Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit information for continuing education credits?

The first step is to go to the website and determine if the course is listed as one that has been pre-approved. If the course has already been approved, only a signed attendance verification form needs to be submitted. If the course has not been pre-approved, a brief biography of the speaker, an agenda or outline of the course, seminar, or workshop and a signed attendance verification form is necessary.

How many continuing education hours do I need to maintain my RRP or RCSS designation?

A total of 100 hours of approved continuing education over a five year period is required to maintain the RRP designation. Of the 100 hours, 10 must be ethics-based. The requirement for the RCSS designation is 50 hours, with 5 hours of ethics education.

Can I transfer my membership to someone else?

Memberships are non-transferable. Anyone wishing to benefit from a VRA Canada membership can apply quickly and easily here.

When is my membership renewal due?

VRA Canada membership must be renewed annually. The membership renewal period begins October 31st and ends on December 31st of each year. A late fee is applied for memberships received after December 31st.

How is Professional practice defined?

The following components must exist in order for a field of practice to be defined as a Profession:

Over its 45 years, the VRA has successfully established all of these components to make vocational rehabilitation a profession in Canada.

What is the vocational rehabilitation professional association most widely accepted in Canada?

The Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada is the oldest and most acknowledged Professional Association for the field in this country.

Is the Vocational Rehabilitation field regulated?

The field is self-regulated. This means that the members working in the field have opted to pursue a voluntary College of Practice, the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals (CVRP) that holds us accountable to our clients, customers and the public at large. Registration with the College is not mandatory but it is encouraged.

What is the working relationship between the VRA and CVRP?

Since the Association is about the membership and the College is about protecting the public, both parties must be careful about any interaction between the two bodies. They must be seen to be independent and impartial. Having said that, the two bodies are working together to ensure that their roles and responsibilities remain unique, that areas of overlap are eliminated and that respective processes are simplified for the benefit of our constituents.

How long has the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada (VRA) been in existence?

The Association’s Articles of Incorporation are dated May 7, 1970 giving it 45 years of longevity. If you have suggestions for how we might celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2020 please let us know at info@vracanada.com.

Does the Association exist for the members or to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities?

The VRA is a Professional association. Its mandate is to support its members through guidance and advice, promotion, education, insurance, research and other valuable membership services. It advocates for its members who in turn may “advocate” for people with disability.

Has the Association always been known as the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada?

No. The Association was first incorporated as the Canadian Association of Rehabilitation Personnel (CARP) and the first designation was Accredited Rehabilitation Worker (ARW). In the 1990s, the name changed to the Canadian Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and the designation changed to Accredited Rehabilitation Professional. Eventually we became the Vocational Rehabilitation Association with new and stronger credentials of Registered Rehabilitation Professional (RRP), Registered Vocational Professional (RVP) and Registered Community Support Specialist (RCSS).

Has the Canadian Assessment, Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment Society always been under the umbrella of the VRA?

No. In the 1980s several Assessment professionals opted to form their own professional association, the Canadian Association for Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment (CAVEWA). Although CAVEWA was highly successful and respected, the membership voted to reunite with the VRA to enhance its operations through economies of scale and to focus more on outcomes and less on administration. CAVEWA became the first functionally based Society of the VRA and remains so to this day.

Why do some of the VRA members have CCRC after their names?

VRA Canada opted in the early 1990s to strengthen their credentialing process. The Association, not wanting to start from scratch, decided to approach the Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certification (CRCC) for support. After much deliberation, VRA adopted the Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor (CCRC) credential for Canada. VRA members could sit an exam to earn this credential and collect CEUs over 5 years to maintain the credential.

Several years later, for financial and administrative reasons, the Commission and VRA decided to withdraw support for introducing new professionals to this credential. Those who were already awarded the CCRC continue to carry the initials and maintain their credential.  CCRC members report directly to the Commission.

Why do some of the VRA members have CVE after their names?

Members specializing in “Assessment” opted to seek out the Certified Vocational Evaluator (CVE) credential through the Commission on Certification of Work Adjustment and Vocational Evaluation Specialists (CCWAVES). These members were again required to sit an exam and maintain their credential through CEUs. CCWAVES has since disbanded, passing responsibility for maintenance of the credential over to the Commission (CRCC).  CVE members report directly to the Commission.

