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Certification Program Handbook - Level I
- Introduction to the Certification Program
- Certification Program Overview
- Other Considerations
- Appendix A - Enrolment Form - Level I
- Appendix B - Record of Learning - Level I
- Appendix C - Application for Professional Designation - Level I
- Appendix D - Guidelines for preparing the Candidate Achievement Record - Level I
- Appendix E - Candidate Achievement Record - Level I
- Appendix F - Knowledge and Experience Requirements - Level I
Introduction to the Certification Program
Federal employees working in procurement and materiel management can now obtain a professional designation through a government-wide certification program launched in 2006 by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). The program is a component of the TBS Professional Development and Certification Program for the Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Communities. For more information, visit the Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Communities Management Office.
TBS developed the certification program in collaboration with stakeholders including federal departments, agencies and central agencies, professional designation-granting bodies, professional institutes, and bargaining agents. Oversight and overall management of the program rests with the TBS Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Communities Management Office.
The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the certification program. Supported by a Review Panel, it also acts as the certification body by providing an independent and impartial assessment of candidates' qualifications against the requirements outlined in the CGSB-192.1-2005 standard, Competencies of the Federal Government Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Community (accessible to federal government employees only).
The program certifies two professional designations - Certified Federal Specialist in Procurement (CFSP) and Certified Federal Specialist in Materiel Management (CFSMM). Each designation has three certification levels - Levels I, II and III - that correspond to the proficiency levels in CGSB-192.1-2005. Level I is described further in this handbook. Levels II and III are currently under development.
The designation obtained through certification provides proof of professional qualifications that meet the highest requirements of the CGSB-192.1-2005 standard. A professional designation signals to employers that the employee is a skilled professional who can perform effectively in today's increasingly complex work environment. Certification is intended to provide federal employees with a competitive edge for pursuing1 career opportunities in procurement or materiel management.
To become eligible for certification, an employee must meet the program requirements for training, experience and knowledge. The Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Communities Management Office reserves the right to periodically review and modify the professional requirements in order to reflect changing business needs.
This handbook outlines the five-step process to attain Level I certification, explains information pertaining to maintenance and certification renewal requirements, and provides the required process forms.
About the Canadian General Standards Board
The Canadian General Standards Board is a Government of Canada organization that is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. It offers a variety of programs and services in standards development and certification to the public and private sectors, in Canada and internationally. For more information about the CGSB, or to access this publication on line, visit the CGSB Web site.
Certification Program Overview
The Certification Program is made up of three elements: experience, training and knowledge.
You must demonstrate that you meet ten competencies of the CGSB-192.1-2005 standard, Competencies of the Federal Government Procurement, Materiel Management and Real Property Community. You must also have three years of public sector experience in procurement or materiel management, including two at the federal level.
You must complete mandatory and elective training courses, or obtain equivalencies when possible. The complete list of courses is available on the CGSB Web site.
You must pass a Knowledge Exam.
To attain the designation of Certified Federal Specialist in Procurement (CFSP), or Certified Federal Specialist in Materiel Management (CFSMM), an employee must complete the following five-step process.
Step 1: Enrol in the Certification Program
Enrolment allows you to plan the activities you need to undertake to meet the requirements for Level I certification. The information must be submitted to the Personnel Certification Division, CGSB. CGSB is responsible for storing employee submissions to the certification program. For further information, see Disclosure and Confidentiality.
A. Enrolment Package
You must submit the following:
Enrolment Form (Appendix A)
You are required to provide personal information, the professional designation you will be pursuing, and the year that you expect to submit an application for Level I certification. You and your supervisor or manager, authorized under Section 32, Financial Administration Act must sign the form. An authorized representative under Section 32 is someone who has the authority to provide the necessary opportunities and support, including funding, to enable you to meet all the requirements for certification.
Record of Learning (Appendix B)
You must provide personal information and information on your training status. For each listed mandatory or elective course, indicate if you have completed the course, are requesting an equivalency, or the fiscal year in which you will be taking the course. You and your authorized representative, supervisor or manager, must sign the Record of Learning to affirm that the statements and information are true and correct. The complete list of mandatory and elective training courses and equivalencies is available on the CGSB Web site.
Course Equivalency Documentation
You may qualify for equivalencies on some of the course requirements by requesting acknowledgment of prior training, work experience or a combination of both.
For each requested equivalency, you need to submit:
- a copy of your course certificate (or other proof of attendance) if you have taken a course that has been pre-approved as a full equivalency; or
- a Course Equivalency Form if you are requesting an equivalency based on a demonstration of knowledge or experience.
The pre-approved full equivalency courses, Course Equivalency Forms and detailed guidance information are available on the CGSB Web site.
One Candidate Achievement Form (Appendix D and Appendix E)
The Candidate Achievement Record is an assessment tool for evaluating your experience and achievements for ten Level I core and functional competencies outlined in CGSB-192.1-2005. The Candidate Achievement Record consists of ten Candidate Achievement Forms, generally one for each competency.
