The province is proposing a new professional regulatory college and licensing requirements to protect Albertans receiving mental health services or attending residential substance-use treatment facilities.
If passed, the Mental Health Services Protection Act would create a new College of Counselling Therapy to regulate counselling professionals and protect the titles of counselling therapist, addiction counsellor, drug and alcohol counsellor and child and youth care counsellor. In addition, the title psychotherapist would be protected for exclusive use by the new College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta, the College of Alberta Psychologists and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.
The legislation would also increase requirements for residential substance-use treatment facilities. The centres would be licensed, empowering the province to enforce minimum standards and address complaints. All patients would receive written service contracts with clear expectations, costs and a process for complaints. Operators would be able to apply for a licence starting July 1, 2019 and be required to be licensed by Nov. 1, 2019.
“For too long, Albertans looking for a therapist or private substance-use treatment facility have been left to figure it out on their own. This legislation would take away the guesswork, helping families get the safe, competent care they need with peace of mind. I’m proud that our government is taking action to protect Albertans receiving these critical supports.”
“We celebrate the government’s decision to include the counselling profession in the Health Professions Act. This legislation will provide vulnerable Albertans with much-needed safeguards to ensure the counselling services they receive are safe and effective. This legislation is evidence of the government’s commitment to mental health and to carrying out the recommendations put forth in the Valuing Mental Health report.”
“As parents who have lost a child, we have waited a long time and will be relieved once private treatment centres are regulated. Restaurants and spas have inspectors checking on them, and so should the facilities our loved ones go to because it is a matter of life or death. When someone needs help, they and their family shouldn’t have to worry that the facility is unsafe and not subject to regulations and inspections.”
If the legislation is passed, Alberta would become the third province to regulate private residential substance-use treatment, and the fifth province to regulate providers of counselling services.