six (SP-36): Sexual Relationships with Students or Supervisees: Counsellors must not engage in sexual relationships with their students and supervisees.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Seven (SP-37): Credit for Contributions to Research: Counsellors must give credit to students or supervisees for their contributions to research and scholarly projects.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Eight (SP-38): Supervision Preparation: Counsellors who offer clinical supervision services must be trained and prepared in supervision methods and techniques.

Standard of Practice Thirty-Nine (SP-39): Evaluation Information: Counsellors must clearly state to students and supervisees in advance of training the levels of competency expected, appraisal methods, and timing of evaluations. Counsellors must provide students and supervisees with periodic performance appraisal and evaluation feedback throughout the training program.

Standard of Practice Forty (SP-40): Peer Relationships in Training: Counsellors must make every effort to ensure that the rights of peers are not violated when students and supervisees are assigned to lead counselling groups or provide clinical supervision.

Standard of Practice Forty-One (SP-41): Limitations of Students and Supervisees: Counsellors must assist students and supervisees in securing remedial assistance when needed and must recommend dismissal from the training program for students and supervisees who are unable to provide competent service due to academic or personal limitations.

Standard of Practice Forty-Two (SP-42): Self-Growth Experiences: Counsellors who conduct experiences for students or supervisees that include self-growth or self-disclosure must inform participants of the counsellors’ ethical obligations to the student and must not grade participants based on conduct during such experiences.

Standard of Practice Forty-Three (SP-43): Standards for Students and Supervisees: Students and supervisees preparing to become counsellors must adhere to the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice of counsellors.

Section G: Research and Publication

Standard of Practice Forty-Four (SP-44): Precautions to Avoid Injury in Research: Counsellors must avoid causing physical, social, or psychological harm or injury to subjects in research.

Standard of Practice Forty-Five (SP-45): Confidentiality of Research Information: Counsellors must keep information obtained about research participants confidential.

Standard of Practice Forty-Six (SP-46): Information Affecting Research Outcome: Counsellors must report to the investigator all known variables and conditions that may have affected research data or outcomes.

Standard of Practice Forty-Seven (SP-47): Accurate Research Results: Counsellors must not distort or misrepresent research data, nor fabricate or intentionally bias research results.

Standard of Practice Forty-Eight (SP-48): Publication Contributors: Counsellors must give appropriate credit to those who have contributed to research.

Section H: Resolving Ethical Issues

Standard of Practice Forty-Nine (SP-49): Ethical Behaviour Expected: Counsellors must take appropriate action when they possess reasonable cause that raises doubts as to whether counsellors or other financial professionals are acting in an unethical manner.

Standard of Practice Fifty (SP-50): Unwarranted Complaints: Counsellors must not initiate, participate in, or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are unwarranted or intended to harm a financial professional rather than to protect clients or the public.

Standard of Practice Fifty-One (SP-51): Cooperation with Ethics Committees: Counsellors must cooperate with investigations, proceedings, and requirements of the CAFE® Professional Review Board or Appeals Committee and of other duly constituted associations or boards having jurisdiction over those charged with a violation.

CONTACT US

E: ConsumerSupport@financialfitness.ca

Text: 905-945-5644
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION
FOR FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
Formally the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS)

Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services

11-1155 North Service Rd W
Oakville, ON L6M 3E3

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