OHS Canada Magazine

Alberta plans to regulate, license mental health counsellors through College of Alberta Psychologists

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March 4, 2024
By Todd Humber

Health & Safety

Photo: terovesalainen/Adobe Stock

Alberta is moving forward with a plan to regulate and license mental health counsellors through the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP).

As regulated health professionals, counsellors will be held to professional standards including education, safety standards and a code of ethics, the provincial government said in a press release.

Unprofessional or unethical conduct can also be investigated, it said, calling the changes “important safeguards” to protect people receiving counselling. It is anticipated that these regulations will be put in place in 2025.

“Ensuring safe and effective mental health supports are available to Albertans when they need them is a priority for our government,” said Dan Williams, Alberta’s Minister of Mental Health and Addiction. “Counsellors play an important part in our mental health care system and regulating them under the College of Alberta Psychologists will add consistent standards that will protect patients and improve care.”

Providing ‘assurance’: Health minister

Adriana LaGrange, the province’s Minister of Health, said regulation of health professionals “provides assurance that there are appropriate standards, accountability, and oversight in place to support safe patient care.”


The province said CAP is well-positioned to oversee and provide regulation for this profession.

“This path will improve the standard of care and ensure consistent delivery of services across the province without the need for a new regulatory body. As part of this, CAP and Alberta’s government will work to minimize red tape by ensuring those who work in the counselling profession and meet requirements are grandfathered into regulation and licensing,” it said.

Dr. Richard Spelliscy, registrar and CEO of the College of Alberta Psychologists, said it looks forward to working with the counselling community, stakeholders, Indigenous and rural communities. “This initiative will maintain the integrity and quality of mental health care in Alberta,” he said.

Legislative changes

Alberta’s government will be putting forward legislative changes that, if passed, would amend the Mental Health Services Protection Act and the Health Professions Act to support these changes and provide legislative clarity on the government’s path forward.

These amendments will enable forward-looking discussion and engagement between the College of Alberta Psychologists, the government, counsellors in Alberta and others affected by these changes. Alberta’s government and CAP will also be prioritizing engagement with Indigenous communities and leaders, it said.


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