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

Emergency crews responded to a large truck fire under the Alex Fraser Bridge around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Christine Tobias/Twitter photo)
Dog dies in truck fire under Alex Fraser Bridge

No people were injured in blaze that consumed two semi-trucks around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
15 arressted by Delta Police anti-gang team last week

Police seized a vehicle, debit/credit machine and 250 pre-packaged bags of various drugs June 9-12

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey ranks eighth in Top-10 list of cities of the future in the Americas

This is according to the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of London, England with a circulation of 15,488

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Audrey Inouye (right) with her two sons Kiyoshi McMillan (left) and Kaito McMillian drop off her milk to hospital volunteer Sylvia Hendel at a human milk depot on October 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Fraser Health appeals for breast milk donations after unexplained drop in supply

Give your breast milk and save newborn lives, the health authority is encouraging mothers

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

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

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Most Read