Western Canada Competency Profile approved by four western provinces

Over the last year and a half, the Law Society of BC worked together with the law societies of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to identify and validate the competencies needed for entry to legal practice. This initiative resulted in the development of the Western Canada Competency Profile, which has been approved by the Law Societies of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The WCCP serves as a foundational document that will inform lawyer training and education, including bar admission program development and experiential learning opportunities in the coming years. It will also create a common benchmark for performance across all bar admission requirements that did not previously exist.

The WCCP is not being immediately implemented at this time. The WCCP is the first step in a larger initiative that will take time to fully implement, including determining where and how these competencies will be acquired and the appropriate methods of assessment.

No action is required from articling students or principals at this time. For the time being, students will not be assessed at the time of bar call based on the competencies listed in the WCCP, nor are principals responsible to integrate the competencies into learning plans.

There is a significant amount of work that needs to be done with the WCCP, particularly around where and how these competencies will be acquired and the appropriate method of assessment for these competencies. More information will be shared as we continue to develop guidance and resources to implement the WCCP over the next few years.

To learn more, download and read the Western Canada Competency Profile and the FAQs. If you have questions, contact professionaldevelopment@lsbc.org.

Background on the WCCP

The purpose of the WCCP is to develop a framework of competencies for individuals to demonstrate at entry to legal practice that is consistent across the four western Canadian provinces – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The WCCP will not serve as an additional layer of requirements for an articling student to meet. Rather, it will be used to evaluate and improve the bar admission process going forward.

The WCCP establishes a foundation that will allow us to explore the following opportunities:

  • Work with existing bar admission programs to evaluate which competencies they currently address and where they could be adjusted to best align with the WCCP.
  • Evaluate current articling systems/experiential learning activities to understand which competencies should be acquired during this term.
  • Develop better guidance for principals about the competencies students are expected to obtain through experiential learning and how principals will be expected to assess those competencies.  
  • Explore alternative experiential learning options that would provide students with the tools to develop the required competencies of the WCCP.

Thank you to the Task Force members who drafted the WCCP and to all who participated in focus groups or surveys to provide input during the development of the document.