Error
  • The template for this display is not available. Please contact a Site administrator.
Hypnotherapy and Counselling Regulation (Canada)

Hypnotherapy and Counselling Regulation (Canada) (5)

Counselling and Hypnotherapy Legislation in Canada has become an important and complex topic. It affects counselling and hypnotherapy students and practitioners everywhere. Every province makes up its own laws defining legally what a counsellor actually does. In this space, I will be choosing specific geographical areas in Canada and writing about the current legislation or lack of in each district. I hope this can help students and Counselling Hypnotherapists.

On August 23rd, 2020 the BC Government announced that it would be overhauling the 20 Colleges under the Health Protections Act. The intent is to reduce the 20 current Colleges to 6. This move is based on the recommendations of the Cayton report.  Learn More about the Cayton Report and the restructuring. 

What does this mean for Counsellors in BC? 

It's hard to say. There is no mention of Counsellors in the document. We assume that part will become clearer probably around May 2020, when the process begins. Below is FACTBC's commentary on these recent events which will hopefully give the reader some insights at what FACTBC's focus has been and will be in the coming months (Sheldon Bilsker, Director, Orca Institute)

Commentary by Glen Grigg, Ph.D., FACTBC Chair)

This is just a short note to fill you in on the follow-up and response FACTBC has provided to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s Thursday announcement that, supported by Green house leader Fursteneau and Liberal health critic Letnick, the government’s intention is to proceed with the modernization plan for BC’s health care regulation.

The stated intention is that the government, supported by cabinet and all parties in the legislature, will put the six new multi-title colleges and the oversight body in place by an amendment to the existing HPA in Spring 2021.

This is just a short note to fill you in on the follow-up and response FACTBC has provided to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s Thursday announcement that, supported by Green house leader Fursteneau and Liberal health critic Letnick, the government’s intention is to proceed with the modernization plan for BC’s health care regulation.

The stated intention is that the government, supported by cabinet and all parties in the legislature, will put the six new multi-title colleges and the oversight body in place by amendment to the existing HPA in Spring 2021. There is nothing in this announcement to change our plan to put a formal application designation before the Minister of Health in late September.

FACTBC has been clear that we support the modernization process, and at the same time, the government has come short of a formal, binding commitment, procedurally embedded in the requirements of the legislation, that Counselling Therapy be regulated.

Once this formal written commitment is in place, then we no longer need to, one more time,  make the case for Counselling Therapy. The Application for Designation becomes the facts agreed to by all parties, independent of who forms government, who the official is, or who happens to be the minister of health.

The practical business of the regulation of counselling therapy in BC can proceed once this step is accomplished. In short, we are respectfully, and very assertively, asking government to acknowledge that we have “done our homework” and to provide the commitment required under the HPA. 

The public-interest goal at the centre of our work and commitment is protection of the title “Counselling Therapist” under the HPA. This is the step that provides the safety and accountability that should be the right of every British Columbian seeking professional care.

Many of our association members, familiar with the historical idea that regulation requires a stand-alone college for each professional title, may need some clarification about the progress that has been made in effective professional regulation. 

Our members need to know that no profession in BC, including doctors and nurses, will have a “one-profession, one-college” regulatory system. Six large colleges will regulate all of the more than twenty-eight protected titles in BC.

Within those colleges councils specific to each professional title will take responsibility for issues like standards of practice and fitness to practice.

In this new system, the voice of the counselling therapy profession will be re-positioned bu not lost. I encourage you to communicate with your membership about the meaning of a modern regulatory system for Counselling Therapy. Timely clarification is, as we know, helpful in avoiding unnecessary confusion and distress. 

We have already reached out to government officials and the media to let them know that while we support the general direction of modernization, this announcement comes short of the formal commitment to Counselling Therapy we have been seeking and that we will be supporting the government to correct this oversight with a written submission in the near future. Hope this note provides some clarity, context, and direction.

 

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

 A current Overview of Counsellor Legislation in Canada. By IACH, and Orca Institute. This is a talk by Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC on June 20th, 2020, updating his students on Counsellor Regulation in Canada. Timeline 15 sec.- Fact BC History 3:51- Task Group 8:30- Cayton report 14:57- Ontario Legislation 18:51- ACCT 20:07- Alberta Counselling Legislation 28:26- Agreement on Internal Trade 32:05- Summary (Video Below).

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

Important Update: 9-1-20 (Learn More)

On August 23rd, 2020 the BC Government announced that it would be overhauling the 20 Colleges under the Health Protections Act. The intent is to reduce the 20 current Colleges to 6. 

Update: 5-16-20: The BC government has received formal input from the public as well as Professionals in the Counselling field. Awhile back, the government requested and received the Cayton Report. Harry Cayton was hired to write a report making recommendations on the structure of colleges under the Health Professions Act in BC. One of the recommendations was that the 20 existing colleges under the ACT should merge to bring them from 20 to 5. Counsellors and other potential new groups wanting to form a college would be slotted into one of the five new colleges. Nothing is written in stone at this point, and there has been excellent communication between FACTBC and the Deputy Minister and other key people. Here is FACT BC's response to the Cayton report. Last but not least, COVID-19 has slowed everything. Hopefully, we will be back on track soon. Recently the BC government has set aside money to cover counselling costs of those who need it at this time but cannot afford it. They approached FACT BC directly to set up a referral system from the government to FACT BC member associations. This in the works. I, for one, am impressed that they have taken this action as it is much needed. However, I do find it curious that technically we have no legal status under the Health professions Act while the BC government, through their actions, is acknowledging that we are a valid health profession.

