Learn more about the profession of counselling/psychotherapy
through CCPA’s government submissions, issue papers, media press releases,
Publications relating to the profession of counselling/psychotherapy
CCPA Advocacy Toolkit for Members
COVID-19 Impacts on the Mental Health and Substance Use Health (MHSUH) Workforce in Canada
Learn more about this research from Canadian Health Workforce Network & Mental Health Commission of Canada, in which CCPA participated!
Canada’s mental health care system is under significant strain: an estimated 5.3 million Canadians reported they needed help for their mental health in 2017, but of these, 43% (2.3 million) reported that their mental health needs were only partially met or fully unmet. The need for counselling was the most likely to be unmet (Moroz, Moroz, D’Angelo, 2020). Improving access to counsellors/psychotherapists is essential in order to address the barriers in accessing mental health services.
CCPA advocates for improved access to counselling/psychotherapy services with the Federal Government:
1 – GST/HST exclusion for all mental health services, including those provided by counsellors and psychotherapists
Counsellors and psychotherapists are currently NOT exempt from charging GST/HST. CCPA encourages members to learn more about their tax obligations through the Canada Revenue Agency’s website.
Taxation is a federal matter, and as the largest national association for counsellors and psychotherapists, CCPA has been advocating for the removal of tax on counselling and psychotherapy services since 2004. The Excise Tax Act (ETA) lists professions and services that are exempt from charging GST/HST; in order for counsellors and psychotherapists to be listed as exempt medical professionals in the ETA, the profession must be regulated as a health profession in at least five provinces or territories.
As such, CCPA has taken a leadership position in supporting regulation of the profession of counselling and psychotherapy across Canada through our involvement in provincial federations and coalitions, as well as providing opportunities for said federations and provincial regulatory colleges to come together to collaborate on shared priorities.
In the last decade, CCPA has supported a number of provinces in regulating the profession of counselling and psychotherapy: Nova Scotia (2011, Registered Counselling Therapist), Quebec (2012, Psychotherapy Permit), Ontario (2015, Registered Psychotherapist), New Brunswick (2017, Licensed Counselling Therapist) and Prince Edward Island (2021, Counselling Therapist). Despite receiving royal assent in 2018 to regulate the profession, Alberta is still awaiting proclamation as the final step in the regulatory process.
At the time that Alberta received royal assent and would have been the fifth province to regulate the profession, CCPA applied for the counselling and psychotherapy profession’s exemption in the ETA through the Department of Finance. The application was declined because the regulated provinces did not regulate the same professional title. Despite documentation and discussions that demonstrated how the professions share a common scope of practice even though different professional titles are used, the profession is not eligible for the exemption because the provincial legislation that regulates the professions does not use the same title and scope of practice language in describing the professions.
Furthermore, in 2017, CCPA supported a private member’s bill by MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault to amend the ETA and exempt counselling and psychotherapy services from GST/HST. Listen to the press conference with MP Dusseault and CCPA and read Bill C-393:
Unfortunately, an election was called before MPs could vote on the bill. Dusseault’s interest in this issue did, however, lead to an invitation to appear before the House of Commons Finance Committee to speak to CCPA’s annual pre-budget submission which included a recommendation on GST/HST exemption:
CCPA continues to advocate for tax exemption in our annual pre-budget submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and Department of Finance, as well as meetings with Federal Members of Parliament on this issue.
In Spring 2021, CCPA’s member advocacy survey provided valuable information about the GST/HST practices and barriers of members, and helped inform key advocacy messages on the GST/HST matter. Staff met once again with the Department of Finance in 2021 to explore alternatives to obtaining an exemption for the profession in the ETA. The meeting unfortunately did not result in a GST/HST exemption for the profession, but once again helped inform next steps in CCPA’s advocacy plan on this issue.
During the 2021 federal election, CCPA launched a successful letter-writing campaign to all candidates across Canada. The campaign included one letter devoted to the GST/HST exemption for the profession of counselling and psychotherapy.
Federal advocacy will continue to include meetings with Members of Parliament to raise awareness on the issue of unequal access to mental health care services provided by counsellors and psychotherapists, as well as submissions to relevant House of Commons Committees and meetings with policy makers at the Department of Finance and Canada Revenue Agency. Please see the our website for the most recent submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, House of Commons Finance Committee, and Department of Finance.
CCPA also continues to support regulation of the profession across Canada; we will re-apply for exemption once the fifth province regulates the counselling therapist or psychotherapist title with the aim of ensuring that practitioners of both titles obtain an exemption under the ETA. Stay up to date on the process of regulation through the summary and links on our Regulation Across Canada page.
In the meantime, we continue to work on achieving recognition from the Department of Finance that the counselling therapy and psychotherapy professions in regulated provinces are the same profession in all but name.
2 – Permanent inclusion of counsellors and psychotherapists in the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP)
The Public Services Health Care Plan (PSHCP) is the largest health insurance plan in Canada that covers over 750,000 federal public servants, members of Parliament, federal judges, employees of certain designated agencies, veterans, members of the Canadian Forces and RCMP, pensioners and eligible dependents. The plan is currently administered through Sunlife Insurance.
The Government of Canada has awarded the contract to administer the PSHCP to the Canada Life Assurance Company (Canada Life). The new contract will come into effect July 1, 2023, following a transition period. Plan members (your clients) will continue to send all claims and requests to Sun Life until June 30, 2023. Please note that this change will have no impact on PSHCP negotiated benefits.
