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

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

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

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

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

Most Read