The Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) and the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) have signed a memorandum of agreement that will include a national study on the value of Information Systems Professional of Canada (ISP) designation. CIPS hands out the designation to members who get 1,000 hours of professional work a year and pay its fees. Though there are over 500,000 people working in the information and communications technology sector according to the Information and Communications and Technology Council, there are only 1,500 ISPs in Canada today. CIPS has 6,000 members in total.“It’s an alignment of talent and resources,” said Kevin Wennekes, vice-president of research for CATA in Ottawa.

Through the study, CIPS hopes they will come to a better understanding of how Canadian companies differentiate between technical certifications (such as those software vendors hand out) and professional certifications (such as the ISP), said CIPS’s president, John Boufford in Ottawa.

CATA will encourage its members, which include companies and individuals, to hire ISPs, though it hasn’t done so until now, Wennekes said.

“We would make that one of our key messages, that employers would look at hiring that designation. It’s clear that they do set a better standard,” he said.

There are already employers who favour ISPs, Boufford said, adding that he knows of three in Alberta alone.

CIPS-certified professionals must assess and mitigate risk, commit to career-long professional development and keep current, Boufford said. They must also place the public interest above all else, he said. “In other words, do no harm.”

CIPS and CATA will also work together to look at how Canada can become more innovative, Wennekes said.

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