Update: Alberta is now the 5th province to commit to legally define counsellor and or psychotherapist. They have asked FACT Alberta to begin processing new applications in preparation for future legislation.  The possible new legislation looks very similar to what FACTBC has proposed specifically in how it uses core competencies rather than requiring a specific degree. Legislation could happen by the Fall of 2020. 

Recently I posted an article related to the impending psychotherapy act in Ontario which will go into effect in December 2019. In this article, I will focus on what could possibly happen in BC. I'm basing my information on approximately 22 years of being involved with this issue off and on in my impression of the current situation in this province including developments over the past few years in Fact BC. Please understand that what follows is an educated guess. No one really knows exactly how things will look if legislation does occur in BC but from certain factors, it is possible to draw some possible conclusions.
 
In a previous article, I gave a brief history of the events leading up to where we are now so I will focus on the current situation and how I view it.
 
Core competencies have been the cornerstone in our proposal to the BC government to create a College of counsellors. The original idea was that, rather than require a specific degree such as a BA, MA, or Ph.D., core competencies would define the minimal skill set that an entry-level counsellor should have to practice in the counselling field. Since 1997 there have been many new versions of the core competencies and with each one, the requirements for entrance into the potential new college have increased making it more inaccessible for many current therapists and students. At this point, the core competencies are almost equivalent to having a Master's level degree.
 
As a result, associations like the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists have raised their entrance requirements to include the DSM-V, Family Therapy and Abnormal Psychology. ClearMind International is another school which is adding more courses into its curriculum to meet the Ontario standards.
 
As I've stated in my previous article on Ontario legislation I know for a fact that the Ontario government does not restrict anyone from practising counselling. However, only those members of the College will be permitted to practice with clients who have "serious issues" and be allowed to use the term Psychotherapist or any derivates of that term. For example, the client would like to do sessions with you and tells you that they have been diagnosed as clinically depressed. If you are not a member of the College then you are restricted in working with this type of client.
 
However, if a potential client wants to do sessions with you and they tell you they have been feeling depressed but have not been diagnosed you could see them without having to be a member of the College. I should emphasize, as an educator, it is not advisable to take see a client who you feel might have more serious issues even if they haven't been assessed unless you are qualified to do so. Always know when to refer and if in doubt contact someone with more experience in this area to advise you.
 
Now that we know specifically what the Ontario legislation looks like, there are some educated guesses we can make in relation to the situation in BC especially in relation to how it might affect Hypnotherapists. I will use my school, Orca Institute to show how I think will this new model will affect hypnotherapy students and practitioners in BC.
 
First of all, let me restate that I do not believe that any provincial legislation will contain any clause which will have the effect of restricting anyone from practising hypnotherapy within the parameters I've stated above. The reason I feel confident about this relates to governments, in general, being very reticent about restricting anyone's ability to make a living as long as they are keeping within the current laws. So simply put, I don't see that happening.
 
About a year ago, as President of the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists, I realized that as an association it was important to be a member of Fact BC. For those who aren't aware, fact BC is a group representing the main counselling groups in BC with the purpose of lobbying the BC government to set up a College of counsellors. Much progress has been made in the past short while and I believe that we might be close to creating a College in this province.
 
I believe that once a college is formed its members would be under the Health Professions Act of BC and most likely be covered by any insurance company that currently covers psychologists. In addition to having a protected title in the same realm as a registered psychologist or Registered Nurse, a member would most likely get referrals from the medical profession and possibly be eligible for employment through government agencies who typically require a Master's degree to work within their system.
 
For most practitioners who are not operating with a protected title, it becomes obvious that there are specific advantages to having a protected title. I can understand how that might seem daunting for some who would consider attempting to meet the core competencies necessary to attain membership in the new college.
 
However, a common procedure in these matters of new legislation, especially in the area of setting new standards for a particular profession, is the implementation of an expedited clause. A grandfather clause is typically a period of one to two years where practitioners who have come up to a particular standard within their Association [member of fact BC] would be portal or grandfathered into the new college without having to meet the specific core competencies which might go beyond their current Association membership standards. Update: I now believe that even members of an association in FACT BC might have to show a specific amount of Supervision and client contact hours. 
 
One scenario might be that a member of the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists who have achieved the Level Of Counselling Hypnotherapist +750 hours of practice with clients at the time of the closing of the expedited period would be eligible for membership in the new college.
 
In conclusion, if you are a hypnotherapy student or practitioner I believe that you will be able to continue to practice whether you are a member of the future College or not. However, I hope you will take into account the potential of being a member of the future College. Learn more about what Alberta has done so far. 
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 15:14

Counsellor Legislation in Ontario, Canada

Written by

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.
 
 

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

Over the years many aspiring hypnotherapists and students have asked me about hypnotherapy legislation or lack of relating to their ability to practice in their location. This issue can be quite complex considering that each province and state is responsible for making its own legislation. In part 1 of this article, I’d like to focus on legislation in British Columbia, Canada. I’m starting here not just because I am based here but also because of the interesting history and progression of dedicated practitioners to create new and innovative legislation in the province relating to counselling in the broad sense of the term [hypnotherapy included].
 
A Brief History
 
In 1997 the task group for counsellor regulation was formed. Their mandate was to determine if the various stakeholders in the counselling field in BC should come under the umbrella of the Health Professions Act. Their decision based on a variety of factors was not to take action at that time. It was disappointing but only enhance the willingness of the stakeholder groups to move forward.