Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers may assist you in understanding the role and purpose of FACT-Alberta, ACTA, and regulation.

What is ACTA?

What is government regulation?

What is the purpose of regulating a profession?

What is a Health Regulatory College?

What is a Professional Association?

What is the difference between a College and a Professional Association?

Should I join a professional association or will I still need to be a member of my professional association after joining the new College?

What are credentials and competencies and how do they apply to regulation?

What is the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)?

What is title protection?

What is the College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta?

What is Bill 30 The Mental Health Services Protection Act?

When will the College of Counselling Therapy sections of the Act come into force?

How do I join the College?

What are the requirements to join the College?

Is joining the College mandatory?

What are “Currency Hours”?

What profession do I register for?

What titles will be available to those registered with the CCTA?

What if I have more than one profession’s approved expedited certificate / designation?

How do I know which professions I will be required to register with to continue my work?

How does this impact me if I am already a regulated member of another college in Alberta providing counselling?

Can I work with children or youth without registering as a CYCC?

Can I continue to provide counselling in the area of addictions if I am a Counselling Therapist?

I am not sure if the Counselling Therapist title 'fits' for the work I do...

What are the Expedited Route fees?


What is ACTA?

ACTA is The Association of Counselling Therapy of Alberta.

FACT-Alberta was established to advocate for regulation of the profession in Alberta. Members of FACT-Alberta are practitioner associations, with the Steering Committee being comprised of representatives from these associations. In order for a college to be established, FACT-Alberta was asked by the Alberta government to create a single association, ACTA, which upon proclamation, will become the College. Therefore, upon proclamation ACTA will be dissolved and CCTA will be created.

Unlike FACT-Alberta, ACTA is comprised of the individual practitioners who have followed the Expedited route into the new College. All of the Steering Committee members of FACT-Alberta now sit as the Directors for ACTA, thus ensuring ongoing representation for all of the practitioner associations that are members of FACT-Alberta. 

An Executive has been elected and these individuals, along with other newly elected members and public representatives, will also form the first Council of the new College. Your Executive is:

Chair, Nicole Imgrund 

Chair Elect, Laura Hahn

Secretary, Sheila Killoran 

Treasurer, Olga Perju

Member-at-Large (Child and Youth Care Counselling), Patricia Kostouros

Member-at-Large (Counselling Therapy), Russ Webb

Member-at-Large (Addictions Counselling), Sean Swaby


What is government regulation?

Government regulation occurs when the provincial government grants certain rights and responsibilities to a profession through legislation in exchange for the profession regulating its members in the public interest. Once a provincial government regulates a profession, the College for that profession becomes the regulatory body that oversees the following professional functions:

  • setting entry-to-practice registration requirements that applicants must meet to become registrants;

  • establishing ethical and practice standards to guide how registrants are to practice and conduct themselves;

  • requiring that registrants hold appropriate professional liability insurance;

  • the fair and timely investigation and resolution of public complaints, which may proceed to more formal disciplinary hearings;

  • requiring registrants to maintain minimum standards of professional development, such as continuing education;

  • enforcing the occupational title(s) granted to registrants that may be used by non-registrants so that the public can rely on those who use the designated title(s) as holding defined competencies and being accountable to their peers.


What is the purpose of regulating a profession?

Historically, national and provincial professional associations have held a dual mandate: serving both a regulatory function (i.e. certification, standards of education, standards of practice, code of ethics, and complaint investigations) and a member service function (i.e. promoting the profession, negotiating fees and benefits, advertising and public relations, offering liability and benefits insurance, conferences, journals, newsletters, and continuing education). With the development of a separate provincial regulatory body for counsellors with an exclusive regulatory function, the professional associations will divest themselves of that function and focus on member services. This will help to reduce public confusion about their roles.

Regulation may also have benefits for practitioners. The regulation of a profession gives it more status in the eyes of other regulated profession, may provide access to third-party billing and may provide more employment opportunities. It should be noted that regulation does not guarantee these benefits. Once regulation occurs your professional association will advocate with insurance companies and employers to realize these benefits. There are different ways to assess status of individuals within a College –by credential or by competency.


What is a Health Regulatory College?

