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What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a process that evaluates whether an organization or program meets a set of quality standards in the provision of specific services. Unlike certification, which assesses individuals employed in a given field, 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?

In addition to ensuring that best practices are being implemented and thereby improving standards and services across the entire continuum of care, accreditation also:

  • 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

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.

Learn about certification for individuals.