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Safer Mental Health Services for Albertans: Legislation Introduced to Regulate Counselling Therapy, Addictions Counsellors, and Child and Youth Care Counsellors
(Edmonton, AB) November 28, 2018 – The Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists in Alberta (FACT-Alberta) is pleased with the Government of Alberta’s decision to move forward with the introduction of legislation to regulate counselling therapists in Alberta.
As it stands, anyone can call themselves a counsellor and provide mental health services without proper training. This legislation will result in a College of Counselling Therapy to oversee the practices of Counselling Therapists, Addictions Counsellors, and Child and Youth Care Counsellors.
“We are very happy with the Government’s decision to move forward with legislation” said Nicole Imgrund, Chair of FACT-Alberta and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. “We have been working with the Government for years, and have ramped up our efforts over the last year to convince the government that this legislation is much needed and much overdue. The Government has been very supportive of our position and this legislation is evidence that is shares our priority to provide vulnerable Albertans with the safeguards needed to ensure they receive safe and effective counselling services.”
“We’ve had some tremendous support in government for these changes, including Minister Sarah Hoffman, MLA Brandy Payne, MLA Marie Renaud, and MLA Debbie Jabbour. We are also appreciative of the bipartisan support we have received, including Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann and Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson” continued Imgrund.
Regulation currently exists in 4 provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) and in all 50 states in the United States. Regulation protects Albertan’s from the various harms that can come from an unqualified and untrained person practicing in this space. From poor business practices, to incompetency in providing services, to lack of a formal code of ethics or standards to abide by, the risks can be many to unsuspecting clients who need help.
“As more Albertan’s are seeking mental health services than ever before, this piece of legislation comes at a good time. It will ensure that Albertan’s are seeking help from qualified professionals” continued Imgrund.
“As a certified counsellor myself, I know first-hand the devastation clients and families have had from seeking mental health services from untrained and uneducated people claiming to be counsellors. Albertan’s will have peace of mind that counsellors they turn to for help will have the necessary qualifications, ethics guidelines, and higher authority to be accountable towards.”
Legislation has been introduced in the Assembly entitled The Mental Health Services Protection Actand will go through the normal legislative process. FACT-Alberta hopes for a good dialogue among all parties to discuss this legislation and a speedy adoption into the Health Professions Act.
The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in Alberta (FACT-Alberta) is the provincial voice of member associations who are pursuing regulation and the development of the Alberta College of Counselling Therapists under Alberta's Health Professions Act (HPA) to promote and ensure public protection, accessibility and accountability.
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July 25, 2018
Last week, the government released a consultation document to stakeholders to assess the implications of creating a new College of Counselling Therapists. FACT-Alberta has already provided feedback and submitted our comments to the consultation. In our feedback, we provided suggestions specifically regarding the protection of titles. On behalf of our member associations, we are constantly highlighting the importance and necessity of regulation, and working with the government to ensure it best serves the interest of the public and the profession.
We would also like to bring you up to speed on what FACT-Alberta has proposed regulation would look like if a College of Counselling Therapists is established. To help you understand, we’ve created an infographic document to visualize the process and to explain the expedited grandparenting process we are promoting for current FACT-Alberta member practitioners to transition into the College. We can assure you that our top goal is to make this process seamless and easy for our member associations, while ensuring stability in the mental health workforce.
Nicole Imgrund, a member of the FACT-ALBERTA Steering Committee did an interview with the St. Albert Gazette regarding the importance of regulation to protect the publlc.
The full text of the interview can be found by clicking here.