Canadian Organization Accreditation
Canadian Organization Accreditation is the accreditation of social services provided by nonprofit, for-profit and public entities in Canada and involves the review of the entire organization including administrative operations and all services for which COA has an applicable standard.
For information about the meaning and value of accreditation, see the Accreditation Overview page.
- Four-year accreditation
- In-depth review of the organization’s services and administration and management functions
- User-friendly, online process
- Process typically takes 12-18 months
- An Accreditation Coordinator assists the organization through the process
- Standards and accreditation materials are free
Canadian Edition Services
- Child, Youth and Family Services
- Behavioral Health Services
- Aging Services
- Homeless Services
- Developmental Disabilities Services
- Residential Services
- Nonprofit, For-profit, and Public Agencies
- Additional Social Services
Timeline and Process
Most organizations are able to complete the entire accreditation process in 12-18 months. It is COA’s experience that this time frame provides sufficient opportunity for the active involvement of all parties—consumers, personnel, and stakeholders—and sufficient time for the organization to undergo growth-promoting change.
For a detailed look at the steps in the accreditation process, see part IV of the Accreditation Guidelines.
Standards for Canadian Organizations
The Standards for Canadian Organizations are divided into three parts:
- Administration and Management Standards
- Service Delivery Administration Standards
- Service Standards
Organizations must demonstrate implementation of both the Administration and Management and the Service Delivery Administration Standards because they encompass aspects of operations that apply to all organizations regardless of the services provided. Additionally, organizations must demonstrate implementation of specific Service Standards that reflect the services it provides.
COA’s standards are web-based and can be accessed at any time. View the standards.
COA makes a preliminary determination of eligibility after it receives a completed application from an organization.
Read COA’s Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Organizations.
The cost of accreditation varies based on an organization’s size and services. Fees associated with a four-year accreditation cycle include an application fee, accreditation fee, Site Visit costs, and maintenance of accreditation fees.
An organization that is mandated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development or Community Living British Columbia will have its fees paid directly by the Ministry.
Further Reading and Recommended Trainings
For more detail regarding the accreditation process, download and review the Accreditation Guidelines.
Understand the differences between COA and CARF to find the best accreditor for your organization.
For a comprehensive guide developed to assist organizations in learning the fundamentals of the accreditation process and COA standards, including links to recommended self-paced trainings and tools, download and review the COA Accreditation Learning Plan.
Request a Digital Info Kit
Interested in learning more? Request a digital info kit.
Rochelle Haimes, ACSW
Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Peer Reviewer; Standards Panel Member; Team Leader
Rochelle is a Consultant working with a variety of private organizations to become accredited. Her primary area of expertise is in facilitating the development of PQI systems and activities. Her previous experience with both small and large organizations is the cornerstone for her long-standing volunteer activities as a Peer reviewer and as a Team Leader.