Every Albertan deserves an opportunity to pursue recovery and wellness with access to high-quality mental health services. Counsellors provide an important service to many Albertans seeking this kind of support. To further improve and define the standards of care, the government is working with counsellors and the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) to regulate and license the profession.

As regulated health professionals, counsellors will be held to professional standards including education, safety standards and a code of ethics. Unprofessional or unethical conduct can also be investigated. These are important safeguards that will protect Albertans receiving counselling and improve mental health services for those in need. 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. 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.”

Dan Williams, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

“The regulation of health professions provides assurance that there are appropriate standards, accountability and oversight in place to support safe patient care. This is of vital importance to Alberta’s health care system and to Albertans. As the process towards regulating counsellors in Alberta moves forward, the College of Alberta Psychologists will be developing standards so that safe, competent and ethical patient care is delivered to Albertans.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

Given the close alignment of mental health service delivery between psychologists and counsellors, 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.

“The College of Alberta Psychologists looks forward to working with the Alberta counselling community, stakeholders, Indigenous and rural communities on the shared goal of developing registration and practice standards for counselling that will protect and serve the public interest. This initiative will maintain the integrity and quality of mental health care in Alberta.”

Dr. Richard Spelliscy, registrar and chief executive officer, College of Alberta Psychologists

“Recognizing the importance of mental health services in Alberta, I’m pleased to see government bringing in regulation for this profession. Our team looks forward to working with government and the College of Alberta Psychologists in making this happen for our province.”

Nicole Imgrund, Board Chair, Association of Counselling Therapy of Alberta

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.

“The Confederacy of Treaty Six looks forward to engagement and collaboration in moving forward with the regulation of counsellors. We support opportunities to bring better mental health services to our people in need.”

Grand Chief Cody Thomas, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations

“As an organization focused on recovery, regulation of counsellors is an important path forward. I’m glad to see government taking action to improve mental health service delivery and protect people receiving treatment.”

Earl Thiessen, executive director, Oxford House

The proposal to regulate counsellors was put forward in 2018 within the Mental Health Services Protection Act. Since then, government policy has evolved to prevent professional associations and regulatory colleges from being the same body, as this creates a conflict in protecting Albertans. 

Quick facts

  • The Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 was passed by Alberta’s government to separate regulatory colleges from professional associations and allows for the regulation of multiple professions within a regulatory college.
  • In spring 2024, a legislative amendment will be put forward and if passed, would repeal Section 29 of the Mental Health Services Protection Act.
  • Following consultation, future legislation, if passed, would name the College of Alberta Psychologists as the regulatory body for counsellors in Alberta. 

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