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Article • Order vs Association, What is the Difference?

6 February 2017
Stéphanie Mathieu, membre du conseil administratif de l’Association des sexologues du Québec

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☛ Cette chronique est aussi disponible en français [➦].

Translated by Vincent Chartier

When I started my studies in sexology, before the Order was founded, members of the Association des sexologues du Québec (ASQ) and of the Regroupement professionnel des sexologues du Québec (RPSQ) were going around classes. Their goal was to explain the importance of the two organizations and to offer a membership for one or the other, or both. I signed up for neither, not exactly seeing its added value. Today, as an obligatory member of my professional order, I asked myself again why I should also join the association. This time, I ended up joining, in addition to working on its board of directors. 

I know all too well that I am not the only one that hesitated or took a long time before becoming a member of the association that represents my profession. At the ASQ, we often get asked: 

What is the purpose of the Association des sexologues du Québec, now that there is a professional order for sexologists?

Why spend money to become a member of an association when we already pay professional dues to the Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec (OPSQ) in addition to, in some cases, paying for a psychotherapist permit issued by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec?

What do I get for being a member of an association in addition to being a member of the order?

Indeed, these are all excellent questions (which I have asked myself, as you can imagine) to which I answer with this very simple answer:

Because the Order is meant to protect the public, whereas
the Association works for you, the sexologists.

Allow me to elaborate and explain in more detail the difference between the Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec and the Association des sexologues du Québec. Let us start with a brief overview. The OPSQ was created in 2013, through the collaborative work of the ASQ and the RPSQ (Légis Québec, 2016). This achievement was made possible by the dedicated work, over the course of more than 20 years, of many sexologists that cared deeply for our wonderful profession. Once the Order was founded and this case finally closed, the ASQ needed to redefine its objectives, and the RPSQ was dissolved (ASQ, 2017a). The OPSQ’s mission then became: protect the public.  

In fact, “by mentoring, developing and maintaining its members’ skills, the Order ensures the quality of the services it offers. It values the profession, ensures accessibility to services and promotes sexual health” (OPSQ, 2014).

The ASQ’s mission, on the other hand, is to represent and protect its members. The Association “provides professionals with grounding and resources when faced with challenges'' (ASQ, 2017b). It also includes “the preservation of its members’ social, professional and economical interests” (ASQ, 2017c). Since the emphasis is placed on the members and professionals, the Association’s mission is therefore directly linked to sexologists.

In a more practical sense, the ASQ works on several projects regarding the profession’s recognition. Many task teams were put together within the Association, each having their own mission, but sharing the same vision: to contribute to the development of the sexologist profession in Quebec (ASQ, 2017d). For example, did you know that in Canada “most health services are GST and HST exempt” (Revenu Quebec, 2012), but neither sexology nor psychotherapy figure on this list?

A committee has been formed to work alongside the Association des psychothérapeutes, to make our profession a part of it. According to ASQ’s president, sexologist and psychotherapist, Marie-Pier Tanguay, this same committee is working tirelessly so that sexology can be recognized by insurance companies in the interest of equity and access to services.

The ASQ also has an on-the-job support team, so that sexologists with questions about a problem encountered with a client or about starting a private practice, can ask members of this team for answers. In fact, the OPSQ refers sexologists to the ASQ when it comes to questions about administering their professional practice. Another committee focuses on sexual education in schools, which is highly important and brought forward by the government’s pilot project on this matter (Gouvernement du Québec, 2016).

Next, the ASQ offers professional training to its members. This year, many affordable courses are being offered. Another task team works on visibility, to allow the sexologist profession to shine and to form connections between professionals. Moreover, the ASQ offers visibility to its members by posting their contact information on their website (ASQ, 2017e). Let us not forget that some representatives of the ASQ were present during the OPSQ seminar in October 2016 and that the Association organizes regular networking events.

Lastly, we should mention the board of directors meet every month to discuss issues about the profession. All these competent and motivated people that strive for the recognition of the profession and the support of sexologists, do so on a voluntary basis.

As you may have guessed by now, the two bodies, both complementary, are more than necessary for sexology and the profession. Being a member of your professional order is a legal obligation to practice the dedicated tasks of sexologists. It is crucial for the protection of the public and the profession’s credibility. Being a member of your association allows you to obtain help and support and to be in contact with other professionals, while also contributing, with time and/or money, to the recognition of the profession and the advancement of many projects in this sense. 

The Order and the Association both share a common goal, the valuation of the profession, which grants accessibility to sexological services and the promotion of sexual health. Therefore, they work hand in hand on many projects.

I hope that this article has enlightened you on the mission of both the Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec and the Association des sexologues du Québec. I hope to meet you in the next ASQ networking event.

Stéphanie Mathieu and the entire team of the ASQ

*In this present document, the terms used to designate persons are taken in the generic sense; they have both feminine and masculine value.


Association des Sexologues du Québec (ASQ). (2017a). Histoire de l’ASQ. http://associationdessexologues.com/histoire-asq/ 

Association des sexologues du Québec (ASQ). (2017b). Rôle de l’ASQhttp://associationdessexologues.com/Ordre-professionnel-sexologues-quebec/ 

Association des sexologues du Québec (ASQ). (2017c). Missionhttp://associationdessexologues.com/mission/ 

Association des sexologues du Québec (ASQ). (2017d). Les dossiers importants de l’ASQhttp://associationdessexologues.com/dossiers-importants-asq/ 

Association des sexologues du Québec (ASQ). (2017e). Liste des membreshttp://associationdessexologues.com/liste-des-membres/ 

Gouvernement du Québec. (2016). Éducation à la sexualitéwww.education.gouv.qc.ca/enseignants/dossiers/education-a-la-sexualite/ 

Légis Québec. (2016). Lettres patentes constituant l’Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québechttp://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/fr/ShowDoc/cr/C-26,%20r.%20222.2/ 

Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec (OPSQ). (2014). L’Ordre : Missionhttps://opsq.org/lOrdre/mission/ 

Revenu Québec. (2012). Services de santé exonérés ou taxableswww.revenuquebec.ca/fr/salle-de-presse/nouvelles-fiscales/2012/2012-04-04.aspx 


To cite this article:

Mathieu, S. (2017, February 6). Order vs association, what is the difference? Les 3 sex*https://les3sex.com/en/news/118/article-ordre-vs-association-quelle-difference-y-a-t-il- 

ASP, Association des sexologues du Québec, OPSQ, Ordre professionnel des sexologues du Québec, membership, OPSQ, Stéphanie Mathieu


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