Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 690–706 | Cite as

The Establishment of Core Competencies for Canadian Genetic Counsellors: Validation of Practice Based Competencies

  • Raechel Ann Ferrier
  • Mary Connolly-Wilson
  • Jennifer Fitzpatrick
  • Sonya Grewal
  • Laura Robb
  • Julie Rutberg
  • Margaret Lilley
  • CAGC Core Competencies Working Group
Genetic Counseling: A Global Perspective


Numerous groups of health professionals have undertaken the task of defining core competencies for their profession. The goal of establishing core competencies is to have a defined standard for such professional needs as practice guidelines, training curricula, certification, continuing competency and re-entry to practice. In 2006, the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) recognized the need for uniform practice standards for the profession in Canada, given the rapid progress of genetic knowledge and technologies, the expanding practice of genetic counsellors and the increasing demand for services. We report here the process by which the CAGC Practice Based Competencies were developed and then validated via two survey cycles, the first within the CAGC membership, and the second with feedback from external stakeholders. These competencies were formally approved in 2012 and describe the integrated skills, attitudes and judgment that genetic counsellors in Canada require in order to perform the services and duties that fall within the practice of the profession responsibly, safely, effectively and ethically.


Core competencies Practice based competencies Knowledge based competencies Genetic counselling 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors for supporting the creation, validation and adoption of the CAGC Core Competencies framework. We also thank all CAGC members and external stakeholders who reviewed draft versions of these competency statements and provided comments and feedback.


This paper is considered a process paper for the purpose of professional development and as such was determined to be exempt from our institution’s REB.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raechel Ann Ferrier
    • 1
  • Mary Connolly-Wilson
    • 2
  • Jennifer Fitzpatrick
    • 3
  • Sonya Grewal
    • 4
  • Laura Robb
    • 5
  • Julie Rutberg
    • 6
  • Margaret Lilley
    • 7
  • CAGC Core Competencies Working Group
  1. 1.Medical Genetic ServicesAlberta Health ServicesCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Provincial Medical Genetics ProgramEastern HealthSt. John’sCanada
  3. 3.Department of Human GeneticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.GeneticsNorth York General HospitalTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Montreal Heart InstituteMontrealCanada
  6. 6.University of Ottawa Heart InstituteOttawaCanada
  7. 7.Genetic Laboratory ServicesAlberta Health ServicesEdmontonCanada

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