Although health regulatory colleges are referred to as Colleges, they are not schools. Health colleges were established by a law called the Health Professions Act (HPA) to protect a consumer’s right to safe, competent and ethical health care. Each College is able to protect the consumer’s right to safe, competent and ethical health care by holding its registered health care professionals accountable for their conduct and practice. Colleges are directed by councils, consisting of professionals (elected by their peers), as well as members of the public who represent the publics’ interests as a health care consumer.


What is a Professional Association?

A professional association or professional health society, is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular health profession and the interests of the individuals engaged in that profession, also acting from within the profession to safeguard the public interest. In representing the interests of its professional practitioners, a professional health association is often involved in the development and monitoring of professional educational programs, and the updating of skills.


What is the difference between a College and a Professional Association?

Professional Association

Focus: The practitioner

Mandate: to advocate for the profession; to provide ongoing professional learning opportunities; to provide cost-effect liability insurance; to conduct profession-related research and development.

The College

Focus: The public

Mandate: to protect the public from potential harm.


Should I join a professional association or will I still need to be a member of my professional association after joining the new College?

Colleges and professional associations have two distinct and totally 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. Your association will advocate on behalf of your profession, potentially provide liability insurance and will be an excellent source of information for you if the laws and regulations regarding the profession change. Your association will help you interpret these changes and will be lobbying the government if the changes adversely affect your practice or public protection.

College membership + Association membership = Best practice

You protect yourself as a professional and protect the people you serve!


What are credentials and competencies and how do they apply to regulation?

A credential is evidence of a qualification, competence or authority issued to an individual by a third party who is assumed by practice, by assumed competence or by law to have authority to do so. This is usually in the form of an educational achievement (degree, diploma) or a professional designation or license.

Competence refers to a required standard for an individual to properly perform a specific job. It reflects knowledge, skills and behaviour. More generally, competence is the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role. Competencies can be gained through formal and informal learning and are generally integrated, each competency informing the other. Most often, competencies are buried within a credential.

Under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), registration requirements for a College must be competency based. ACTA has adopted a set of entry-to-practice competencies for Counselling Therapists which was initially developed and validated in BC.


What is the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)?

The labour mobility provisions of the CFTA protect a worker’s right to move from province to province and transfer their regulated status without having to upgrade education or qualifications. In general, the CFTA requires a competency-based regulatory approach in order to assess workers across various provinces who have a variety of trainings within a particular profession.


What is title protection?

A profession that has been established by government regulation will be granted one or more occupational titles that will be unique to that profession. Persons who are not registered with the College will be prohibited from using that title. Ensuring that only College registrants can use a title provides a means for the public to be assured that the professional they are dealing with is accountable to that regulatory body. The College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta (CCTA) will have four unique protected titles: Addictions Counsellor, Drug and Alcohol counsellor, Counselling Therapist, and Child and Youth Care Counsellor. This means that the only professionals who will be permitted to use these protected titles after proclamation are professionals that are registered with the CCTA. Registrants of the CCTA will only be able to use the titles for which they have separately applied and been granted permission to use.


What is the College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta (CCTA)?

This is a new College that will govern the profession of Counselling Therapists, Addiction Counsellors and Child and Youth Care Counsellors under the Health Professions Act


What is Bill 30 The Mental Health Services Protection Act?

Bill 30 amends the Health Professions Act to create the new College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta (CCTA). We estimate that about 4,000 professionals will be eligible to register. The following professional titles will be protected when proclamation occurs.

  • Counselling Therapist

  • Addictions Counsellor

  • Drug and Alcohol Counsellor

  • Child and Youth Care Counsellor

  • In addition, the title Psychotherapist will be protected and shared with regulated members of some other colleges of the HPA


When will the College of Counselling Therapy sections of the Act come into force?

  • Provisions to amend the Health Professions Act to establish the College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta would come into force when a Counselling Therapists, Addiction Counsellors and Child and Youth-Care Counsellors Profession Regulation is approved and the College is proclaimed.

  • In addition, amendments to the Health Professions Act to protect the title “psychotherapist” would also come into force at this time. 

  • It is anticipated that the regulations would be created under the Health Professions Act for Counselling Therapists, Addiction Counsellors and Child and Youth-Care Counsellors and that the College may open by Spring 2020.


How do I join the College?

In order to create the College, Alberta Health requested that FACT-Alberta create a new association under the Societies Act. This association is call the Alberta Association of Counselling Therapy (ACTA). When proclamation occurs ACCT will become the College of Counselling Therapy of Alberta. 

