Competency Category:
Competency Series:

1.2 – Maintain Professional Boundaries

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) maintain professional boundaries with clients to protect the client from potential harm. CDPs have a relationship of trust with their clients, who may feel vulnerable under certain circumstances, such as when they are disclosing personal history and personal needs. This relationship may create a power imbalance, or a sense that the CDP has influence on the level of services or support the client will be offered.CDPs must use professional judgement to prevent boundary issues from arising and to establish and manage boundaries in a variety of circumstances, including the prevention and management of possible conflicts of interest. Managing boundaries relates to client’s personal dignity, privacy and self-agency.
Professional boundaries extend beyond the client relationship, such as when CDPs assume supervisory responsibilities and have influence over workplace colleagues.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Comply with Code of Ethics;
  • P1. Maintain client relationship boundaries:
    • Determine whether action or circumstance constitutes a conflict of interest;
    • Communicate in a non-judgemental manner;
    • Introduce self by name and professional title;
    • Address client by preferred name and title;
    • Respect uniqueness and diversity of each client, i.e. be aware of comments, attitudes and behaviours that may cause discomfort or challenge client beliefs, values, lifestyle or culture;
  • P2. Prevent boundary violations:
    • Refrain from engaging in personal, sexual or romantic relationships with clients;
    • Refrain from giving or receiving significant gifts;
    • Avoid dual or overlapping relationships, e.g. professional affiliations;
    • Schedule appointments during regular work hours in professional setting, e.g. defined work office;
  • P3. Identify vulnerable situations, such as:
    • Sexual attraction;
    • Misinterpretation of gestures, e.g. touching;
    • Helping client financially, e.g. pay rent, buy lunch;
  • P4. Seek guidance from professional association, as required, e.g. national or provincial association;
  • P5. Transfer client to qualified professional, if required;
  • P6. Document actions taken;

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Common types of boundary violations, for example:
    • Sexual relations;
    • Accepting social invitations from clients;
    • Receipt or exchange of gifts;
    • Financial dealings;
    • Conflicts of interest;
    • Breaches of trust;
    • Seeking client advice in their area of expertise, e.g. financial investments;
    • Calling family members for information the client refuses to disclose;
  • K2. Code of Ethics;
  • K3. Professional practice guidelines;

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:


Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

Self-agency: the power an individual has over their own life. Self-agency means that an individual has a sense of control over their actions or events that may affect them.

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration


Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

High probability of risk: VERY CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

To ensure client wellbeing, a career development professional should perform this competency immediately upon entering practice.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is unlikely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

Help us cultivate a community we all enjoy by reviewing and following the Code of Conduct.  

Our Purpose  

Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

Community Rules 

Be welcoming 

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. We aim to create and facilitate a community that promotes excellence and innovation in career and workforce development. Please extend respect to all members; we all come from different backgrounds and levels of knowledge and there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Be respectful 

We won’t all agree all the time, but when we disagree don’t let those disagreements turn into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened will not be a productive one. Instead, when having discussions in the online community, create productive conversations around the content being presented, not the person behind the content. Any post that is determined to be “hate speech” towards any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation.  

Hate Speech could include and is not limited to:  

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person 
  • Discriminatory jokes, language, or materials 
  • Defamatory or abusive language or materials 
  • Profane or illegal materials 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior 

A good rule of thumb is to never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing or that you wouldn’t want anyone knowing came from you. We ask that you keep in mind the focus of this community, which is building excellence and innovation in career and workforce development for all individuals.  

Be considerate of the purpose of the community 

This community will be focused on building excellence and discussing innovation in the career and workforce development field. The goal of this community is to communicate goals, challenges, constructive feedback, and questions in relation to career and workforce development. The community should be a place for continued learning and development as well as a place to discuss the future of our field (solicitation without written consent by the Project or Advisory team, is strictly prohibited). Any post that is determined to be soliciting any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation. 

Post your discussions or documents in the most appropriate group or topic 

Make reasonable efforts to ensure that posts and materials are allocated to the appropriate group or topic. This will prevent cluttering the community and make it easier for everyone to find the information that they are seeking. Individuals who do this repeatedly will be contacted by one of the group admins and asked to follow these guidelines.  

Privacy and Release of Information  

CDPC-CEDC will not release your information to any third-party agencies.  

Group Admins 

There are four group admins who are available to you. Below are their names and their spoken language. 

Heather Powell | Anglophone 

Gabrielle St-Cyr | Francophone/Anglophone 

Florence Desrochers | Francophone/Anglophone

Muriel Andoblé-Yao | Francophone

Thank you and welcome to the CDPC Community!