An estimated one in six Canadians experiences a need for mental health care (Findlay, L.C., & Sunderland, A., & Statics Canada, 2012). However, while the need for professional counsellors is clear, not every province in the country regulates this field. According to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, “the only provinces in Canada where counselling and/or psychotherapy are regulated are Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New-Brunswick” (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, n.d.)
This lack of regulation here in British Columbia opens the counselling profession to a potential decrease in perceived credibility. Many clients may want the services of a trained and experienced counsellor, but could also feel reluctant to seek professional care over fears of quality and professionalism. In addition, lack of regulation can also prevent some from having access to services altogether. Since the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) only provides funding for sessions with a professional licensed by a provincial or territorial body, refugees entering British Columbia are blocked from accessing much-needed counselling services (Eagland, N., 2017). “As there is no licensing body for counselling therapists in British Columbia,” explains Nancy Chan, the spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “there are no counselling therapists in the province who are eligible to seek reimbursement for treating IFHP beneficiaries” (Eagland, N., 2017)
Fortunately, FACTBC is making strides towards changing this reality. Read on for an update on FACTBC and its current activities.
New Federation Additions and MLA Engagement
As students completing counselling therapist training may know, FACTBC is a society of professional associations which represents counselling therapists from all over the province (FACTBC, About Us). The Federation promotes ongoing dialogue to campaign for professional designation under the Health Provisions Act (HPA), which would then create a College of Counselling Therapists under provincial legislation that would act as the provincial regulatory body of counsellors in British Columbia (FACTBC, June AGM).
Recently, FACTBC has made important strides towards its goals. It has accepted the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists (IACH) into the Federation, as well as the Canadian Art Therapy Association, and more (CACCF) (FACTBC, FACTBC is growing). In total, there are currently 13 professional associations represented through FACTBC which have joined together to call for collective change. There have also been continued meetings with various Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to advocate for industry regulation, and FACTBC has initiated a member-by-member lobby of MLAs within the current local legislature to keep political officials informed and updated on community needs (FACTBC, June AGM).
Additionally, the national need for a licensing body in the industry has led to continued collaboration with other groups seeking similar regulation, and FACTBC has begun to connect with organizations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland (FACTBC, June AGM).
Graduates of Counselling Therapist Training Have Much to Look Forward To
Implementing a College of Counselling Therapists would affect many different aspects of the industry, from the effectiveness of counselling services to the professional credibility of counselling therapists themselves (Grigg, G., 2016).
A College of Counselling Therapists would act as an authority for adherence to a code of ethics and practices, as well as a promoter of high industry standards. A regulatory body can hold hearings, incur audits, conduct inspections, and investigate complaints with according disciplinary measures. Additionally, high levels of regulation uncertainty leads to a decreased level of innovation, while formalization has the reverse effect of encouraging innovative changes (Knut, B., & Petersen, S.S., & Riillo, C.A.F., 2017).
This regulation would also help to reassure clients that they are receiving care from a trained and experienced professional with a counselling therapist diploma. Graduates of Rhodes College’s Professional Counsellor Diploma program are eligible for membership in the Canadian Professional Counsellors association and as such can be licensed by the College. This is great news for your career as a Professional Counsellor in Canada.
Future Expectations for FACTBC Progress
At present, FACTBC has over 5,000 active and participating members, and expects to grow with continued advocacy (Eagland, 2017). The Federation continues to seek, among other goals, title protection for professionals, which would grant occupational titles unique to the counselling therapist profession which cannot be used by unregistered members of the community.
In order to progress and expand further, FACTBC promotes ongoing engagement and lobbying of local MLA representatives in order to keep officials informed and updated (FACTBC, June AGM). Regional meetings with MLAs are continuing to take place, including throughout the summer of 2018, and FACTBC will be involved at the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister levels, ideally forming a more in-depth and committed relationship with political and local representatives in order to advocate for industry regulation (FACTBC, What has FACTBC been up to over the past year?).
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Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, (n.d.). The Profession and Regulation. Retrieved on September 7, 2018, from: https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/profession/
Eagland, N., (2017). “B.C. counsellors say lack of professional oversight blocks refugees’ access to their services. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/b-c-counsellors-say-lack-of-professional-oversight-blocks-refugees-access-to-their-services/
FACTBC., (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from: http://www.factbc.org/about-us/
FACTBC., (n.d.). FACTBC is growing. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from: http://www.factbc.org/factbc-is-growing/
FACTBC., (n.d.). June AGM and Board Meeting. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from: http://www.factbc.org/june-agm-and-board-meeting/
FACTBC., (n.d.). What has FACTBC been doing over the past year? Retrieved September 7, 2018, from: http://www.factbc.org/what-has-factbc-been-doing-over-the-past-year/
Findlay, L.C., Sunderland, A., Statistics Canada, (2012). Perceived need for mental health care in Canada: results from the 2012 Canadian Community Health survey – mental health, 2012. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2013009/article/11863-eng.htm
Grigg, G., (2016). “Opinion: We need a B.C. college of counselling therapists.” The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-we-need-a-b-c-college-of-counselling-therapists/
Heike, K., (2011).The contextual nature of lobbying: explaining lobbying success in the European Union. European Union Politics, 12 (4).
Knut, B., & Petersen, S.S., & Riillo, C.A.F., (2017). The impact of standards and regulation on innovation in uncertain markets. Research Policy, 46, (1).
Rhodes Wellness College (2018). Professional Counselling Diploma Program. Rhodes Wellness College. Retrieved September 13, 2018 from: https://www.rhodescollege.ca/programs/diploma/counseling-training-courses/