Career Development Practice in Canada: Perspectives, Principles, and Professionalism

Book Review by Marc Verhoeve

Shepard, B. C., & Mani, P. S. (Eds.). (2014). Career Development Practice in Canada: Perspectives, Principles, and Professionalism. Canada: CERIC. 648 pages.


The reading of this book, published by Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), was a remarkable journey through the landscape of career development in Canada. After almost 40 years in the career development field, I regret that a comparable book was not available when I began!

While this book has been described as a textbook [a function that it admirably fulfills], its encyclopedic format, with chapters uniquely crafted by dozens of renowned Canadian career professionals, makes it an essential reference book for career practitioners.

The book is divided into 7 sections:Career Development Practice In Canada

  1. Development of the Profession

  2. Basic Conceptual Frameworks of Career Development Practice

  3. The Nuts and Bolts of Career Development Practice

  4. Working with Diversity

  5. Navigating Developmental Tasks and Pathways

  6. Specialties in the Profession

  7. New Directions and Emerging Trends in Career Development Practice.

Each section is further divided into about a dozen chapters. Its value as a textbook is reflected in the fact that each chapter has:

  • learning objectives

  • "stop-and-reflect”

  • [extensive] references

  • Glossary

  • Discussion and activities

  • Resources and reading.

What makes it an excellent “professional-read” is the unique writing styles and background of the over 30 authors that Blythe Shepard and Priya Mani [editors] have been able to collect for this book. The submitters include three renowned Canadian career development theorists:

Bryan Hiebert is a professor emeritus of Education, University of Calgary, and adjunct professor in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria. Dr. Hiebert is a member of the Canadian Working Group on Evidence-Based Practice in Career Development and part of the co-ordinating team for Prove It Works, an international initiative aimed at demonstrating the value of career development programs and services.”

Phil Jarvis is director of Global Partnerships at Career Cruising. He supports communities, provinces, states, and countries implementing “whole-community” career and workforce development solutions. He has trained thousands of educators and workforce development personnel. Programs such as Blueprint for Life/Work Designs and Real Game Series, that he authored or co-authored, have helped millions of students in 15 countries transition from school to success.”

Roberta A. Neault, president of Life Strategies Ltd., has recently completed a term as editor of the Journal of Employment Counseling (the journal of the USA-based National Employment Counseling Association). Co-author of the Career Engagement model, Roberta has written many practical guides and workbooks for career practitioners and clients in transition.”

The editors have effectively quilted these articles into a smoothly-flowing, integrated book. While there is a richness in having a series of independently-authored chapters, the downside is that there is no apparent attempt by the editors to create a thread through the book with commentaries that compare/contrast the directions of the various authors.

Three chapters that I found especially intriguing were Historical Snapshots, Community Capacity Building as a Model for Career Development Planning, and Emerging Trends.

Historical Snapshots begins with the birth of career development in Canada in 1850 and chronicles the impact of the world wars, the Depression, government leadership, and the influence of American career theorists.

Community Capacity Building explains at length the community/client energizing matrix and the unique role of the career practitioner.

Emerging Trends contains a detailed framework for evaluating intervention-success of programs to address funding issues. This chapter also presents the career practitioner with new paradigms to respond to the dramatic flux in the definition of career path in the twenty-first century workplace.

While this book is an overview of the history and issues in career development in the Canada, the topics have universal application for all career development students and active career practitioners. At first blush, this 604-page text can appear overwhelming, but it is a fascinating read, which encourages one to revisit the evolution of career development...and to examine the essential new directions in the career-practitioner field.

Career Development Practice in Canada is available in bark-based [paper-bound] and eBook formats. The benefit of the eBook version for students and authors is the obvious ability to copy/paste citations… and one-click access to web-based resource-references. http://www.ceric.ca/textbook



Career Convergence welcomes articles with an international connection.


Mark VerhoeveMarc Verhoeve: After 32 years in secondary school counselling [and part-time university instructor], Marc Verhoeve completed a 5-year term as the Executive Director of the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association. Since 1979, he has been training and marketing consultant in the area of career testing for RPP/Sigma Assessment Systems. He has published over two dozen articles on career development. Since 1990, he has maintained a part-time private practice as a Careerpathing Consultant. Marc’s email address is verhoeve@sympatico.ca.


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