B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks in the B.C. legislature, December 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks in the B.C. legislature, December 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. counsellors won’t get their own regulatory college, minister says

Professional self-discipline groups being reduced from 20 to six

B.C. has associations that require a master’s degree or more to register clinical counsellors, but there is no requirement to join them and anyone who wants to offer counselling services in the province can do so.

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is pushing for creation of a college of counsellors, similar to self-regulating organizations that uphold standards for doctors, dentists, nurses and other health professionals. Furstenau pressed Health Minister Adrian Dix for a second day Thursday to expedite the change, citing increased demand for counselling services in the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the regulation would “open the door” for counsellors to qualify for their services to be paid for by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan.

Dix said the B.C. government is continuing the biggest-ever overhaul of self-regulating professional bodies begun in 2019, consolidating 20 colleges into six and making changes to ensure they focus on protecting patients rather than their own members. Bringing counsellors under that kind of regulation is not a matter of “ministerial fiat,” Dix told the B.C. legislature June 3.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Dix said adding another college at a time of major consolidation is not the direction of the reform, which will make it easier for professionals to join one of the six new bodies. There are other professions, including respiratory therapists, who are also waiting for inclusion.

“The challenge with counsellors has always been the diversity of those who call themselves counsellors,” Dix said. “That’s why we’ve made this extraordinary effort to bring the highest-quality changes, unanimously supported by all parties in the house.”

RELATED: B.C. dental profession needs better regulation, expert says

RELATED: B.C. combining medical colleges, increasing public oversight

The consolidation plan was released in the summer of 2020, after an investigation into the College of Dental Surgeons where a British expert found the elected board of directors was more focused on protecting dentists from complaints rather than on the safety of patients. The new system does away with member-elected directors, creating a new College of Oral Health Professionals that combines oversight of dental assistants, hygienists, technicians and denturists as well as dentists.

Counsellors would likely fall under a new Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professions, which is recommended to include psychologists as well as speech therapists, optometrists, dietitians and lab technicians.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politics

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read