You will benefit from drafting a Candidate Achievement Form using the guidelines in Appendix D as the CGSB will review the sample and provide feedback to help you better complete the nine remaining forms required at step 2.
Step 2: Complete the Training Requirements and the Candidate Achievement Record
You must attend the courses required by the program for your chosen certification stream and submit a proof of completion to the CGSB in order to update your Record of Learning. Alternatively, you may obtain course equivalencies where applicable. The complete list of mandatory and elective training courses and equivalencies is available on the CGSB Web site.
You also need to complete and submit the nine remaining Candidate Achievement Forms that make up your Candidate Achievement Record. Completing the Candidate Achievement Record will help you self-evaluate to ensure that you meet the requirements of the competencies or that you will be able to meet them before submitting your Application for Professional Designation.
Step 3: Apply for the Professional Designation
A. Application Package
After completing steps 1 and 2, you may apply for professional designation as either a Certified Federal Specialist in Procurement (CFSP) - Level I or a Certified Federal Specialist in Materiel Management (CFSMM) - Level I.
You must submit the following documents:
Application for Professional Designation (Appendix C)
All requests for professional designation begin with the submission of the Application for Professional Designation. With this application you demonstrate that you meet the Level I experience and training requirements outlined in the Certification Program Overview. You and an authorized representative from your organization (supervisor or manager authorized under section 32 of the Financial Administration Act) must sign the form.
Application Fee (Appendix C)
The financial information required for the billing of the $250 application fee must be entered in Part B of Application for Professional Designation.
B. Evaluation of Application for Professional Designation
The CGSB will evaluate your application for completeness, accuracy and compliance with the requirements of CGSB-192.1-2005.
If the CGSB determines that you have met all the program requirements, it will forward your application and supporting documentation to the Review Panel for evaluation. The panel is made up of selected independent and impartial subject matter and learning experts who make recommendations to the CGSB on the eligibility of candidates.
The Review Panel will review the documentation and then confirm with the CGSB if you are eligible to take the Knowledge Exam.
Step 4: Take the Knowledge Exam
A. Exam Format and Content
The Knowledge Exam consists of 101 multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge in procurement or materiel management. For both exams the questions will cover the four phases of life cycle asset management: assessment and planning of requirements; acquisition; operations, use, maintenance and management; and disposal. A study guide has been developed to help you prepare for the exam.
B. Times and Locations
The CGSB will arrange with you the date, time, and location of the Knowledge Exam. You will have two and half hours to complete the exam. Including the time for administration purposes, an exam session will take approximately three hours. You will be asked to note any special needs on your Application for Professional Designation so that accommodations can be made, if required.
C. Passing and Failing
To pass you must correctly answer 75 of the 101 questions on the Knowledge Exam.
You are required to take and pass the Knowledge Exam within 24 months from the date your application was validated. Failure to do so will result in your application being deemed invalid. You may take the exam a maximum of three times within the prescribed timeframe. Upon successful completion, you may undertake Step 5 to maintain your professional designation.
If you receive a failing mark on your first attempt, you may retake the exam after a minimum wait time of three months.
If you fail the exam on the second attempt, you are required to wait six months before retaking the exam for the third and final time. If you fail the exam for the third time, you must wait 24 months after receiving the results before you can reapply for the professional designation (Step 3), and retake the Knowledge Exam (Step 4).
D. Obtaining a Professional Designation
If you have met the requirements in Steps 1 to 4, you will be granted the professional designation of Certified Federal Specialist in Procurement (CFSP) Level I or Certified Federal Specialist in Materiel Management (CFSMM) Level I. You will also receive a personal certification number and a certificate listing your professional designation and proficiency level. With your written permission, the CGSB will post your name, number, designation, level and date of certification on their Certified Personnel web page.
Step 5: Maintain the Professional Designation
Certificates are valid for five years from the effective date of the certificate. To maintain the Level I professional designation, you must obtain a minimum number of points by participating in training and other activities. You also may be required to take any courses that are developed in response to new policy or program requirements. You will be required to confirm your continued compliance prior to the end of the validity period.
B. Certification renewal
Ninety days before you need to be recertified, you will be sent a reminder notice by the CGSB to submit your completed five-year Maintenance Activity Report showing that you meet the activity schedule requirements. You may submit an application for certification renewal once you have accumulated the required number of activity points.
You must renew your certification no later than the expiry date printed on your current certificate. If you fail to renew certification by that date, or if you have not been unable to participate in the required number of maintenance activities due, for example to a leave of absence or temporary career change during the five-year period, you may submit a written request to take the Knowledge Exam at the current level of certification as a substitute.
The knowledge exam must be taken within 12 months of the date when the CGSB notifies you of your certification renewal requirement. If you do not pass the knowledge exam on your first attempt, you will be entitled to take the exam a second time. A second failure will result in suspension of your certification.