Initially there will be three routes to entry:

 a.  Expedited Route– Will include practitioners who have a certification that has been approved as meeting the Entry-to-Practice Competencies for a Counselling Therapist, Addictions Counsellor, or Child and Youth Care Counsellor. This route will close two months prior to proclamation. Practitioners who apply through the Expedited Route and join ACTA will be the first registrants of the College when proclamation occurs. 

 b.  Intermediate Route – Others may apply for an equivalency assessment process to ensure Entry-to-Practice Competencies, which will take into account training, practice, and education of the practitioner, and in some instances may include examination. This route will also include practitioners who qualified under the Expedited Route but missed the window for application.

This is a time limited route which will recognize training, practice and education of existing practitioners.

 c.  Regular Route – New graduates in the field will apply through the regular route, which includes educational, training, and supervision requirements. 


What are the requirements to join the College?

Requirements for “regulation” have been recommended by ACTA and will be included in the regulation consultation process by Alberta Health. When the regulations are finalized we will update the website and send this information out to our members.


Is joining the College mandatory?

Alberta has mandatory registration, which states that practitioners who are qualified to apply to a professional college must do so, to practice in the province. If you qualify to register as a CT, AC, or CYCC, and you do not belong to another regulatory college who oversees the same scope of practice, you will need to apply. However, it will be your choice to apply through the Expedited Route or wait and apply directly to the CCTA.


What are "Currency Hours"?

For the Expedited and Intermediate Routes, 750 currency hours must be acquired the last three years before application. 450 direct client hours must also have been be acquired over the life of your career. Direct client hours may be included as currency hours, but there are numerous other professional activities which can also be used for currency hours.

Currency hours include a broad range of professional activities related to the practise of counselling, such as:

  • direct client work;

  • record-keeping and preparation in relation to direct client work;

  • professional development in counselling;

  • engaging in clinical supervision as a supervisee;

  • conducting research or writing in the field of counselling;

  • supervising;

  • teaching;

  • managing;

  • consulting; and

  • other professional activities that impact the practice of counselling.


What profession do I register for? 

ACTA is currently only processing expedited route applications. Practitioners can register through the expedited route for any of the professions which they have an approved certificate or designation. * See the list of approved certifications/designations. 


What titles will be available to those registered with the CCTA?

The titles “Addiction Counsellor”, (“Drug and Alcohol Counsellor”), “Child and Youth Care Counsellor”, and “Counselling Therapist” will become protected at proclamation. This means that the only professionals who will be permitted to use these protected titles after proclamation are professionals that are registered with the CCTA. Registrants of the CCTA will only be able to use the titles for which they have separately applied and been granted permission to use. 


What if I have more than one profession’s approved expedited certificate / designation?

You have the privilege of applying right away for all professions you are qualified for in the expedited route. You may also choose to apply for one at this time, and others later in the Expedited Route or after the college is proclaimed through the Intermediate Route (although applications in the Intermediate Route will be more costly and onerous). 


 How do I know which professions I will be required to register with to continue my work?

Alberta has mandatory registration, which states that practitioners who are qualified to apply to a professional college, must do so, to practice in the province. If you qualify to register as a CT, AC, or CYCC, and you do not belong to another regulatory college who oversees the same scope of practice, you will need to apply. Similarly, if there is an aspect of your work that is not covered by one designation under CCTA, but under another designation for which you qualify, you will need to apply for that designation as well. 

The following chart is a summary of the scope of practice within each profession.  It would also be beneficial to review the entry-to-practice competencies for each profession.

