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Below is information related to COVID-19, and recommendations on practices to implement until the risk passes.

This is going to affect your practice

Practitioners are encouraged to consider putting in place the following measures until the risk passes:

  • Developing a communication plan to contact your clients if you have to reschedule appointments or are considering a switch to tele-counselling
  • Actively screening clients over the phone before scheduling or confirming appointments for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19
  • Asking clients with fever, cough or difficulty breathing to make appropriate alternate arrangements for appointments, including distance appointments or rescheduling appointments for a later date
  • Posting signs in your reception area identifying concerning symptoms and asking clients to identify themselves if they are experiencing any of them

 

  • Relaxing appointment rescheduling and cancellation policies until such time that risk has passed, e.g. by waiving cancellation fees
  • Making tissues, a garbage can, and hand sanitizer (or a handwashing station) available in your setting
  • Ensuring high-touch surfaces (such as doorknobs, light switches, phones and sink faucets) are cleaned with a disinfectant regularly, or even between client appointments
  • Engaging in proper handwashing technique between sessions with clients
  • Seeking medical care early if you yourself are experiencing symptoms and providing your health provider with information about travel

Private Practitioners – FAQ

Are there any benefits available for employees who are not eligible for EI?

On March 25, 2020 the Federal Government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support employees and businesses facing hardship due to the pandemic. The CERB would provide $2000 a month for up to four months. This taxable benefit is available to employees who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Applicants would begin receiving their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and is available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

The CERB replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit which were announced on March 18, 2020.

For more information on the CERB please see the Federal Government’s announcement online: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html.

Important Considerations

Can I switch to electronic practice? What platform should I use?

If you have the appropriate technology in place and possess the array of competencies that are necessary to engage clients in a safe, effective therapeutic process, an electronic practice may be an option for you to continue to provide care to clients remotely.

Please ensure that you consider issues such as consent, confidentiality, and professional liability insurance.

CCPA launched guidelines for the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy in May 2018. They may be found here.

The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario has information to provide guidance on electronic practice available on their website:

Standard 3.4 Electronic Practice

Electronic Practice Guideline

If you are in a regulated province (NS, QC, ON, NB), check the website of your regulator for any additional guidance that may be provided for your province.


CCPA cannot recommend a specific platform because technology is constantly evolving and there are so many options available.   However, we are aware that many practitioners may be considering implementing electronic practice over the short term.

The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) has suggested that practitioners visit https://ontariomd.news/. This resource includes a comprehensive list of electronic tools that were developed specifically for ‘video visits’ and other forms of virtual or remote medical practice. The list was put together by the professional association for physicians in this province – the Ontario Medical Association  – and an eHealth delivery partner – OntarioMD – who are working together to support physicians in providing care during the pandemic.

Please note that CCPA cannot attest to the effectiveness or appropriateness of these platforms.

Reactions to COVID-19: Why are they important?

Many factors play an important role in how people and communities respond to illness and manage its spread.

Some people under-respond to the threat of COVID-19. These people think the danger is exaggerated.  Under-responders may not practice good hygiene, and they don’t stay home if they’re sick. Under-responding could spread the infection to family and friends.

Some people over-respond to the threat of COVID-19. These people become highly anxious about the infection and may go to great lengths to keep themselves safe. Over-responding by one person seeds fear in others because fear is contagious.

What can people do to stay calm?

Listen to the advice of the municipal, provincial and national government if/how COVID-19 is spreading in your area. See the resources below.

Check trusted sources of information:

Change your habits around washing hands, touching your face, socializing and coughing.

Some degree of concern is reasonable if it leads you to be proactive and take appropriate precautions, like staying home or social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and refraining from unnecessary travel.

Keep things in perspective by consulting sources of information that are balanced and evidence-based.

Fear is contagious. If you act frightened or engage in panic buying, then others will react with fear as well. You have a responsibility to your loved ones, friends, and the rest of the community to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in a sensible, reasoned manner. Try to “lead by example.”

Where can I get more information?

Guidance that is regularly updated from trusted sources:

How can I tell whether I should seek professional help for COVID-19-related stress or anxiety?

Look for warning signs such as the following:

  • Persistent anxiety, worry, insomnia, or irritability.
  • Needlessly avoiding social contacts to the point that you become unnecessarily isolated.
  • Persistently checking your body (e.g., taking your temperature many times each day) or persistently seeking reassurance about your health from doctors, friends, family, or the Internet.
  • Performing excessive or unnecessary hygiene precautions, such as wearing a facemask at home or repeatedly washing your hands when there is no need to do so.
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs, or overeating, as a way of coping with stress.
  • Feedback from friends or family that you seem unusually worried or stressed out.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, and ensure our public health system can continue to meet the demands placed on it. Social distancing is one of the most effective measures for reducing the overall speed of transmission, to protect and preserve the capacity of the healthcare system to care for severe cases. Social distancing is specific to limiting physical/in-person connections. It is important to stay connected to each other through other means to maintain our connections and support one another (email, phone, and social media).

Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and cancelling events.  Examples of social distancing measures can include: suspending classes in or closing schools, modifying hours of operations for services, changing workplace practices to allow flexible shift plans and telework, closing theatres, cancelling large scale indoor and outdoor events (e.g. sporting events, concerts, parades, festivals), and suspending or limiting transportation means.