How is the VRA governed?

The VRA has 3 specific documents that it must consider in all decision-making and strategic planning processes:

  • The Canadian Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA)
  • Its Articles of Incorporation and Continuance documents under the CNCA
  • Its By-laws.

Due diligence reporting is through Industry Canada.

What is the VRA’s internal structure for decision-making?

The VRA has an elected Board of Directors representative of the provincial and functional Societies. Positions include President, President Elect / Past President and Liaison positions between the VRA and College. There is also a Board Designated Representative, a paid position responsible for communications, promotion and Board guidance and advice.

How is the Association managed?

The VRA purchases the services of an association management company responsible for membership, education, conference and finance. Its role is to manage the day to day operations of the Association and to implement Board decisions.

The Association also purchases the services of a VR professional organization responsible for communications such as the Bulletin and Rehab Matters, marketing, and overall membership and other stakeholder development and relationship building.

Is there an overall strategy for the Association?

In December 2015 the Board of Directors approved a “Strategic Direction” for the organization. It is a 5-year program supported by an operational document of time lines and assignments.

What is the VRA doing for its members?

The VRA has both services and products. The services include:

  • Providing career guidance and development
  • Promoting and representing members
  • Developing business / contract opportunities
  • Providing VR marketing materials
  • Encouraging best practice research
  • Providing professional credibility (designations)
  • Building government and community relations
  • Responding to government consultations
  • Providing professional and ethical guidance and advice
  • Providing expert and legal opinion and advice
  • Presenting job opportunities
  • Maintaining a membership directory
  • Providing member support / answering inquiries
  • Providing a student scholarship program
  • Offering networking opportunities
  • Supporting a community of practice
  • Providing peer support
  • Simplifying internal and external processes
  • Collaborating with other stakeholders for additional financial and product benefits
  • Offering single source service

The products on offer include:

  • Liability insurance
  • MVA insurance
  • Extended health insurance
  • Education and training
  • Support with credential exam preparation
  • Reports on best practice research
  • National conference
  • Education days
  • Education features
  • Rehab News / Voice / E-Blasts
  • Glossary of terms
  • Annual disability data reports
  • Business case formats / guidance
  • Case scenarios / examples
  • Cost benefit analysis templates
  • Policy templates
  • Models, diagrams, tools
  • Reading lists / bibliographies
  • Website / profile support

Is there an opportunity for me to contribute to the Association?

Definitely. You can:

  • Participate in conferences/education days; suggest speakers
  • Take VRA sponsored training
  • Advise on any upcoming external conferences, seminars, plenaries, webinars, etc. so other members can also benefit
  • Share research findings / Conduct new research
  • Share best practice
  • Develop and deliver curriculum
  • Respond to VRA surveys
  • Participate on Committees / Offer up special skills
  • Write for Rehab Matters
  • Prepare book reports
  • Promote the VRA to others (share brochures, pens)
  • Report on upcoming promotional opportunities
  • Provide details on potential new members / groups
  • Share local, regional or federal government initiatives
  • Sponsor events
  • Sponsor student scholarships
  • Sponsor the development of products and tools
  • Offer to be part of the peer mentorship program
  • Offer suggestions / be constructive / be patient during change / function professionally and ethically

How do I go about contributing to Rehab Matters?

Contact the Editor of the magazine at kat.abraham@kmghp.com. She will provide you with the details you need to write articles and she can suggest other ways in which you can participate. Your involvement is worth CEUs.

Are there VRA committees in need of volunteers?

There are several committees looking for support. They include:

  • Membership
  • Education
  • Student Advisory
  • Information Management (IT)
  • Government Relations
  • Community Relations
  • Research and Development
  • National Conference

Again, your active involvement will generate CEUs. Should you wish to participate, contact info@vracanada.com.

What other ways can I gain CEUs in addition to attendance at events, contributing to Rehab Matters or participating in a committee?

