Certification for Staff

I&R Professional Certification for Staff

Staff (and volunteers, as eligible) can receive professional credentials related to the 2 major components within the Informaton and Referral industry:

Certification for I&R Specialists (CIRS) * - for enquiry/call centre practitioners who work directly with clients whether on the phone or in-person and provide mediated I&R -- that is establishing rapport, conducting an assessment, providing an informed choice of referrals, engaging in follow-up and being capable of providing advocacy or crisis intervention if required.

There are almost 500 trained and qualified Information and Referral Specialists in Canada; more than 70% of them work in Ontario.

Certification for Resource Specialists (CRS) * - for data editors and other practitioners who maintain databases of resources for the communities they serve. They have expertise in the gathering, organizing, indexing and dissemination of information about programs/services and the organizations that provide them.

There are more than 50 trained and qualified Resource Specialists in Canada; more than 80% of them work in Ontario.

 To qualify to sit either exam, I&R practitioners must meet the combined criteria of experience and educational background.

The credentials must be maintained by applying for re-certification every 2 years, and by submitting documentation outlining at least 10 hours of additional professional development.

In Canada, the certification process is managed by InformCanada, on behalf of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), based in the United States.

I&R providers can also apply for AIRS agency-based accreditation designation.

Useful links

InformCanada - certification information and exam locations


AIRS – certification information


AIRS – certification FAQ



* Definitions from Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS); statistics from AIRS, as of Sept 2015.