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Regulation Update, February 2023

(Current as of December 2023)

As an advocate for the profession and our members, CCPA strives to stay attuned with regulatory developments and potential new avenues and opportunities for collaboration. To this end, CCPA has recently undergone extensive consultation and careful consideration to determine the most appropriate next steps to ensure the achievement of regulation of the counselling and psychotherapy profession in BC. The outcome of which is the decision by the CCPA National Board of Directors to leave FACTBC.    

As we work toward regulation of the counselling and psychotherapy profession in BC as efficiently and quickly as possible, the CCPA Board has made the decision to enter into a formal partnership agreement with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). CCPA intends to work closely and strategically with BCACC, a widely recognized provincial professional association by the BC government and other key stakeholders such as regulatory bodies, insurance providers, employers, and universities.  

Our collaboration with BCACC will show a united and organized front. Our combined membership brings strength and volume to form a louder voice for the profession—an important factor when governments are considering regulation. 

In addition to working together to prepare for regulation, this new partnership will offer other benefits to CCPA members in BC through formal endorsement by each association of the other, promotion of the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) and Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) designations as equivalent, co-hosting of professional development activities, joint presentations to universities, and member discounts for conferences/events.  

We are working diligently with BCACC to bring this collaboration to life and continue the work of seeking regulation of the counselling and psychotherapy profession in BC.  

Members of the CCPA and BCACC can expect updates on this partnership as they become available via direct email communications.  

What is the difference between a professional association and a regulatory college?

Professional associations focus on the practitioner.

A professional association’s mandate is to advocate for the profession, provide ongoing learning opportunities, increase awareness and recognition of the association and represent the needs of its members.

The focus of a regulatory college is on public protection from potential harm of practitioners.

Will I need to be a member of a national professional association after joining the new college?

College membership + Association membership = Best practice

Colleges and professional associations have two distinct and separate functions. Colleges exist to serve and protect the interests of the public, the consumers of services, while professional associations exist to serve the interests of its members and the profession, the providers of services.

There are clear benefits to retaining membership in your professional association after joining the new College. CCPA will:

  • advocate on behalf of the profession;
  • provide liability insurance, and;
  • be an excellent source of information for you if the laws and regulations regarding the profession change. CCPA will help you interpret these changes and will lobby the government if the changes adversely affect your practice or public protection.
Is there any difference or benefit to being a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC – voluntary certification title offered by the CCPA) versus a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC – voluntary certification title offered by the BCACC)?

CCPA is a national professional association while BCACC is a provincial professional association. There are many similarities between the offerings of a provincial and national association. This includes professional development and networking opportunities, liability insurance and educational requirements for certification.

Being a member of a national association provides members with:

  • an additional benefit of connecting with professionals across the country;
  • having your needs advocated for by a highly reputable and nationally recognized association amongst municipal, provincial and federal government bodies, other health associations and external stakeholders such as insurers and;
  • an excellent source of information for you if the laws and regulations regarding the profession change.
Do I have to be a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) or a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) to enter into the future regulatory college for psychotherapy/counselling therapy in BC?

There is no certainty around which title will be used for regulation, or what the requirements to join the College will be. In other provinces, the government did not work with one association nor did it only accept one designation for entry into the College. Government discussions have led CCPA to believe that no decision has been made with regard to the title or entrance requirements. We also know that in most provinces, once regulation occurred, there were many practitioners who registered with the College that did not belong to any association. The government cannot deny access to the College for these practitioners.

The provincial government will decide which title is most appropriate based on their research and consultations. What is most important are the requirements for practice and this will determine entry more than a voluntary title that is used by a provincial association does. The requirements leading to the CCC and RCC designations are very similar and both of a high standard.

What we do know is that there will be at least two routes to entry: a legacy route and a regular route. The legacy route will be for existing practitioners and its requirements will most likely be different than those for the Regular Route (recent graduates). The requirements for each route will be determined by the government and articulated in the Registration Regulations developed by them.

CCPA is recognized nationally for its high standards when it comes to educational and practice standards for the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) designation. In other regulated provinces, the Regular Route has required a master’s level of education. If you have your CCC you have met this requirement. The legacy route may also require a combination of education, years of experience, direct client contact hours, and supervision hours.

Many are wondering about the above title question given third-party insurance coverage. Upon regulation, insurance providers typically include the use of the provincially regulated title in their health benefit plans.

What has been CCPA’s involvement and influence in the regulation process in other provinces?

Statutory regulation is a provincial matter and every province has approached regulation differently.

Since the nineties, CCPA has been actively involved in regulation, supporting each province financially and/or with human resources to move the regulation quest forward. In fact, CCPA has established a fund (The Legislative Support Fund) to which provinces can apply for funding to support their regulation activities.


