FACTBC – Q & A
What is FACTBC?
FACT BC (The Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists in BC) is an alliance of professional associations that represent counsellors and therapists practicing throughout BC.
What is the purpose of FACT BC?
FACT BC is the provincial voice of member associations who are pursuing regulation and the development of the BC College of Counselling Therapists. The Federation is working to establish a College to promote and ensure public protection, accessibility and accountability.
Will FACT BC become a disciplinary body for the mental health field?
No, FACT BC is a group of associations with a common interest in pursuing regulation.
Copies of FACTBC meeting minutes are posted here on the ACCT website after each meeting. To stay in ‘the know’, ensure you read these updates. ACCT commits to keeping our members informed of any new developments.
What is a Professional Association?
A professional association or professional health society, is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular health profession and the interests of the individuals engaged in that profession, also acting from within the profession to safeguard the public interest. In representing the interests of its professional practitioners, a professional health association is often involved in the development and monitoring of professional educational programs, and the updating of skills.
What is the difference between a College and a Professional Association?
Focus: The practitioner (YOU!)
Mandate: to advocate for the profession; to provide ongoing professional learning opportunities; to provide cost-effect liability insurance; to conduct profession-related research and development.
Focus: The public
Mandate: to protect the public from potential harm.
Who is FACTBC made up of?
Members of FACTBC as of March 2016:
There are also a couple several professional associations that are recognized as “observer associations” of FACTBC.
About Regulation and ACCT
Questions and Answers
What is changing?
How counselling is being regulated is changing right across Canada. The governments of each province are in the process of putting into place new regulations (Reserved Acts) that will govern the counselling profession. Currently a counsellor can register with an association, such as ACCT, and then practice, in the future all counsellors, who desire to use the title "counsellor" and/or "therapist" or any combination of these titles will be required to register with the proposed “College of Counselling Therapist of BC” (the ‘college”). Therefore, a practitioner may still counsel without being registered by "the College", as "the College" protects the use of title, versus scope of practice.
As ‘regulation” is happening across Canada and here in Canada we have an Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT); the changes implemented in BC will need to be similar to the standards already put into regulations in other provinces i.e. Ontario.
What is government regulation?
Government regulation occurs when the provincial government grants certain rights and responsibilities to a profession through legislation in exchange for the profession regulating its members in the public interest.
What is the purpose of government regulation?
The goal of regulation is to reduce the risk of harm to the public while maximizing the well-being of the client. Provincial or territorial governments grant professional self-regulation as a privilege that requires “standards of practice”. Under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), these standards must be comparable across Canada.
Why regulate a profession?
Historically, national and provincial professional associations have held a dual mandate: serving both a regulatory function (i.e. certification, standards of education, standards of practice, code of ethics, and complaint investigations) and a member service function (i.e. promoting the profession, advertising and public relations, offering liability and benefits insurance, conferences, journals, newsletters, and continuing education).
With the development of a separate provincial regulatory body for counsellors with an exclusive regulatory function, the professional associations will divest themselves of that function and focus on member services. This will help to reduce public confusion about their roles.
Regulation may also have benefits for practitioners. The regulation of a profession gives it more status in the eyes of other regulated profession, may provide access to third-party billing and may provide more employment opportunities. It should be noted that regulation does not guarantee these benefits. Once regulation occurs your profession association will advocate with insurance companies and employers to realize these benefits.
What is a College?
A College is the legal entity granted authority under provincial legislation to regulate the profession.
When will the College be in place?
ACCT believes at this point in time, May 2014, that the College will be in place no later than 3 years from now (2017), and it may be in place as little as 2 years from now.
What is a "reserved act"?
A "reserved act" defines a particular professional intervention that is "reserved" exclusively to be performed by members of a particular College. An example might be that a particular College has identified the reserved act of diagnosing a mental health illness as only being carried out by members of The College of Doctors and Physicians. This ability or skill would then become part of the competency profile for that particular College, and other Colleges would not be able to perform this act. In other provinces, reserved act is sometimes called a "controlled act". The terms are synonymous.
What is AIT?
Agreement on Internal Trade requires provincial regulators to use competencies as a means of comparing the requirements of other jurisdictions in order to make labour mobility decisions. This is to protect a worker's right to move from province to province and transfer their regulated status without having to upgrade education or qualifications. In general, AIT requires a competency-based regulatory approach in order to assess workers across various provinces that have a variety of trainings within a particular profession. This will also mean that BC will be using the Regulations already in place in other provinces to set the standards for BC.
More info: Agreement on Internal Trade
What is “scope of practice"?
Scope of practice is what a professional practice; a provider such as counsellor is allowed to perform, under a specific set of regulations. The Health Professions Act reviews requests for "limited scope of practice" and this ultimately establishes the legal parameters of a particular discipline, or in this case, professional groups with a shared area of practice, namely counselling therapy. Under the expected regulations, one would only be able to counsel inside the regulations specified “scope of practice”.
What is title protection?
After implementation of the regulatory College, any counsellor who decides to not belong to the college would not identify as a “counsellor” as this would be a protected title under the regulation. The regulatory college would have legal powers to go after those using protected titles. Those counsellors not registered with the regulatory college may not be allowed to use the RTC designation or call themselves a counsellor, or advertise in any way they practice “counselling”.
For more information: please refer to FACT BC website at: www.factbc.org
For a Chronology of Counselling Regulation in BC, please refer to The Music Therapy Association of British Columbia at:
FACT Minutes, May 2014 on ACCT website
Task Group Updates – various dates 2010 to 2016
BC Ministry of Health, Professional Regulation website
(1997) HPC’s Recommendations on the Designation of Counselling
(1998) Task Group’s Joint Response to the Discussion Paper on the Regulation of Counsellors
(2001) HPC’s Safe Choices
(2005) National Symposium Summary Report on the Regulation of Counsellors across Canada
(2007) Task Group’s Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists
(2008) AIT Commentary
(2011) Task Group’s Submission on Risks of Harm
(2012) Task Group’s Designation of Counselling Therapists
(2016) Task Group's Updated Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Counselling Therapists