Counsellor Legislation in Ontario, Canada


Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703

 In 2007 the Ontario government created a draft proposal called The Controlled Act of Psychotherapy. On December 30, 2017, the act was proclaimed. The CRPO [College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario] has been tasked with being the overseeing body in this transition. As of December 2019, this act will go into effect. There have been many questions among counsellors and hypnotherapy practitioners about how and will this act affects their practice. Obviously, students are concerned as well in determining what specific training they will need to meet the new standards if they choose to practice in Ontario. It is that that this article intends to shed some light on.
It is important to realize that legislation of this type is always provincial in Canada and this is why when we discuss this area it is always in a provincial context. Each province tends to do its own thing. However, in 1995 the federal government introduced The Agreement on Internal Trade. It states that all professions and skilled trades have the same standards across Canada. It is my understanding that this would be a gradual change. At this time New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario [Dec. 2019] and Nova Scotia are the only provinces Canada which have legislation enacted governing counsellors. Alberta has recently passed a bill supporting creating a College of Counsellors.
When I first read Ontario's Psychotherapist Act, it seemed to say that if you were a hypnotherapist in practice, you would be restricted to only practising in areas like smoking unless you were a member of the College. The requirements of being a member under the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy are close to that of a Masters level of training.
As I did further research, I discovered that the act specifies that members of the College will work with "serious issues." This is a very important statement as it goes on to define what a "serious issue" is. The following five points provided by Heather Flanagan, president of ARCH make this quite clear.
1. Treatment— To be regulated by the Psychotherapy College one must be claiming to provide "treatment." 
2. Psychotherapy— To be regulated one must be claiming the one "treats" people " using psychotherapy technique." 
3. Therapeutic Relationship— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are "delivered through a therapeutic relationship."
4. Disorders— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are intended to "treat" "an individual's serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory." 
5. Impairment— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are intended to treat people with such problems if they seriously impair the individual's judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning.
In other words, most areas that hypnotherapists tend to work in they can legally continue to do once the psychotherapist act in Ontario comes into effect. I hope this relieves some of the anxiety my former students might've been experiencing.
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Saturday, 03 December 2022