You can gain CEUs by:

  • Completing a book report
  • Developing and delivering curriculum
  • Speaking at a conference
  • Mentoring a student or individual new to the field
  • Conducting research
  • Answering quizzes from various locations, like Rehab Matters
  • Writing a summary on activities you have engaged in outside of the VRA but related to the VRA.

To suggest other ways of contributing, please contact continuinged@vracanada.com.

I am a Disability Manager. Could I be a member of the VRA?

If you function within the Vocational Rehabilitation Scope of Practice in any capacity, you can be a member of the VRA. This includes Disability Managers, Career Counsellors, Career Developers, Life Care Planners, Ergonomists, etc. Basically, if you are working with people with disabilities and the focus is employment and / or engagement in the community for quality of life, you are welcome to join the VRA. Others who supervise or educate individuals providing services and researchers in the field can also be members of the VRA.

What are the levels of membership and, if new to the organization, where would I start?

The levels of membership are:

  • Student – student in post-secondary education studies in a field related to the Association
  • Associate – those Members who are gaining work or educational experience to qualify for their Professional Member status or those Members who have joined the Association to access networking or educational opportunities
  • Professional – those Members who hold the designation of Fellow, RRP, RVP, RCSS, MCVP, CVP, CCRC, CRC, CVE, CCVE, or another designation approved by the Board from time to time
  • Fellow – the highest level of recognition for members of the Association. It is bestowed upon a member on occasion by the National Board of Directors in recognition of outstanding service and contributions. Recipients are long-serving individuals who have continually worked for the advancement of the profession, the Association and the membership. They have served above and beyond expectations and are rewarded with recognition as a Fellow and with a lifetime membership
  • Retired – those members who have retired from the profession but who want to remain in touch and retain their professional status

Individuals usually join as a student, if that is their status, or as an Associate. Once you meet the criteria for a designation (RRP, RVP or RCSS), you can submit an application. If approved and you pay the difference in membership fee, you automatically become a Professional member.

Can you be a Professional member without having an RRP, RVP or RCSS designation?

Yes. If you have a CCRC, Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor (CRC), CVE or the new Canadian Certified Vocational Evaluator (CCVE) credential you are also accepted as a Professional member. If you are credentialed through the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals (CVRP), you would be a Professional member of the VRA. That does not mean you automatically are approved for the RRP, RVP or RCSS though. You would still need to apply for those designations.

I want to apply for a VRA designation and I meet all requirements. The Guide indicates that one of my references should be someone with a VRA credential. I do not know anyone with a VRA credential who could provide a reference. What should I do?

The Guide actually stipulates “where applicable, one (1) letter of reference should be requested from a current manager/supervisor and the remaining reference must be requested from a rehabilitation professional that currently holds the RRP, CCRC, CRC, or CVE designation(s). Where an applicant does not know or has not worked with another professional member, a letter of explanation should accompany application.” It is not always possible to access a credentialed reference who meets other reference requirements. That is why we state “where applicable” and provide the option of an explanation through a written letter.

I am applying for a VRA designation. I graduated from university in 1986. The course curriculum has changed since then so I am not able to cut and paste from the website to support my core competency course work. What should I do?

You can do one of four things:

  • Often courses change title but not content. Check the university website to see if the content is listed under another course and cut and paste that.   It may have moved to a different faculty altogether.
  • Check back to any hard or soft copies of your school documents to see if you have any details about your courses there or any assignments you completed that may demonstrate the competency.
  • Write a brief description yourself about the course you took and how it relates to the core competency. The reviewers will cross reference to your transcripts to confirm that you successfully completed the course and may contact you for further details or clarification.
  • Delay your designation application until you have completed the core competency courses required. Check the VRA website for university or college programs that might help you with this activity.

My designation application is ready for submission. What is the best way to send it?

You can now complete your application for a designation online. Your references, resume, job description, course details, etc., can be uploaded to link with your application. Once ready, push “submit” and everything will be directed to the VRA office. You will be sent a confirmation of receipt.

Processing of your application does not begin until all documentation, including university or college transcripts are on file and the designation application fee is paid. Please allow for 2 weeks for processing of your application once all products have been received and payment is processed. Applications will be processed on a first come, first serve basis regardless of the urgency.

How do I submit my university or college transcripts so they become part of my application?

