November 20, 2020
The College continues closely to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and takes direction from BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO), the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Ministry of Health.
We write to advise that new province-wide COVID-19 response measures have been enacted by Dr. Bonnie Henry, PHO, and as of November 19, 2020, new orders and restrictions have taken effect. These new orders include requirements for mask use. The new orders may be found here.
WorkSafe BC has also posted new advice regarding mandatory mask use, which can be found here.
The CPBC has confirmed with WorkSafe BC that the requirement to wear a mask in the workplace includes registered psychologists, those with whom they work, and their clients. All are required to wear a mask in the workplace. The order specifies an exception for those individuals who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own. In the privacy of a one-on-one therapeutic or assessment setting, once both the registrant and client are seated and only when a distance of two metres can be consistently maintained, a registrant may consider removing their mask and/or allowing the client to remove their mask only if there is a clinical benefit that outweighs the risk.
Dr. Henry stressed the importance of all workplaces ensuring that their safety plans are up to date, and she advised that there will be increased inspection of workplaces. Registrants are reminded of the May 15, 2020 guidance document sent by the College regarding providing in-person community care during COVID-19, which may be found here. Registrants are responsible for updating their safety plans as appropriate, and for ensuring the plans continue to be followed rigorously, including with respect to screening. Information regarding screening may be found in the May 15, 2020 guidance document and is repeated in the College’s November 13, 2020 message.
Registrants are expected to remain committed to their safety procedures and to be diligent in following the PHO’s orders.
The College will provide any further updates and/or clarifications as they become available.
My continued best wishes for the health and safety of yourselves and your clients.
Registrar & CEO
College of Psychologists of British Columbia
For reference, here are the documents referenced (and linked) above:
BC PHO Order from November 19, 2020:
WorkSafe BC Bulletin regarding mandatory masks in workplaces from November 19, 2020
CPBC November 13 notice:
CPBC Guidance for Registrants May 15, 2020 document: