What is government regulation?
Government regulation is the legal process to establish a regulatory College in a particular province for specific disciplines or professions. The mandate of the new College, once fully operational, is to develop standards and procedures to regulate the professionals in the public interest, striving to ensure that the practitioners are competent, ethical and accountable.***Once a provincial government regulates a profession, the College of that profession becomes the regulatory body that may oversee any or all of the following professional functions:
- registration and licensure of professional members
- approval of training program curriculum and faculty qualifications, including internships handling of ethical complaints
- requiring appropriate liability insurance and membership in the College
- requiring College members to maintain minimum standards of professional development, continuing education and upgrades
- ensuring minimum standards of practice are adhered to as per the competency profile
- ensuring title protection for College members so that the public receives standardized services by a recognized professional. The title of “music therapist” may or may not be a protected title in particular provinces. For example, in Ontario, the title “Registered Psychotherapist” is a protected title. Thus, music therapists in Ontario who have registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, must present their titles as Registered Psychotherapist – Music Therapist Accredited.
What is the purpose of government regulation?*
The goal of regulation is to reduce the risk of harm to the public while maximizing the wellbeing of the client. Provincial or territorial governments grant professional self-regulation as a privilege that requires standards of practice. Under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), these standards must be comparable across Canada.There are two types of regulatory statutes: “stand alone” and “umbrella”. In Nova Scotia, the law refers to a single profession, setting out its limits and standards. In Ontario, the “umbrella” is a larger act that governs all health professions within the mental health field, setting out the shared privileges, processes and requirements for all.
Why regulate music therapy?**
Historically, national and provincial professional associations have had a dual mandate: serving both a self-regulatory function (i.e. certification, standards of education, standards of practice, code of ethics and ethical complaints) and a member service function (i.e. promoting the profession, advertising and public relations, offering liability and benefits insurance, conferences, journals, newsletters, and continuing education). With the development of regulatory counsellor colleges in BC, Ontario and Quebec, member professions will be regulated.Music therapists in each of these provinces are aligning with a variety of professions to achieve regulated status, which may or may not include title protection of “music therapist”. As each province regulates with a regulatory college, the regulatory function of the professional associations will shift to the regulatory college.
*Lorna Martin, President of CCPA: presentation to the CAMT conference, 2011 and 2012