Services and Benefits

Steps Forward

A lot has been happening here at Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada), [PSACC], so it is with great joy that I provide this update.

Promoting peer support as a valued and respected service offering is at the core of the PSACC Mission. All activities related to certification, research, and conferences continue to maintain that focus and align with the national Standards of Practice.

National Conference on Peer Support 2016 – LEADING RECOVERY

Our next National Conference on Peer Support (NCPS) will be April 27 – 29, 2016 at the Marriott Toronto Eaton Centre with the theme of Leading Recovery. Keynotes include Pat Capponi (Peer Support and Mental Health Advocate), Ian Dawe (Physician-in-chief and recovery champion of Ontario Shores Mental Health Sciences), Silken Laumann (Author and Olympian), and greetings from Michael Wilson (new Chair of Mental Health Commission of Canada).

Our Call for Papers resulted in double the number of submissions required to fill planned seminar spots. There were so many great topics and discussions being proposed that we rearranged the schedule to allow for over 40 presentations with each a minimum of 1 hour. It is obvious that the passion for peer support, and the interest in this conference is continuing to grow. We look forward to matching the SOLD-OUT status of our last conference in Halifax in April 2014.

Watch your email over the next few weeks as conference registration will soon be opening. For more information on sponsorships or exhibiting, contact us at: NCPS(at)

Certification of Peer Supporters

Our first Certified Peer Supporters (CPS) were honoured last Spring in Halifax.[2] Since that time, we have continued our work in Nova Scotia while also beginning to work with some peer support groups and individuals from BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

Growing the base of PSACC certified peer supporters and peer support mentors across Canada is our goal, however we must respect the need to grow strategically and at a pace that is sustainable. We therefore have accepted only a small group of applicants to date and are carefully proceeding through the certification process with these applicants. PSACC is happy to answer questions and discuss the certification process, but we are careful to follow the old adage of learning to walk before running.

As with any service there are costs related to the certification process, and therefore a certification fee has been set. We are fully aware of the risk of financial barriers for prospective applicants and peer support organizations, and are therefore committed to sourcing funds to provide assistance. In this regard, a volunteer funding group has been struck, with Board leadership, to actively seek financial support for PSACC in general and for a certification bursary program in particular. This is the primary reason why PSACC has become a charitable organisation and we are hoping that we are able to support those peer supporters who cannot afford the full costs of certification as soon as we can secure funding.

To discuss the possibility of peer supporters from your organization becoming certified contact Kim Sunderland at: Kim.Sunderland(at)

Training Support

As most of you know, PSACC does not offer peer support training, however we have created a resource document that details the knowledge component of the Standards of Practice. The Knowledge Matrix is a pragmatic and useful tool that can be used by training organizations or peer support programs to audit their training program and ensure that all knowledge topics required to successfully complete the PSACC examination are covered.

To see an example of the Knowledge Matrix or to purchase and download a copy go to:


Our research and program evaluation activities continue to develop. Dr. Jill Grant, University of Windsor, became PSACC’s lead researcher mid-way through the year in 2014. Jill has a history of peer-based research and is excited to work towards defining the social return on investment related to peer support.

Thank you to our Volunteers

Volunteerism is a mainstay of our progress and we thank the contribution of each person who has played, or continues to play, a role in building PSACC. Thank you to all who support the promotion of peer support across Canada by contributing effort, knowledge, skills, enthusiasm, and/or positive word-of-mouth. We hope to see you all in Toronto next April!

Best regards,
Kim Sunderland
Executive Director, Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada)

[1] The email address is noted in this manner, with (at) rather than the @ symbol, to reduce the possibility of automated junk mail.

[2] Download the Certification Handbook for FREE from for more information about the Standards of Practice and the PSACC certification process. While we ask for some demographic information there is no fee to download the Certification Handbook.