These FAQs are intended to be useful in understanding the College’s mandate, policies, and procedures. Readers are advised that policies and procedures change. The College endeavours to update its FAQs and the website as efficiently as possible. The application of some procedures may depend upon the circumstances of a matter and therefore, may not occur the same way in every instance. The FAQs are for information purposes only and may not be relied upon as legal advice. To the extent that there are any inconsistencies between these FAQs and the provisions of the Health Professions Act or Part 4 of the College’s bylaws, the provisions of the Act and bylaws take precedence.
GENERAL REGISTRANT FAQS
The certificate informs the public that you are a member of the regulated profession of psychology in BC, and that your registration is current. It is a requirement of the College under Bylaw 53(8) that the annual certificate by prominently displayed in offices where you routinely practice psychology. From a public protection standpoint this certificate assures clients that they are receiving services from someone who is a member of a fully regulated profession with a rigorous credentialing procedure used to determine eligibility for registration, and that provides recourse through a complaints process.
Retired registrants can remain on the Register in the non-practicing class “retired”. Retired registrants are required to maintain professional liability insurance. Non-practising registrants are not permitted to engage in any form of psychology practice in British Columbia. The practice of psychology is defined by the Psychologists Regulation, which can be found on our website. Psychology practice includes but is not limited to clinical practice. It also encompasses academic endeavours such as teaching and research, supervision, as well as consultation. Some registrants have mistakenly believed that activities such as psychology teaching or psychological consulting to organizations fall outside the scope of practice, but have realized their error upon a more careful review of the Psychologists Regulation.
Registrants in the non-practicing “retired” class can reconsider active practice within six months after initial placement in the class without any additional documentation. Reinstatement beyond 6 months may require additional information and is determined on a case by case basis. Please see our Application for Reinstatement form for additional information.
Some retired practitioners decide to resign from the College. Once a registrant resigns, individuals are no longer registrants of the College and are no longer entitled to use the title of “psychologist” unless otherwise allowed for in the Psychologists Regulation.
The College governs registrants’ psychological activities and registrants’ actions which reflect negatively on the profession as a whole. With respect to professional activities, the College does not govern non-psychological activities. For example, a registrant may also operate a separate business. The College does not govern that registrant’s business activities as long as they do not involve psychological activities. With respect to conduct unbecoming of a psychologist, the College regulates such actions whether or not the registrant is conducting psychological activities. For example, a registrant who commits an act of violence against another person outside of his or her psychological practice will likely be disciplined by the College.
Please see Bylaw Schedule B for the “Non-Practicing Registration” application form. This form is also available in the Forms and Documents
section under Registrant Forms. This form is appropriate for anyone moving into or out of the non-practicing class. If you are planning to resume active practice, allow 30 days for the College to process your request.
The College has jurisdiction over registrants regardless of where they practice.
Keep up to date with materials circulated to registrants and participate in the consultative process. Proposed amendments to the Health Professions Act were posted on the website when the Health Professions Amendment Act was enacted in 2003, as were various submissions made by the College on behalf of the profession in response. The Psychologists Regulation is being reviewed as the government works its way through the implementation of the recommendations of the Health Professions Council. Registrants will be kept informed and have an opportunity to comment on proposed changes.
Registrants have submitted questions regarding the Code of Conduct standards, resulting in wording corrections and clarifications to the Code. New areas not covered in the Code of Conduct are primarily addressed through the development of Practice Advisories, by which registrants are expected to be guided in their practice. A number of Practice Advisories have resulted from submissions to the College by registrants with constructive suggestions for change and elaboration. This process is encouraged. Registrants are provided with an opportunity to offer feedback on draft versions of the Code of Conduct prior to implementation of any revisions, and have also been offered ongoing opportunities to provide feedback on the Draft Practice Advisories. Registrants are encouraged to check the College website regularly for updates and announcements, and to participate when asked for feedback and input.
Registrants have a voice in the operation of the College through participation in information meetings and the AGM, by serving on committees, by providing comments on documents such as the Draft Practice Advisories, through offering feedback on the Quality Assurance Continuing Competency Program, and by writing letters providing constructive feedback or comments.
