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

Yoga with Goats instructor Samantha Richardson gets some attention from one of the goats while stretching on her mat June 15 at O’Keefe Ranch. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Yoga gone to the goats at North Okanagan ranch

Get your downward dog on with some four-legged friends at O’Keefe

The Rockets salute the crowd on the completion of the 2019-20 season. The team is hoping for billet families to get the 2021-22 season off the ground. (Claire Palmer photo)
Golden Rockets looking for billet families

The Rockets are looking for billet families for the 2021-22 KIJHL season

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’

Kurt Swanson’s dog Kona takes a break from the heat on the Summer Solstice near Cranbrook, B.C. (Kurt Swanson photo)
Very warm temperatures forecast across the Kootenays this weekend

Nelson, Castlegar forecast to hit 39, Cranbrook 37

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice, and provides Kelowna Capital News with weekly stories from the world of local, national and international law. (Contributed)
Kootnekoff: Access to justice and residential schools in Canada

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Mayla Janzen and Ashley Hoppichler, with her daughters Lily and Sophia, are bringing a Friday evening market to Polson Park, starting July 2. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Entrepreneurs craft up Vernon night market

Friday evening Polson Park event to take place throughout the summer

Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian and Tina William lead the Every Child Matters March in Enderby Monday, June 21. (Lyndsey Leon photo)
Hundreds march with Splatsin in Enderby for #215

300 orange-shirt wearing people of all backgrounds turned out in support

Wade Cudmore, seen here with his mother Kathy Richardson, had his first court appearance in relation to first degree murder charges in the deaths of Erick and Carlo Fryer Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Kathy Richardson/Facebook)
Man charged in Naramata double homicide appears in Penticton court

Wade Cudmore appeared for the first time in relation to first degree murder charges

Most Read