CCPA helped to found FACT-NL, wrote the application for regulation and is currently in active discussions with the NL Ministry of Health regarding the application. FACT-NL has come to rely on CCPA as the source of information on what is happening across the country. This then influences the government with regard to policy.


CCPA assisted in answering the information requirements of the government and once regulation started to move forward in 2020, actively supported the PEI regulation team and attended meetings with the senior policy advisor responsible for the regulations. CCPA has provided financial support to PEI during its pursuit of regulation.


CCPA was an active member in assisting the New Brunswick team over the finish line to proclamation. CCPA also provided financial support.


CCPA belonged to the Ontario Alliance of Mental Health Practitioners and took a leadership role in discussions with the Ontario government from the inception of the legislation to the proclamation of the College.  Because the ON process was very detailed, CCPA held 14 workshops around ON to assist ON practitioners in completing their applications and also supplied telephone support to those practitioners who had unusual qualifications. CCPA also provided financial support to the Alliance.


CCPA has been actively involved in the group seeking regulation in Manitoba. In order to align with groups around the country, CCPA influenced the Manitoba group to rebrand their efforts as FACT-Manitoba. CCPA was involved in completing the application, answering government questions, the public consultation process, responding to the public consultation process and assisting in research to answer questions which will be posed at the public hearings. CCPA attended meetings with the Ministry of Health to support the FACT-Manitoba team. CCPA provides financial support to FACT-Manitoba.


CCPA founded FACT-SK and wrote the application required by the government. CCPA organized meetings of FACT-SK, responded to government queries and organized letter writing campaigns to the government.


CCPA assisted in the foundation of FACT-AB and has supported the regulation cause in Alberta with financial resources, and human resources.


CCPA has been a member of the various groups seeking regulation in BC. CCPA’s involvement started in the nineties with the first application to the government. CCPA has been actively supporting FACT-BC and has been a member of many of the committees that established the competency profile and the registration regulations that will be suggested to the government when that time comes. CCPA has also attended government meetings and has been a source of information for the government with regard to how regulation occurred in other provinces. In that sense, financial and human resources have been provided.

Throughout its activities, CCPA has worked at the provincial level to support the various groups seeking regulation. Once regulation is achieved, CCPA remains as a support to practitioners in the province by organizing provincial alliances. One such example is PRPA (The Partnership of Registered Psychotherapists Associations).

Every year CCPA organizes a Cross-Country Checkup at its conference to inform practitioners of the regulation activity in each province. CCPA has also provided financial support to FACTBC since 2004.

Will British Columbia use the title of Counselling Therapist for Regulation?

At this point there is no way of knowing for sure.

CCPA will continue to work toward influencing the government to declare Counselling Therapist as the regulated title as this is the title being recognized in other provinces (on a regulatory level – such as NS, NB, PEI, and AB – even if not yet proclaimed). In fact it was the BC Ministry of Health that first suggested Counselling Therapist as the title as this has been the one used in many other provinces.

Ensuring consistency as far as titles go for the profession nationally is important when considering issues related to mobility and public recognition of the profession. Doing so also supports our campaign to remove GST/HST from counselling services. This would help as the federal government has stated that it requires the profession to be regulated in 5 provinces. Recently this has been amended to require the titles to be the same in all provinces.  Supporting BC to be regulated under Counselling Therapist is another way for us to meet this requirement beyond our current campaign. (www.taxfreetherapy.ca)

I’m considering applying for the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) designation now but should I wait?

It can be a tough decision to make at this stage and we recognize this. However, there are clear benefits to being a certified member of CCPA regardless of the status of regulation in your province. We stand by our members. We have your back. A college is there to protect the public, and we’re here to protect and support you.

When it comes to questions regarding ethical issues, professional standards of practice, liability insurance, professional development opportunities and an accessible national community to support you throughout your career – we’re the one entity you’re going to want to turn to. You might also see a benefit in gathering information now in preparation for regulation and having all of that on file after applying for and obtaining your CCC designation.

As we await regulation in the province, CCPA continues to advocate for recognition of the CCC designation by insurers and employers & we have made significant progress in this area. Examples include Veterans Affairs Canada, the Public Service Healthcare Plan & many private insurance plans. Recently we attended & presented at the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association annual national conference, continuing to promote CCCs in unregulated provinces such as BC.

Holding this designation increases the likelihood that professional services will be covered and may open the door to job opportunities.

What is the process of registration as a Regulated Health Professional already belonging to a Regulating College in another province?

When the Colleges in other provinces formed, they had a special application route for anyone who is already regulated in another province. In fact, this is required because of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. The new College in BC will most likely establish such a route. The timing of all of this is not known at this time.