If you have a general concern and are not under investigation, review the Health Professions Act and the Bylaws, and then direct any questions to the College for a response. If you are still dissatisfied, bring your concerns to the Ombudsperson. If you are currently under investigation by a College committee, then write a letter to the College outlining your concerns. You may also wish to consult with legal counsel.
Yes. The Board established a contingency fund in 2006.
There are multiple reasons. First, the list serve is sponsored by the BCPA, which is an entirely separate organization from the College and has a different mandate from the College. Second, the College communicates with registrants on a regular basis through several means: direct written correspondence on any matter before the College, publications distributed to all registrants such as The Chronicle and the Annual Report, information letters to registrants from the Board and committees, and the College website.
The College directory is created for the use of registrants and insurance companies and only includes information designated by the registrant as available to the public. The College does not sell the directory to the public. You may request that your contact information not be put into the directory. Information on the College Register is available, by law, to the public as described in sections 22 and 22(1) of the Health Professions Act.
If you elect to remain registered with the College in the Non-practising class, you are not able to provide any psychological services in British Columbia.
- If you are in the Non-practising class of registration and still have possession of records, you may provide a copy of a client record in response to an appropriately authorized request, but you may not prepare any new work such as, for example, providing a treatment summary.
- If you are in the Non-practising class of registration and receive a request from a former client for further psychological services, you may refer them to alternative services but must not provide services yourself.
- If you are in the Non-practising class of registration and receive a request or subpoena to testify in a court or other tribunal regarding an opinion you provided while you still held practising registration, you may attend before the court or tribunal for examination on the opinion that you previously provided, but you must expressly inform the court and all parties of your non-practising status and the fact that you are no longer authorized to practise as a psychologist, and, apart from responding to questions under examination, you must not accept an engagement to offer any new opinions that would constitute the practice of psychology.
If you resign and cancel your registration with the College, you must ensure that you’ve transferred your records to another registrant as per the requirements of the Code of Conduct Standard 14.7. If you receive a request for file information, you may direct the request to that registrant. As a former registrant you may no longer use the title “psychologist” and must ensure that any individual making a professional request understands that you are no longer registered with the College.
BUSINESS NAME/INCORPORATION FAQS
Part 4 of the Health Professions Act
does not apply to psychologists. This means that the College does not regulate psychology corporations. However, the College does specify requirements for naming psychology companies when the company name contains a title restricted under the Psychologists Regulation
. To receive the College’s consent to use a reserved title in a business name, please complete the form here
CONTINUING COMPETENCY PROGRAM FAQS
The Continuing Competency Program developed by the Quality Assurance Committee is a legal requirement for all registrants, as per the Health Professions Act
. The intent of the program is to enhance and maintain the competence of registrants, consistent with the College’s public protection mandate. The Quality Assurance Committee is of the view that all registrants benefit from upgrading their knowledge, and from interacting with and receiving feedback from their colleagues.
The Quality Assurance Committee decided on a program based on maximizing the ‘locus of control’ with the registrant. Registrants decide which programs to complete, with the simple stipulation that in order for an activity to qualify for Continuing Competency program hours, the registrant must be able to articulate what he or she learned from the activity that is relevant to their practice of psychology.
The annual review is the mechanism chosen by the Quality Assurance Committee to satisfy the College’s legal requirement to monitor adherence by registrants to the Continuing Competency Program.
At the completion of the renewal process, a proportion of registrants are randomly selected for inclusion in the audit. As all registrants are included in the pool of possible persons to be audited each year, it is possible for an individual registrant to be selected in consecutive years.
Registrants are not to be selected more than 2 times within a 4 year period. All registrants selected for the audit are required to comply with Quality Assurance Committee requests for information.
