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BCACC looks forward to legislative regulation of the psychotherapy profession

Anticipated positive impact on enhanced public protection and on mental health services accessibility

VICTORIA, BC, May 24, 2024 /CNW/ - The BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) is pleased that the legislative regulation of Psychotherapy under the Health Professions Act and eventually under the new Health Professions & Occupations Act is moving forward, as indicated in the BC Government's May 24, 2024 news release.

On October 19, 2022, the Ministry of Health, led by Adrian Dix, indicated their intention to regulate clinical counselling under the new Health Professions & Occupations Act (HPOA). A decision that was applauded by the BCACC. With more than 85% of practitioners in BC having a masters' level education and a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) designation from the BCACC, the BCACC supports the need for legislative regulation and its potential to lower accessibility barriers and enhance public protection. In British Columbia the terms "Clinical Counselling" and "Psychotherapy" are used interchangeably. 

BCACC CEO, Michael Radano says "The BCACC has been regulating the Clinical Counselling/Psychotherapy profession for the past 36 years and has created the environment and regulatory building blocks required for regulation by statute ? the profession is ready.  We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health to enhance public protection and quality of care while improving accessibility for British Columbians in a timely manner."

Currently, the province of British Columbia does not have legislative regulation of master's level clinical counsellors and psychotherapists, unlike provinces such as AB, PEI, NB, NS, QC and ON. With BC witnessing increasing negative migration, the province stands to lose qualified practitioners to provinces such as Alberta, where counsellors with master's degrees in psychology can register with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP). More than 37,000 people out of the 70,000 who migrated out of BC, moved to Alberta last year. Designation of the profession by the Ministry and the BC Government will go a long way towards ensuring that practitioners remain in BC.   

With the demand for mental health services increasing, BC residents need access to high-quality clinical counselling/psychotherapy services in a timely fashion and be covered under benefit plans and government programming. Regulation of psychotherapy will expand access to clinicians and shorten wait times for British Columbians. Once regulated by statute, certain tasks can be delegated from one licensed profession to another by the government and regulatory colleges provided that the requisite training is in place.  This can further increase the provision of different aspects of mental health services to the public. 

Over the years, there have been instances of sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, and fraudulent qualifications that have plagued the practice and the public at large. Regulation by statute will enhance public protection and mitigate such instances. 

The BCACC has been approached by veterans who cannot access mental health services as there is a lack of practitioners who are able to provide services for federally funded programs.  Provincial regulation of psychotherapy by statue would add up to 7200 more practitioners to the pool thus improving accessibility, lowering costs, and reducing wait times.

The BCACC welcomes the BC Government's move towards regulating the profession as it is an urgently needed step that will provide British Columbians safer and more timely access to licensed practitioners.

BCACC: BCACC is a non-profit provincial professional association founded in 1988 with more than 8000 members. BCACC advocates for the clinical counselling/psychotherapy profession and for public access to mental health services. Its 7200 Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCCs)  are held to the highest standards of practice and a strict code of ethics in service and protection of the public: https://bcacc.ca

SOURCE BC Association of Clinical Counsellors

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