Counselling Therapy Addictions Counsellor Child Youth Care Counsellor
Practioners may register for Counselling Therapy if they meet the following conditions:
• have training in Counselling or an approved related field,• work within a counselling relationship, to assess, guide, support and treat individuals or groups of individuals to enhance, maintain and promote health and wellness.
• work with Adults, Children, Youth, Families, Groups, or Couples;
• engage in education with respect to the practice of counselling therapy;
• engage in research related to the practice of counselling therapy;
• you use psychosocial interventions aimed at the treatment of disorders as part of your clinical work.
• are certified as a Spiritual Care Practitioner, Art Therapist, Music Therapist, Drama Therapist, Expressive Arts Therapist (See list here for eligible certifications for Expedited Route)
Counselling Therapists may provide counselling services to children, youth, adults, families, and communities across a variety of settings including:,Educational
Rehabilitation
Medical
Community
Residential
Private Practice
Practioners may register for Addictions Counsellor if they meet the following conditions:
• have training in practice of Addictions Counselling.,• work within a counselling relationship, to assess, guide, support and treat individuals, groups or families of individuals with addictions concerns.
• engage in the prevention of addictions,• engage in education with respect to the practice of addictions counselling;
• engage in research related to the practice of addictions counselling;
• use psychosocial interventions aimed at the treatment of disorders as part of your clinical work.
Addictions Counsellors provide services to youth, adults, families, communities including but not limited to any of the following settings:,Inpatient Addiction Treatment,Outpatient Addiction Treatment,Detox
Safe Consumption Site
Outreach Worker
Community Services
Opioid Dependence Program
Schools,Homeless Shelters
Medical
Private Practice
Educational Institutes
Practioners may register for CYCC if they meet the following conditions:
• have training in Child and Youth Care Counselling
• work in the lifespace of the child, youth or family (the other 23 hours)
• Perform lifespace interviews
• Perform interventions through direct care in the lifespace,• Can maintain a therapeutic milieu
• Use of self as the intervention in context
• Develop and implement therapeutic programs utilizing the daily lifespace and life events to facilitate change
• Able to utilize the environment to facilitate change and foster growth and development
• Use of the environment as a therapeutic tool
• Therapeutic activity programming for daily life space
• Therapeutic use of activities for enhancing development
•Providing psychoeducation in various programs with children, youth or families
• engage in education with respect to the practice of child and youth care;
• engage in research related to the practice of child and youth care.
Child and Youth Care Counsellors provide services to children, youth and families including but not limited to the following settings:,Campus based care
Group care
Schools
Hospitals
Community programs
Family homes,Shelters
Youth Criminal Justice,Foster care support
Church groups
Child Welfare
Street/Outreach Work
Educational Institutes

How does this impact me if I am already a regulated member of another college in Alberta providing counselling?

You are NOT REQUIRED to register for ACTA/CCTA, if you already belong to another college that covers your scope of counselling practice. However, you are permitted to register if you would like to use one of the regulated titles of the CCTA.  As long as you are regulated with a college under the HPA, you are able to continue practicing within the scope of practice for that college. You will continue to use the regulated title provided by your College, but will not be permitted to use the protected titles of the CCTA.   

Overlapping scopes of practice are inherent to the HPA. The CCTA professions (Addiction Counsellor, Child and Youth Care Counsellor, and Counselling Therapist) will have overlapping scopes of practice with each other and with professions overseen by other regulatory colleges. Each college outlines their professions’ scope of practice and regulates their members accordingly.


Can I work with children or youth without registering as a CYCC?

Yes, you can work with children and youth under the designation of Counselling Therapist (CT) or Addictions Counsellor (AC), as these professionals may work with clients of all ages. Consider your primary role to help decide on the appropriate registration. 


Can I continue to provide counselling in the area of addictions if I am a Counselling Therapist?

If you have acquired competencies in the area of addictions, you may do so as part of the scope of practice of a Counselling Therapist. However, you will not be able to use the title Addictions Counsellor. You would identify yourself as a Counselling Therapist who works in addictions, or simply list addictions as one of the areas within your practice. 


I am not sure if the Counselling Therapist title 'fits' for the work I do...

There is a great deal of diversity within the “Counselling Therapy” profession. In addition to traditional talk-based Counselling Therapists, other professionals who have the entry-practice competencies of a Counselling Therapist and would be regulated by the college include: 

  • Spiritual Care Practitioners

  • Art Therapists

  • Music Therapists

  • Drama Therapists

  • Expressive Arts Therapists, among others.

Please refer to the entry-to-practice competencies for each profession to see if it 'fits' for your work. Those interested in applying for the Expedited Route may also refer to the list of approved certifications for each profession. 


What are the Expedited Route fees?

The Expedited Route reduced fees:

Application fee: 100.00

Registration fees (applied towards your first year in the college):

First Profession: 500.00
Second profession registration fee (yearly): 250.00
Third profession registration fee (yearly): 250.00

Examples:
Applying for CT, AC or CYCC (only one): 100.00 + 500.00 = 600.00
Applying for CT + AC: 100.00 + 500.00 + 250.00 = 850.00
Applying for CT + AC + CYCC: 100.00 + 500.00 + 250.00 + 250.00 = 1100.00