The Continuing Competency Program requirements specify a minimum of 35 hours of continuing competency activities in three categories. A minimum of 5 of these hours must be in the area of ethics, which is the fourth category. Registrants are required to: (1) document the hours spend in required activities; (2) sign an attestation at registration renewal that they have met the requirements of the Continuing Competency Program; and (3) keep the documentation for a minimum of two years in case the registrant is asked to submit the documentation to the College. Not all registrants will be required to submit proof of their continuing competency activities; only a small random selection of registrants will be asked to do so. Registrants are encouraged to document their continuing competency activities throughout the year (e.g. workshops attended, hours spent in different activities, etc.) on the log sheet provided by the College and available for download on this website.
Under the Health Professions Act, the Quality Assurance Committee is required to develop and administer a Continuing Competency Program. Documentation is required to ensure that all registrants are aware of the requirements of the program and so that the College can be accountable in its administration of the program.
Feel free to use the log sheet provided by the College as a template and develop your own table to summarize your completion of activities in the various continuing competency categories.
If you are asked to submit your log sheet for audit purposes, provide appropriate detail of activities to permit the Quality Assurance Committee to evaluate whether the activities documents meet the requirements in each category and for activities you intend to carry forward in Category A (a sample completed log sheet is available on the website). Activities exceeding requirements can be documented in a more general way (e.g. Category B. Self-study – Journal – Canadian Psychology, 10+ hours).
The general principle that should guide registrants in selecting continuing competency activities is: “Can I articulate that I have acquired new knowledge relevant to improving my practice of psychology?” Program requirements are outlined on the website and all changes are distributed for comment and feedback to registrants prior to implementation.
No. The Quality Assurance Committee believes that such a list would be too restrictive. The Committee has developed a description of the modal activities in Categories A, B, and C (Category D activities are drawn from the first three). Registrants are encouraged to check with BCPA and other professional organizations to find workshops, conferences, etc., relevant to their area of practice.
In-person courses and APA sponsored/approved on-line and correspondence courses are both acceptable for Category A – Direct, Participatory, and Formal Programs.
The five hours required explicitly on ethics can be obtained via direct participatory formal programs, self study, and/or structured interactive activities. A registrant could meet this requirement, for example, entirely through self-study, or by combining hours from a number of different activities. The five hours of ethics may be included in the hours logged in any of the other categories, and do not represent a requirements for an additional five hours of continuing competency activities.
As per the Code of Conduct, registrants are responsible for reading all information that the College disseminations. Registrants can claim credit for keeping current via self-study activities, and by entering the College publications and information read in Category B (Self Study) of their log sheet. Depending on the content, such readings could also be claimed in Category D (Ethics).
The intent of Category C: Structured Interactive Activities is for registrants to interact with colleagues on a regular basis in order to consolidate new learning and receive feedback regarding one’s practice. The minimum acceptable number in a group is two.
The Quality Assurance Committee is of the opinion that registrants who live in more isolated locations will benefit from availing themselves of opportunities to interact with other psychologists and health professionals. Only 12 of the 35 hours per year must involve interactive contact with others. Registrants may include activities with other licensed/regulated mental health professionals (e.g., psychiatrists, social workers) or licensed/health professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, speech-language pathologists). The contact need not be in person. For example, telephone contact that meets the objectives of this category may qualify as a Category C activity.
Colleagues do not have to be registrants of this College. They can be colleagues from other regulated health professions (e.g. social work, psychiatry or other areas of medicine, etc.). For registrants who have primarily academic involvements, continuing competency compliance criteria are reviewed on a case by case basis. Registrants should ensure they include sufficient information regarding the composition and activities of their group to enable the Quality Assurance Committee to evaluate their logged activities. For example, at a minimum a log sheet might include the date and duration of meetings, the topic(s), discussed, the number of participants, and the professions of the participants.
Structured Interactive Activities are understood by the Quality Assurance Committee to include activities in which you have interacted with colleagues (e.g. peer supervision, study groups, in-services provided by your employer, etc.). The key criteria as to whether an activity “counts” are whether the registrant learned something new and practice enhancing, and whether he or she can document this to the Quality Assurance Committee’s satisfaction. Typically, provision of workshops would be expected to demonstrate expertise in an area, rather than indicate new learning. Therefore, delivering a workshop or presentation does not qualify for any category of the Continuing Competency Program. However, studies undertaken in preparation for delivering a workshop or presentation may be included under Category B (Self Study) if the registrant learned something new and practice enhancing.
