Wednesday, 02 September 2020 14:43

Regulating Colleges (Counselling) in BC, Canada

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, 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.

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