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Qualifying for Membership

The designation Chartered Secretary is recognized in more than 70 countries. It is a designation bestowed only on members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), an international professional association with more than 45,000 members and 28,000 students.

Chartered Secretaries Canada is the Canadian Division of ICSA. Members of Chartered Secretaries Canada are also members of ICSA. In applying for membership with Chartered Secretaries Canada, you are automatically applying for membership of ICSA on its Canadian register.

Certain criteria must be satisfied before you can qualify as a Chartered Secretary and member of ICSA.


  • You should hold a degree or professional qualification approved by Chartered Secretaries Canada
  • If you are a graduate from a college program, in a related discipline, from a post-secondary institution recognized by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and/or approved by Chartered Secretaries Canada you may also qualify for admission.
  • You must complete Chartered Secretaries Canada 's Professional Program. Subject exemptions  are available and the specific subjects required will depend on our assessment of your previous studies.


  • There are two levels of membership; Associate (ACIS) and Fellow (FCIS).
  • Election as Associate requires at least six (6) years of relevant experience
  • Fellowship is the higher level denoting greater experience and levels of responsibility. Fellowship election requires a minimum of eight (8) years, including at least three (3) years in a position of appropriate responsibility ( Chartered Secretaries Canada assessed).

Character and good standing

  • Members are required to be of good character and to abide by the Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct.
  • Character and good standing issues are normally addressed once the education and experience criteria have been satisfied.

What To Do Next

Apply for entry into the Professional Program to start the process of obtaining full membership in ICSA by completing a Student Application . For more information on our education program, please select the Education tab from the top menu.

If you would like a quick assessment of whether you are eligible for entry into the Professional Program, please contact us directly and we will be more then happy to review your credentials.

When you enrol, to receive any exemptions, you will need to include academic transcripts confirming the award of all your degrees, diplomas, and/or professional designations and listing the subjects you completed and your results.


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