Registrants can receive Continuing Competency Program credit for teaching, supervision, and consultation preparation work by documenting the materials reviewed in the initial preparation for the topic under Category B (Self Study) if such activities meet the criteria of providing new and practice enhancing knowledge. The Code of Conduct requires that registrants only provide supervision in areas of competence. The Committee is therefore of the view that supervision of, and consultation to, others who are in position of learning from the registrant (i.e. students, those with limitations on the Register, other clinicians who are receiving supervision or consultation in order to increase their skills) will not easily meet the Continuing Competency Program requirements.
You are permitted to bank up to 12 hours from Category A only if you have exceeded the number of hours required in this category for the year. Any hours banked are available for use in the following year only. For example, if you complete 18 Category A hours this year, you may bank up to 6 hours for use in meeting your Category A requirements for next year only. As another example, if you have 4 hours banked from last year for use this year, and you completed an additional 15 hours this year, then 8 hours of this year’s hours are required in combination with the 4 banked hours to meet this year’s 12-hour requirement in Category A. The 7 hours remaining from the current year may be banked for use in meeting next year’s Category A requirements. As a final example, if you complete 30 hours in Category A this year, then you may bank up to 12 hours for use next year after using 12 hours to meet this year’s requirements, and the extra 6 hours cannot be banked.
None, as your 12 banked hours fulfill this year’s requirement for Category A hours. Any additional Category A hours you complete this year may be banked for use toward next year’s Category A requirements, up to a maximum of 12 hours.
No. Only Category A hours accumulated in excess of those required for the current year are available for banking, and they may only be applied to the next year’s Category A requirements. Excess hours from other categories may not be banked.
No. The College is required by the Health Professions Act (the “Act”) to keep both the registrant and the complainant apprised when the statutory timelines for completing an investigation have been exceeded. Initially, the College has 120 days to complete its investigation, but the Act permits the College up to 254 days to complete its investigation so long as the College provides proper notices to both the registrant and the complainant. The Act, which sets out applicable timelines for investigations in Section 50.55, is available on this website.
The Review Board is an administrative tribunal created under the Health Professions Act to provide an independent review of certain decisions made by colleges of self-governing health professions, including those made by this College. If you are not already represented by a lawyer, you may wish to retain one for this review process. The College’s role in a review is limited to addressing the decision made on the record by the Inquiry Committee and any issues of procedural unfairness. The College’s role is not to represent the registrant’s interests.
In deciding whether to retain a lawyer, you may wish to consider the following points. First, the review process can be complicated. Second, the review process can raise privacy concerns. Third, the review process may generate potentially serious consequences for you. These consequences may include the Review Board setting aside the disposition of the Inquiry Committee with a new disposition.
As a registrant, your insurance may cover retaining legal counsel. You will need to contact your insurer to confirm coverage. Finally, if you decide to hire a lawyer, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer earlier in the process, rather than later.
Some registrants will have an agreement or letter of undertaking which specifies whether or not they are required to indicate this status in their professional signature and advertisements. Other registrants are limited by registration class (e.g. non-practicing) in which case the title to be used is explicitly specified in the Bylaws. If you have any uncertainty as to how to represent your status with the College, we would be please to speak with you about this.
PRACTICE SUPPORT FAQs
The Practice Support Service is a resource to assist registrants in considering how best to handle ethical dilemmas and unfamiliar practice situations, and to enhance clinical practice, consistent with the College’s public protection mandate.
The Practice Support Service is available to College registrants.
Every effort is made to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. Registrants should be aware that the service is not an “on demand” or emergency service. Generally, registrants may typically expect a response within four working days. At present, the service is usually available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Practice support is provided by a senior psychologist on staff at the College who is familiar with both general practice issues and the legislation governing the practice of psychology in British Columbia. This psychologist has no involvement with the College’s inquiry or discipline processes to ensure the separation of practice support from the College’s legal obligations to investigate complaints and fitness and competency to practice issues.