If you fail to renew your certification either by not completing the maintenance requirements or by not passing the substitute knowledge exam, then your certification will be suspended for up to one year from the original expiry date and you will not be able to use the designation.
In addition, if you do not plan to obtain certification Levels II or III, you will be required to participate in the Level I maintenance program, which includes documentation of learning activities through the application process every five years.
For more information, consult the Certification Application and Maintenance Handbook.
Failure to Meet Program Requirements
If you fail to meet the requirements described in this handbook within the specified time frames, your certification status will change as follows:
Suspension of certification occurs because of a continuing failure to meet the maintenance or certification renewal requirements.
Suspension means that your certification status has been rendered temporarily invalid. The invalidation of certification will remain in effect for a maximum of one year or until you take appropriate corrective action. During the suspension period, you must not use the designation.
After one year you may submit a new application for the same level of certification at which the invalidation occurred.
If the CGSB accepts the corrective action, your certification will be reinstated.
Revocation of Certification
The CGSB will revoke certification for any one of the following conditions. If you:
- are unable or unwilling to meet the maintenance or certification renewal requirements within one year;
- fail to carry out corrective actions required by the CGSB within one year;
- misrepresent your credentials;
- demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to respect the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service; or
- commit fraud or falsify documentation.
Revocation of certification means that you will no longer be certified. You will be required to return your certificate to the CGSB by mail or courier, your name will be removed from the CGSB Web site and you must no longer use the designation. If your certification is revoked for reasons a. through d., you must wait five years before reapplying to the program. If your certification is revoked because you committed fraud or falsified documents, you may not reapply to the program.
Voluntary Suspension or Withdrawal
You may voluntarily suspend your certification if you are, for example, on personal leave and are unable to meet the maintenance requirements. In this case, you must notify the CGSB in writing, indicating the time frame and reason. When you return to work, you must notify the CGSB so that your record for maintenance and certification renewal requirements can be amended to reflect the suspension period.
You may voluntarily withdraw at any time by submitting a written request to the CGSB. For example if you leave a materiel management or procurement function for another discipline, you might not be eligible to take part in the enrolment or maintenance activities required for certification.
Voluntary withdrawal means you are no longer considered enrolled in the certification program or certified, and must return your certificate(s).
Disclosure and Confidentiality
With your written permission, the CGSB will post on the CGSB Web site information on your certification status including your name, designation, level, and certification number and expiry date. As part of its ongoing certification activities, the CGSB will also provide information on the status of your certification to federal government managers.
Any information that you provide will be kept confidential, subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act, R.S. 1985, c. A-1 and the Privacy Act, R.S. 1985, c. P-21. In addition, Review Panel members who may have access to your personal information are bound by the Public Service Terms and Conditions of Employment Regulations and by the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.
Provision of the information requested on the forms is required in accordance with the Public Works and Government Services Act, sections 7, 15, 16 and 17 and the Order in Council P.C. 1998-657. The personal information collected will be used to administer your file for all matters related to your certification. If you refuse to supply the personal information on this form, your request for certification may be rejected. The information will be maintained in Personal Information Bank # PWGSC PPU 195 and it will be protected in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act. Under the Act, you have the right to request access and correct your personal information, if erroneous or incomplete. The information will be retained by the Department for two years following treatment, and then destroyed.
When Change Occurs
You must immediately notify the CGSB of any change in the information provided in your Enrolment Form and Application for Professional Designation, or of an inability to meet the program requirements. The CGSB will update your profile, assess any changes and inform you of any action you need to take.
If you fail to inform the CGSB of important changes, your application may be suspended or your certification may be suspended or revoked, as may be deemed appropriate.
You will be notified of any changes to the CGSB-192.1-2005 standard or program requirements, and given sufficient time to respond to the changes and to take any necessary action to ensure ongoing compliance with the program or the standard.
Complaints and Appeals
The CGSB has a mechanism for handling complaints, disputes and appeals about the certification process and the criteria used during certification. You can obtain these procedures by contacting the CGSB at the following addresses.
You may submit documents by:
Personnel Certification Division
Canadian General Standards Board
Personnel Certification Division
Canadian General Standards Board
- Courier or in person:
Personnel Certification Division
Canadian General Standards Board
11 Laurier Street
Place du Portage
Phase III, 6B1
Appendix A: Enrolment Form - Level I
Appendix B: Record of Learning - Level I
Appendix C: Application for Professional Designation - Level I
Appendix D: Guidelines for preparing the Candidate Achievement Record - Level I
Appendix E: Candidate Achievement Record - Level I
Appendix F: Knowledge and Experience Requirements - Level I
1 If you meet the requirements for both functional specialties, you may pursue professional designations in both. However, it is highly recommended that you complete one certification stream before starting the second.
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