Memorandum of Understanding (Revised) for Concurrent CPA/APA Accreditation - January 17, 2008

On September 30, 2007, a revision of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) for concurrent accreditation of doctoral and internship training programmes in professional psychology received assent.  The necessity for a revision of the MoU became apparent on February 16, 2007, when the Council of Representatives of the APA voted to cease accrediting doctoral and internship programmes in Canada.

The central goal in revising the MoU was to clearly outline for programmes the timelines and process of phasing out CPA/APA concurrent accreditation.  Both accrediting bodies have agreed to continue with concurrent accreditation until September 1, 2015, at which point all APA terms of accreditation in Canada will expire.  This means that current programmes with CPA/APA accreditation can continue, if they so choose, to re-apply for concurrent accreditation up to September 1, 2015.

For students intending to apply to doctoral or internship programmes that currently have CPA/APA accreditation, please enquire with the programme director prior to application to determine the programme's actual term of accreditation and what the programme’s intentions are regarding continued concurrent accreditation.  Students are cautioned that accreditation is never guaranteed throughout the term of their studies.  Moreover, a programme must be accredited at the time the student completes the programme in order for the student to be able to declare that he/she graduated from an accredited programme.

As of January 1, 2008, the APA no longer accepts new applications for accreditation of Canadian programs.  Only Canadian programs accredited by the APA prior to January 1, 2008 have the option of applying to renew their CPA/APA accreditation up to September 1, 2015.  The logic behind the decision to sunset APA accreditation in Canada after seven years includes the following:

  • 7 years is the longest term of accreditation that either accrediting body can accord a program
  • 7 years is the approximate time-to-completion for training programs in Canada
  • maintaining the concurrent agreement until 2015 provides CPA and APA a platform for ongoing communication and an opportunity to continue developing means and mechanisms for international accreditation among partnering countries

The 2002 MoU between CPA and APA remains in effect until 2015.  An important procedure in the 2002 MoU has been that each accrediting body reaches an independent decision regarding accreditation of a program and the term of its accreditation.  If the accrediting bodies yield discrepant terms of accreditation, then the shorter of the two terms is accorded to the program.  As of January 1, 2008, this procedure for resolving discrepant terms will no longer be in effect.  Programs that re-apply for concurrent accreditation between 2008 and 2015 will be accorded two separate terms of accreditation, one from each accrediting body.  The term of accreditation accorded by APA, however, will terminate no later than 2015.  This means that, for example, if a CPA/APA accredited program applied for and was granted re-accreditation in 2010-11, the longest term of accreditation the program could receive from APA would be five years, but they could receive a seven-year term from CPA.

The CPA is committed to developing mechanisms and models for international accreditation.  It is CPA’s view that the move from one country accrediting internationally to countries uniting for the purposes of international accreditation is an important step forward for Canadian psychology and for psychology internationally.  With this move, the diverse and unique educational and health care contexts and training needs that exist within one country can truly be represented and responded to by systems of quality assurance.

The CPA initiated and has been participating in an International Accreditation Interest Group (IAIG), attended by professional psychology groups from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Australia.  It is our understanding that the APA is currently undertaking a review of all its international activities.  It is our hope that APA will be able to participate with us in developing international mechanisms of accreditation for professional psychology programs once this review is complete.

To view a complete copy of the revised MoU between the CPA and the APA, please click here.