POSITION STATEMENT: Infection Control Professionals (ICPs) With Multidisciplinary Backgrounds in Infection Prevention and Control Programs


Participants in Development of Position Statement:

This position statement was developed by IPAC Standards and Guidelines Committee 

Principal Authors: Lisa Snodgrass (Chair), Madeleine Ashcroft (Ex-Officio Chair)

Original Publication Date:
December 2021

Disclaimer: This document was developed by IPAC Canada based on best available evidence at the time of publication and is meant to provide advice to Infection Prevention and Control Professionals. The application and use of this document are the responsibility of the user. IPAC Canada assumes no liability resulting from any such application or use.


All Infection Prevention and Control Professionals (ICPs) must meet IPAC Canada Standards for IPAC Programs [1] and individual Core Competencies [2], including possession  of critical knowledge about infectious diseases and how to implement precautions, conduct surveillance, educate the public and staff, and apply available research effectively [1-6]. ICPs in Canada come from a variety of regulated and unregulated health-related professional backgrounds, including but not limited to nursing, medical laboratory technology, epidemiology, public health, respiratory therapy, dental health, medicine, and others [3]. The various disciplines and educational backgrounds of ICPs help to bring specific strengths to their teams and the organization. Each also brings a more detailed perspective to enhance the program [7,8]. This diversity of experience, coupled with specialization in IPAC qualifies them for equal consideration of opportunities [9,10].


IPAC Canada recognizes the various backgrounds of Infection Prevention and Control Professionals in healthcare and other settings and supports equitable access to opportunities in IPAC teams.


Governments, healthcare organizations, IPAC education courses/colleges, and employers. 


As per the Canadian Standard Association (CSA): 

“SHALL” is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the standard. 

“SHOULD” is used to express a recommendation, or that which is advised but not required; and 

“MAY” is used to express an option, or that which is permissible within the limits of the standard, an advisory or optional statement.

Infection Prevention and Control Professional (ICP): an individual who is employed with the primary responsibility for development, implementation, evaluation, and education related to policies, procedures, and practices that impact the prevention of infections. Integral competencies to the role include knowledge of infectious disease processes, microbiology, routine practices and additional precautions, surveillance, principles of epidemiology, research utilization and education. The performance of these activities and application of competencies will vary depending on the setting in which the ICP functions. Additional supporting competencies include communication, leadership, and professionalism. An ICP who demonstrates infection prevention and control competencies should be Certified in Infection Control (CIC®), having successfully passed the initial certification exam and recertification every five years [11]. 

Multi-disciplinary: Combining or involving several academic disciplines or professional specializations in an approach to a topic or problem (Source: Oxford Languages: https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/).


1. IPAC Canada. Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Program Standard. 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 12]. Available from https://ipac-canada.org/photos/custom/pdf/IPACPROGRAMSTANDARD2016.pdf 

2. IPAC Canada. Core Competencies for Infection Control Professionals. 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 12]. Available from https://ipac-canada.org/photos/custom/pdf/2016IPACCanadaCoreCompetenciesforICPs.pdf 

3. Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion. Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee. Best Practices for Infection Prevention and Control Programs in All Health Care Settings, 3rd edition. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; May 2012[cited 2021 Sep 12]. Available from https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/b/2012/bp-ipac-hc-settings.pdf?la=en 

4. British Columbia: Framework for Staffing and Core Competencies Training Designed for Infection Control Programs, March 2007 [cited 2021 Sep 12]. Available from https://www.picnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/PartTwoNeedsAssessementDocument.pdf 

5. Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). [internet] [cited 2021 Sep 12]. Available from https://www.cbic.org/CBIC.htm 

6. Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Essential Resources for an Effective Infection Prevention
and Control Programs: A Matter of Patient safety.
A Discussion Paper. 2015 [cited 2021 Sep 12].
Available from http://aceco.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ps-sp-eng.pdf 

7. Accreditation Canada. Qmentum Program: Infection Prevention and Control Standards. Available from http://www.accreditation.ca/qmentum 

8. Choi BC, Pak AW. Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness. Clin Invest Med. 2006 Dec [cited 2021 Sep 12];29(6):351-64. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17330451/ 

9. Reese, SM, Gilmartin HM. Infection prevention workforce: Potential benefits to educational diversity. Am J Infect Control. 2017 Jun [cited 2021 Sep 12]1;45(6):603-606. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28549512/ DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2017.03.029 

10. Reese, SM, Gilmartin HM, Smathers S. Challenges and opportunities in recruiting, hiring and training infection preventionists across facility settings. Am J Infect Control. 2021 Aug [cited 2021 Sep 12];49(8):973-977. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33989725/ DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.05.001 

11. IPAC Canada. Definition of an ICP. 2016 [Internet]. Available from https://ipac-canada.org/definition-of-an-icp-2.php