Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification that focuses on schools and programs in a particular field. Accreditation of nursing and allied health schools and programs therefore assures international students and their parents that a Canadian school adheres to high quality standards. This means the school's programs are delivered by qualified faculty and are constantly updated to follow the changes and meet the needs of the working world. Attending an accredited school or program is therefore often thought to make you more competitive in the job market.
Canada does have a national accrediting board for nursing schools. While there is no Canadian accrediting body for allied health in general, within the various fields that fall under the heading of allied health there are a number of specific accrediting bodies that you can look for in fields such as kinesiology, pharmacy, occupational therapy and music therapy. International students can also check to see if a school or program has any memberships in, or endorsements by, discipline-specific professional associations which reflect certain standards of quality, but this is not the same as official accreditation.
Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN)
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
CASN is the national accrediting body for undergraduate nursing programs in Canada.
Some program-specific accreditation bodies
Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy programs (CCAPP): Established in 1993, CCAPP accredits university Pharmacy programs in Canada.
Accreditation council for Canadian Physiotherapy Academic Programs (ACCPAP): Established in 2000, ACCPAP assures the quality of university physiotherapy education in Canada through a comprehensive program of accreditation.
Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT): CAMT approves university degree programs in music therapy and, with their trademrked credential of Music Therapist Accredited (MTA), also designates individual music therapists who have completed the accreditation process.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the education provided meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are educational associations of regional, national or international scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency.