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Competence is a basic value

The complexity of some professional activities and the impact they can have on the public are key factors that determine whether a profession shall be governed by the Professional Code. The notion of protection of the public that underpins the professional system is especially evident in cases where there is a risk of prejudice to those using the services of a professional.

This is why competence is the fundamental value of the professional system. It is the essential qualification required of a person intending to practise activities regulated by the Professional Code.

The concept of professional competence

What is meant by competence? It usually refers to the knowledge and skills required to carry out activities. Today it is increasingly being associated with an individual’s capacity to integrate into a workplace, mobility and performance.

When competence is referred to in the sense of professional competence—in other words, in a context where there is a risk of prejudice—it assumes specific dimensions. Indeed, together with the knowledge and skills associated with a field, professionals must demonstrate the capacity to integrate and apply them in varied and complex situations in the service of a client or employer, and in such a manner as to prevent such persons from sustaining prejudice. Ethical and moral dimensions must then be considered in assessing needs and services. Competence so defined serves as the basis for the exercise of professional judgement.

The professional orders and competence

The professional orders are the guardians and promoters of professional competence. They have tools for ensuring the competence of their members. First, they establish standards regarding admission to the practice. Based on their knowledge of the context and content of the practice within the labour market, each of the orders establishes a set of training requirements and other conditions with the aim of satisfying the needs for a sound practice in which the risk of prejudice is minimized. Based on these set requirements, professional orders verify the competence and integrity of candidates to the profession and ensure they are maintained throughout that individual’s professional life.

Pursuant to their function, the 46 professional orders must be aware of the labour market situation, identify training needs with respect to the protection of the public, determine requirements, and certify the fulfillment of such requirements.. They are aware of the changes in the practice of a profession and take these into account as they set standards and supervise their members’ activities.