Introduction to Competency-based Membership

Webinar  - Creating Your Membership Application Portfolio
POSTPONED to 7pm Thursday April 2nd, 2020


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For the past few years, the Canadian Avalanche Association has been laying the groundwork to establish a competency-based membership, with an emphasis on actively ensuring that members function in a manner that enhances the safety of people and resources in avalanche terrain. This change is fundamental to the CAA’s progression towards being a self-regulating association. The new membership model centres around a set of competency profiles, first released as drafts in 2014. The competency profiles and proficiency scale are snapshots of the minimum abilities required when entering two levels of membership:

  • Practitioner 1 (P1) (correlates most closely to our current Active membership);
  • Practitioner 2 (P2) (correlates most closely to our current Professional membership).

P1 and P1 are placeholders until new category names are voted upon and approved by membership. Until that time, successful membership applicants will be granted active or professional membership status accordingly.


The transition to the CAA’s new competency-based membership is being implemented as a series of changes over time.

Effects on existing members

Existing members will not face any new requirements this spring.


After new bylaws outlining competency-based membership are accepted by the membership, existing active and professional members will be transitioned directly into the P1 and P2 categories respectively.


Once the new bylaws are in effect, the CAA will evaluate revisions to the continuing professional development (CPD) program. The intent is to establish a flow from the competency requirements for new members through to the CPD requirements (and offerings) for existing members. The tentative timeline for these changes is 2021/2022. In the meantime, there are no changes to the CPD program and existing members do not need to reapply for membership status.


Effects on candidates applying for membership

New member candidates will be assessed against their applicable competency profile and proficiency scale using: 

  • Industry Training Program (ITP) courses;
  • CAA Introduction to Professionalism online course;
  • a workplace portfolio; and
  • the application process. 

The new application process is more time consuming than the existing process. However, the new process itself is a valuable learning tool that helps applicants better understand why the competencies are required and the role they play in their career.


Guidelines for Instruction in Avalanche Terrain (GIAT)

As the CAA developed its competency profiles, it was recognized there was a need to incorporate education into these competencies. In the interests of promoting public safety and defining industry best practices, the CAA has undertaken to create terrain guidelines to ensure instructors are working within their competencies and staying within terrain appropriate to their individual education and experience levels. After consulting with as many stakeholders as possible, a provisional version of the CAA Guidelines for Instruction in Avalanche Terrain is being developed and will be released soon. The CAA board envisions these guidelines becoming a requirement for the 2020-21 season.


Voluntary Competency-based Application Process


Until members vote on the new bylaws at the 2020 AGM, applicants for active and professional membership have the option to use the existing application process, or a voluntary competency-based application process. Volunteering to use the competency-based process will help the CAA fine tune staffing and committee procedures before the new categories become standard.


The first 15 successful active and professional applicants who complete the competency-based process before the 2020 AGM will receive a Convey Hooded IN Jacket from CAA Premier Partner: Mammut, as a thank you for their help.


*Applications must be submitted and fully completed by 11:59pm April 20th, 2020 in order to be eligible for receiving a jacket. Receipt of a jacket will depend on the number of applications submitted and the time required by the Membership Committee to clarify any details in your application. 

The Mammut Convey Hooded IN jacket is a light, warm piece that is the perfect mid-layer for cold skiing conditions. With Pertex(r) Quantum material with PFC-free DWR treatment, this jacket is great as an outer layer on cold, dry days. It is filled with 700 fill power recycled down.


Learn more about the voluntary competency-based application!






If you have any questions, please contact the CAA competency project team.


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