The university or college should be asked to send your transcripts directly to the VRA Renfrew office by mail. The office will open the mail and marry your transcripts up with your application. The application will then be sent electronically to the reviewer(s) for processing.

Do I get charged the designation application fee if my application is denied?

Yes. This is a fee for administering the application. Reviewing applications is time consuming and administratively heavy, hence the fee. This is, however, a once only charge.

I have just received notice that it is membership renewal time. What is the difference between membership renewal and designation renewal?

All members must renew their membership every year. Membership renewal at an “early bird” discount usually starts November 1 and ends December 31. Membership renewal continues until February 28th at the regular fee rate. If you have not renewed by February 28th, your membership and your designation may be revoked.

Designation renewals (RRP, RVP, RCSS) occur every 5 years. Your designation renewal date is the day on which you originally achieved and paid for designation status and is found on the bottom right corner of your certificate. To renew your designation, you must achieve the required number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within that 5-year period.

How many CEUs do I need to renew my designation?

  • If you have your RRP designation, you need 100 CEUs, 10 of which are in ethics.
  • For RVP you need 50 CEUs, 30 CEUs must be directly related to the area of vocational/employment and career services/training.
  • For RCSS you need 50 CEUs.

How will I know if a workshop, seminar conference or in-service training session I attend is considered pre-approved for continuing education?

Many organizations seek pre-approval of their educational session(s). When registering you can ask the sponsor directly or when the session is complete the sponsor will provide participants with an Attendance Verification Form (AVF) with an approval number on it. Alternatively, you can check the website to see if the event is listed as pre-approved. To receive credit, upload the AVF received at the event to your profile on the website. If you run into difficulties, contact continuinged@vracanada.com.

I am planning to attend a conference next month but do not see it listed as a pre-approved program on the VRA website. I would like the event to be considered for CEUs. What should I do?

Send the following details immediately to continuinged@vracanada.com:

  • The request for pre-approval form
  • The event title, dates and times
  • The agenda or schedule for the event
  • A brief description of the event and each session
  • Bios of the speakers
  • What domain you think the event is aligned with
  • An indication of any ethics component
  • The contact or sponsor for the event
  • The website link for the event.

Alternatively, you could ask the sponsoring organization to submit these details directly to the VRA at continuinged@vracanada.com.

The VRA will review the submission and will provide the sponsoring organization with the AVF. We will also list the event on the approved CEU database for other members to reference and we may advertise the event so other members may benefit. Depending on the sponsor and our relationship with them, the VRA may charge them a fee for listing their event on our website.

Once you have attended the event, upload your AVF to your profile on the website.

What is considered to be proof of attendance for events?

Proof of attendance is considered to be any of the following:

  • Certificate of Completion
  • Letter from the sponsor (on letterhead) verifying your attendance, which includes date(s) of program, title of session and number of hours
  • VRA Canada Attendance Verification form
  • A copy of transcripts when completing a university or college course.

Can I get continuing education credits for activities that are not pre-approved?

Yes, continuing activity that satisfies the Designation Approved Focus/Content Area can be submitted for post-approval. The procedure is outline in the Continuing Education Process Guide.

If I acquire more than 100 hours in a five-year period, can I apply the excess hours to the next renewal cycle?

No, since continuing education is intended to keep the rehabilitation professional current with emerging trends and technology, credits may ONLY be applied to the current registration period.

Is there an advantage to submitting my continuing education units more often than on an annual basis?

Yes, it helps keep track of how many continuing education credits you have accumulated and how many hours are still needed to renew your registration.

Whose responsibility is it to track my CEUs?

Professionally, it is your responsibility. We have automated the system in order to make this easier for you. Once you upload your CEUs to your profile, you can reference and print a CEU report as often and whenever you want. It is recommended that you review this at least annually so there are no surprises come designation renewal time.

What should I do if I am having technical difficulty in uploading my CEUs?

Try a second time. If the problem persists, contact info@vracanada.com.

What should I do if I notice inaccuracies in my website profile?

If it is something to do with your contact details, “edit” your profile. If it is an issue you have no online control over, contact the VRA office at info@vracanada.com.