“…A qualified workforce plays a vital role in the quality of care clients receive….
…Certification is recognized as a key activity that enhances the skills of addiction workers…
…Ongoing training and/or education is a requirement in the addictions field because of work complexity at the community level and the ongoing developments in the fields of prevention and treatment…
…With greater challenges and more diversity in services and programs, the capacity of service providers must also evolve. Specialized training, cultural competency, and multidisciplinary
training are becoming more important if not necessary to help inform the workforce of emerging addiction and mental health issues…”

Honouring Our Strengths:A Renewed Framework to Address Substance Use Issues Among First Nations People in Canada

Over the years, ICBOC has acquired unique insights and hand-on knowledge of the strengths and circumstances that characterize indigenous communities in Canada, as they confront the historical and current impacts of colonization. These impacts continue, through unresolved gaps in the social determinants of health – to generate a multitude of social, economic, political and environmental issues.

It is this knowledge and experience that has shaped the vision and mission of ICBOC, and its commitment to address these issues within a broader, more proactive and effective workforce capacity development model. ICBOC believes that the guiding principles and components of this unique and innovative model respond to the needs and aspirations of the Indigenous workforce, by providing a wholistic, pertinent and realistic professional development system.

The application of this model will bring us closer to the vision we share with the NNADAP program and many indigenous individuals and organizations: that of Indigenous communities benefiting from “…an abundance of valued, professionally certified, and culturally competent workers leading to healthy families and communities”.

ICBOC Indigenous Workforce Capacity Development Model

The goal of this model is to ensure that indigenous workers who provide services in a range of occupations spanning a continuum of care in the addictions, mental wellness and other unregulated allied health fields:

  • are recognized for their practical experience, knowledge, skills, professional attitude and cultural competence, at the point they are at in their career
  • can access professionally relevant, culturally competent and safe education and training
  • are encouraged and guided on their path to higher levels of personal and professional development.
  • are offered the opportunity to broaden the scope and the portability of their professional and cultural experience and practice through credentials that are recognized by other indigenous employers in other parts of the world

From its early beginnings as a provincial organization offering professional certification for NNADAP unregulated specialists in addictions counselling, ICBOC has evolved and now integrates a portfolio of certifications for the diverse occupations and positions within the NNADAP continuum of care defined in its renewed framework, including occupations addressing gaps in the social determinants of health.

The indigenous workforce providing services in the six areas of continuum of care envisioned in the Renewed Framework are employed in a variety of occupations and, within these occupations they occupy a range of positions, typically starting with entry level positions. ICBOC has developed and continues to develop professional certifications, with standards and requirements that define the competencies required to perform efficiently in these occupations and positions.

ICBOC certifications are available to NNADAP and other workers who provide a range services to individuals and families confronting addictions and mental wellness issues. The majority of ICBOC applicants and certified members work either in NNADAP residential treatment centres, in community-based health and social services or for other institutions or organizations in the health field.

It is to accomplish the objectives of our workforce capacity development model that our certification system always integrates both a vertical and an horizontal laddering structure.

ICBOC’s vertical laddering starts at a basic worker level, and offering opportunities to reach specialist levels, as more competencies are acquired through the accumulation of work experience and education/training.

ICBOC’s horizontal laddering allows workers who change job and wish to obtain a professional certification corresponding to their new occupation or position, to do so without having to start all over.

ICBOC will accept and transfer all the experience, qualifications, education and training matching the standards and requirements of the new certification, and already acquired when they were granted their previous certification with ICBOC.

ICBOC Indigenous Workforce Capacity Development Model