School Counsellor Certificate Guidelines

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Guidelines for Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling in Manitoba

The following is excerpted from the complete publication, pdfGuidelines for Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling in Manitoba.

Society, families and children evolve continuously and the guidance and counselling programs in our schools need to constantly renew themselves to better respond to changing needs. The last document outlining the roles and responsibilities of counsellors was released in 1991 and reflected the realities of those times. The present document was developed by a group of counsellors and counsellor educators from four different Manitoba Institutions and Organizations. The purpose of the document is to bring forth the changes that have been developing throughout the province and to provide school divisions, individual schools, staffs, and counsellors with clear and consistent direction for the future.

A comprehensive guidance and counselling program is an essential and integral part of the educational system. Guidelines for Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling in Manitoba promotes an integrated, comprehensive guidance curriculum for all students that is the shared responsibility of all school staff.

A comprehensive guidance and counselling program:

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Guidelines for Ethical Behaviour

Download pdf Ethical Decision Making 2007, A Resource Manual for School Counsellors (PDF file - 1 MB).


The Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association is a Special Area Group of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

The goals of the Association include:

Role of the School Counsellor

Basic Principles

This document is intended to provide guidelines for the ethical behaviour of school counsellors.

The guidelines complement the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Code of Professional Practices by clarifying the nature of the ethical responsibilities of counsellors in a school setting.

The guidelines are based on the following principles:

  • that each person has the right to be treated with respect, dignity and integrity;
  • that each person is entitled to freedom of choice and, with that freedom, must accept responsibility for choices and decisions;
  • that full potential for each person depends upon the development of self-awareness, self-direction, and skills in interpersonal relationships, problem solving and decision making; and
  • that each person has the right to personal growth and development within the context of the personal liberties set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • (1) Primary Responsibility

    The school counsellor’s first responsibility is to act in the best interest of students.

    (2) Informed Student

    The school counsellor shall inform students of the purposes, goals, techniques, and specific policies under which they may receive counselling, at or before the time when the couselling relationship is entered.

    Such information includes concerns about confidentiality, legal restraints on counsellors, and the possible necessity for consulting with other professionals.

    (3) Confidentiality

    Confidentiality is the obligation not to disclose willingly information obtained during counselling.

    Confidentiality is crucial to establishing and maintaining a strong counsellor-student relationship. Therefore, the school counsellor shall attempt to obtain the consent of the student before divulging information received during counselling. Confidentiality is, nevertheless, not absolute.

    Some exceptions to maintaining confidentiality are:

    Child Protection

    The school counsellor who has reason to believe that a child is or might be in need of protection shall forthwith report the information to the appropriate authorities in accordance with legal obligations pursuant to child protection legislation.

    Potential Harm

    If behaviour of the student threatens potential harm to self or others, the school counsellor shall take appropriate action to protect the student and/or others.

    Legal Action

    The school counsellor may be required by the courts to release all counselling records and relevant information.

    Consultation and Collaboration

    The school counsellor may consult and collaborate with other professionals for purposes of more effectively helping the student. The school counsellor shall share only such information that will serve the best interests of the student.

    (4) Record Keeping

    The school counsellor shall keep accurate and objective records of counselling sessions to facilitate the provision of services to students. Information received in the counselling process shall be kept as part of the counsellor’s confidential records and not part of the records kept in the office of the school.

    (5) Group Counselling

    The school counsellor shall make clear the purpose of group counselling and the techniques to be used in group sessions. The school counsellor shall strive to protect members of the group from physical or psychological harm.

    (6) Impartiality

    School counsellors shall be aware of their personal values, and shall strive to remain impartial in assisting students with decision making and problem solving.

    (7) Referrals

    School counsellors recognize their boundaries of competence and provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by training or experience.

    School counsellors shall make appropriate referrals when their professional assistance cannot adequately meet students’ needs.

    School counsellors shall be knowledgeable about referral resources.

    Whenever possible and appropriate, school counsellors shall make referrals with the knowledge and consent of students. At all times, counsellors shall act in the best interests of the students.

    (8) Testing and Assessment

    The school counsellor shall adhere to established standards regarding the selection, administration and interpretation of standardized tests and assessment techniques.

    The school counsellor shall consider socio-economic, cultural and ethnic factors in standardized tests.

    The school counsellor shall explain the nature, purposes and results of standardized tests in language that is understandable to the students, parents and other professionals.

    The school counsellor shall interpret test results with reference to other relevant information.

    (9) Programs and Services

    School counsellors share with other educators the responsibility for establishing and maintaining counselling and guidance programs which are responsive to the needs of students and the community.

    School counsellors shall provide parents with information on the role and function of the school counsellor.

    School counsellors shall notify appropriate school officials of conditions which may limit or curtail their effectiveness in providing programs and services.

    (10) Professional Standards

    School counsellors shall strive to attain the standards of formal professional preparation that are recommended by the Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association and the Manitoba Teachers Society.

    School counsellors shall strive to maintain professional competence by taking advantage of professional development opportunities.

    School counsellors shall accept only those positions for which they are professionally qualified.

    (11) Professional Relationships

    The school counsellor does not knowingly enter or continue a counselling relationship with a student who is receiving counselling from another professional person, without consultation with that other professional, except where the best interests of the student clearly demand such an extraordinary intervention.

    In relationships with employers, colleagues, and professional organizations, the school counsellor shall abide by the Code of Professional Practice of the Manitoba Teachers Society.

    The school counsellor shall observe both the spirit and the letter of these guidelines.

    Guidelines approved by Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association / Association Manitobaine des Conseillers d’Orientation Executive Council Jan 23, 1992, revised October 1997 © 1997, Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association