News | February 2021
An Update on the Continuing Education Guidelines:
Published Februrary 24, 2021
Consultation Follow-up and Next Steps
In May 2020 we launched a consultation on proposed new guidelines for licensees’ Continuing Education (CE) requirements. The guidelines and input from consultation were then considered by the voting members of Council in deciding whether to adopt or amend the guidelines, or take other action.
This article provides a summary of what we heard during consultation and what’s happening next.
About the Consultation
Consultation on the draft CE Guidelines indicated strong interest on the topic of continuing education. Based on the amount of feedback and questions we received, it was evident that insurance licensees and industry stakeholders wanted to be heard and provide input on this aspect of licensees’ practice requirements. In just over two months, we received nearly 4,600 responses from our licensees and stakeholders, either through email or surveys.
What We Heard
Overall, we identified a number of key themes in the feedback from licensees and other stakeholders:
- Licensees understand the importance of CE and are generally supportive.
- The draft CE Guidelines clearly outline the Insurance Council’s proposed CE program requirements.
- Licensees and stakeholders want more information about what is considered acceptable course content, and which courses are eligible.
- Licensees were supportive of changes that increased flexibility in meeting CE requirements.
- Licensees felt that CE requirements should recognize experience, additional designations through reductions in CE requirements.
- Licensees want more value, relevance and availability of CE courses.
In the consultation responses, licensees and industry stakeholders generally agreed with the importance of CE—that staying current with knowledge of insurance products and regulatory requirements supports good practice.
When it came to understanding CE program requirements, responses to the consultation indicated that the draft CE Guidelines were effective in outlining proposed CE requirements for licensees. However, the feedback also told us that licensees wanted more explanatory information about what is considered acceptable course content and eligible for CE credit.
Generally speaking, licensees supported changes that would add more flexibility to help them meet their CE requirements, such as carrying over CE credits to the next year and partial credit. However, the majority were not in favour of eliminating reductions to the amount of required CE credits for those with five or more years of experience or certain designations. Reasons most frequently given were licensees’ strong feelings that CE requirements should take into account the level of knowledge already acquired through additional education and on-the-job experience.
Consultation also highlighted licensee perceptions about the value, relevance and availability of courses eligible to meet the Insurance Council’s CE requirements. Many licensees indicated their willingness to participate in courses and other learning opportunities but felt there was a lack of available CE credit eligible courses that were of value to them, or diminishing returns from CE courses the longer an individual was licensed due to repetition.
These comments from licensees and stakeholders pointed to a number of areas in need of further clarification by the Insurance Council, in particular, increasing licensee awareness about what is eligible for CE credit. Various industry events, symposiums and courses may qualify for CE credit, but may not currently be claimed by licensees. As well, the absence of advertised course accreditation does not necessarily indicate that a course is ineligible for credit.
In considering licensees’ concerns about eliminating reductions to CE credit requirements for those with five or more years of experience or certain designations, members of Council had to weigh this input against the rationale for eliminating the reduction. Firstly, eliminating the CE reduction would create harmonization with other provincial jurisdictions, relevant to those registered in multiple jurisdictions. Secondly, because licensees can hold a licence without being active in the industry, a CE credit reduction based on number of years licensed would not adequately support public protection goals. Furthermore, where professional designations are concerned, since professional associations have varied CE requirements for their designations—and in some cases do not have any—broadly applying a reduction in CE credit requirements is problematic and does not establish a consistent amount of insurance-specific learning for all licensees.
Based on feedback received, we also noted that licensees wanted the implementation and deadline dates for CE program requirements to continue to align with the licence year, starting in June, rather than the proposed calendar year.
What’s Happening Next
The voting members of the Insurance Council have now considered the draft CE Guidelines as well as the feedback from consultation on the guidelines.
Following deliberation, Council voted to adopt the proposed CE Guidelines. The CE Guidelines will be brought into effect June 1, 2021. To address the input from licensees and stakeholders, implementation of the guidelines will continue to be aligned with the licence year, and will be supplemented with supporting programs and additional resources.
- Explanatory information about acceptable CE content. More information outlining what constitutes ‘Technical Content’ eligible for CE credit will be included in the finalized guidelines when they are published this spring.
- CE program resources. A video overview of CE requirements, a reference document on requirements, and a live webinar will be made available to licensees in late spring prior to the effective date of the new guidelines.
- Online CE recording tool. To make CE credit tracking easier, an online recording tool is being developed and will be available by late summer.
- CE events on regulatory topics. The insurance Council will be offering CE sessions on licensee responsibilities and other regulatory topics. A live webinar for new level 1 salespersons has already been launched, and will be followed by a webinar for new life agents, as well as other topics in future.
- CE course accreditation. To create more clarity about what courses are eligible for CE credit, the Insurance Council plans to introduce an accreditation system for CE courses and course providers. This is still in development and will involve stakeholder consultation as its next step.
More information about the roll out of the new CE guideline will be communicated via email and on our website over the coming months, along with other opportunities to learn more.
If you have questions about the new guidelines, or current CE requirements for this year, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 1-877-688-0321 (toll-free in Canada) or direct at 604-695-2008.
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Spring 2021 – Final CE Guideline Document and supporting information published and circulated to licensees.
Late Spring 2021 (April-May) CE Program Resources made available to support CE guideline launch.
May 31, 2021 – Licensees must meet current year’s CE credit requirements.
June 1, 2021 – New CE Guideline takes effect.
May 31, 2022 – Licensees must meet new CE Credit requirements.