Following years of advocacy on the issue, in the spring of 2020, temporary changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) were implemented which accepted counsellors and psychotherapists as eligible mental health practitioners. These changes continue to remain in effect until indicated otherwise.
Negotiations began to renew the plan last spring, and remain ongoing. CCPA has actively advocated for the temporary inclusion of counsellors/psychotherapists to become permanent in the plan. Unions taking part in the negotiations have confirmed their support for this permanent inclusion and are representing our interests at the bargaining table. CCPA is also advocating to ensure the new plan allows counsellors/counselling therapists/ psychotherapists to register for the direct billing platform alongside other allied medical professions.
3 – Inclusion of all counsellors and psychotherapists nation-wide in the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Plan for First Nations and Inuit
More information to come – stay tuned!
2022 Department of Finance Pre-Budget Submission
Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2022 Budget (August 2021)
Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (January 2021)
2021 Department of Finance Pre-Budget Submission
Submission to the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2021 Budget (August 2020)
Submission to the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2020 Budget (August 2019)
The profession of counselling/psychotherapy is diverse; practitioners working in diverse settings such as private practice, schools, universities, agencies, and health care. CCPA’s issue papers highlight professional practice issues relevant to the counselling/psychotherapy in Canada.
The Urgent Need for Counselling Services
The Urgent Need for Improved Indigenous Mental Health Services in Canada
Supporting Transition to Adulthood Among Youth with Mental Health Needs
Career Matters: the Critical Role Career Development Plays in Mental Health and Wellness
The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) is a national bilingual association that promotes the profession of counselling and psychotherapy and its contribution to the mental health and well-being of all Canadians. CCPA is available to the media to speak on matters related to the role of the profession in all healthcare, educational and industry sectors; contact us to arrange an interview with one of our spokespersons.
For media requests, please contact:
Impact Public Affairs
CCPA is committed to recognizing and supporting various special days and weeks throughout the year, both nationally and internationally, by issuing press releases to the media to highlight these important events. In many cases, the release results in an interview with a CCPA expert on radio, television or in the print media. In this way, CCPA is helping to raise awareness of issues that affect the profession, while promoting the services offered by counsellors and psychotherapists and sharing valuable resources, such as the Association’s Let’s Talk website, which is designed to help people living with mental illness and mental health issues.
You will also find in this section relevant news releases from national groups that CCPA supports and belongs to (such as the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health) or other organizations (such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada).
November 22, 2021 – National Addictions Awareness Week
November 1, 2021 – Canada Career Month (CCM)
October 4, 2021 – Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)
September 30, 2021 – National Day of Truth and Reconcilitation
September 10, 2021 – World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD)
June 21, 2021 – National Indigenous Peoples Day
May 13, 2021 – CCPA 2021 Professional Champion Award
May 3, 2021 – Mental Health Week
November 23 – National Addictions Awareness Week 2020
November 9 – Canada Career Month 2020
October 4-10: Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020
September 10 – World Suicide Prevention Day
July 13 – Mental Health Action Plan
June 18 – National Indigenous Peoples Day 2020
December 6 – L’École Polytechnique de Montréal: 30 Years Later
November 25 – Talking Can Help Campaign
September 10, 2016 – World Suicide Prevention Day: Having the Difficult Conversation
March 21, 2016 – Racism and Mental Health Intricately Linked
February 1, 2016 – CCPA Celebrates Third Annual Canadian School Counselling Week
November 2nd, 2015 – ‘Decent Work, Healthy Lives’: Canada Career Week Launches Nationwide
September 22nd, 2015 – CCPA Supports Health Action Lobby’s Call to Action on Health Care – The Canadian Way
September 4th, 2015 – Parties Need to Take Action on Youth Un- and Underemployment
August 4th, 2015 – Pan-Canadian Survey Raises Warning Signs on Mental Health Services
June 19, 2015 – Celebrate National Aboriginal Day Sunday, June 21st
April 8, 2015 – Join Us in Celebrating 50 Years at CCPA’s 2015 Annual Conference
March 16, 2015 – Building Awareness to Better Your Brain
February 2, 2015 – Canadian School Counselling Week
December 8, 2014 – Raising Awareness for Violence Against Women
December 3, 2014 – CCPA Recognizes International Day of Persons with Disabilities
November 17, 2014 – Stand Up! (to Bullying)
November 3, 2014 – Canada Career Week Launches Nationwide
June 27, 2014 – Canada’s Counsellors and Psychotherapists Proudly Celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day
March 31, 2014 – END OF 2004 HEALTH ACCORD; FEDERAL LEADERSHIP REQUIRED
March 5, 2014 – Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk gets ready to roll
February 18, 2014 – Budget 2014 – Mental Health Missing In Action
January 23, 2014 – CAMIMH Seeks Nominations for the Champions of Mental Health Awards
December 6, 2013 – National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 3, 2013 – CCPA Proudly Acknowledges International Day of Persons with Disabilities
October 31, 2013 – Mental Illness Awareness Week photos
October 16, 2013 – Indigenous youth get help to achieve their career potential
October 8, 2013 – From Awareness to Action: Moving Forward for Mental Health
September 9, 2013 – CCPA Acknowledges International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day
July 22, 2013 – Congratulations to CCC/CCPA member Dr. Rod McCormick
June 21, 2013 – National Aboriginal Day
April 25, 2013 – Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk
January 18, 2013 – Canada’s First Ever Voluntary Workplace Mental Health Standard