Registrants may access the Service by sending their inquiry through regular post or via facsimile, by telephoning the College and selecting option 4 when prompted by the autoattendant, or by sending an email to email@example.com
The Practice Support Service is intended only to assist registrants with practice issues and ethical dilemmas. Individuals with other types of inquiries will be redirected to the appropriate department for assistance.
The Health Professions Act presumes that registered mail has been received seven days from the date it was sent by the College. Registrants should ensure that the address selected as the Register address is an address where they regularly receive mail, and that it is reliable and secure.
Address changes are submitted through the registrant portal via the College website. Please log onto the portal to notify the College of any changes to your Register, Directory, and/or Practice Record Address and/or other contact information. Once you log in with your username and password (the same username and password you used for online renewal), this feature can be accessed by selecting the “Change Address Information” option on the menu. Your user name is your registration number. If you do not remember your password, click on the link forgot password and it will be emailed to the email address you have provided to the College.
CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK FAQS
Criminal Records Checks are run by the Criminal Records Review Program of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. This is not a College-initiated requirement.
Under the Criminal Records Review Act
), the College is required to ensure that each registrant completes a criminal records review conducted by the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP). There have been some recent changes to the CRRA
included expanding definitions for conviction, the addition of six new offenses, and the requirement that registrants have a criminal record review every five years. Registrants should review the CRRA
to ensure that they are aware of the changes to the CRRA that apply to their practice. Information about this requirement can be found at the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Services website
Yes. All registrants, irrespective of status or whether they are practicing or non-practicing are required by law to complete this requirement.
No. The College is required to have the Criminal Record Check run for this particular purpose and must retain original consent forms on file. The College is not permitted to accept a “shared” Criminal Record Check.
No. This is a legislated requirement for all registrants of the College irrespective of any other background checks that they may be subject to for other reasons. This is statutory requirement and cannot be covered off with other types of security and background clearances.
No. This is a legislated requirement for all registrants of the College irrespective of any other background checks that they may be subject to for other reasons. This is a statutory requirement and cannot be covered off with other types of security and background clearances.
No. The College is required to retain original consent forms for this purpose. Accordingly, faxes and photocopies cannot be accepted.
The Consent to a Criminal Record Check form is available on the College website.
Yes. The Criminal Records Review Program requires the full legal name and any previous/alternate names of all individuals who are undergoing a Criminal Record Check.
The fee is $28.00 per person.
As of April 7, 2017, the consent form has been modified to include a mandatory email address. Once submitted, the CRRP will provide instructions and an online link for credit card payment. If you choose to make a payment by money order, you are still required to submit the consent form with a valid email. You will then be provided with the option of generating a paper form from the link provided by the CRRP, printing it, and sending it with a money order directly to the CRRP. The application for pre-authorized credit card usage has been discontinued.
LIABILITY INSURANCE FAQS
Section 61 of the College bylaws specifies that “All registrants must maintain or be included in coverage under professional liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence.”
Section 61 of the College bylaws specifies that “All registrants must maintain or be included in coverage under professional liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence.” An individual registrant’s particular circumstances may warrant a higher insurance coverage amount and/or additional types of insurance. Registrants are responsible for having, at a minimum, the professional liability insurance required under the bylaws, and for determining any other specific insurance requirements necessitated by their circumstances.
All registrants who are on the Register, regardless of status, are required as per the College bylaws to “maintain or be included in coverage under professional liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence.” This requirement extends to those registrants who are on the Register in ANY class of registration. Check with your insurance carrier for any specific options related to the Retired category.
All Registrants are required to carry sufficient liability insurance. The requirement is based on registrant status with the College, not on activity or job description of the registrant. Retired registrants should investigate “tail insurance” to cover their previous clinical work.
If you do any work outside the setting covered by your employment then you need additional coverage to cover work in the other setting(s) or private practice.