On Friday, November 20, the Ontario Government announced a number of additional restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Regulated health professionals, including Registered Psychotherapists, are not affected by these new restrictions.
Since no restrictions on health care services have been announced to date, Registered Psychotherapists and other regulated health professionals may continue to operate in Toronto and Peel, two areas which have been moved to "lockdown" status by the government.
Whenever possible, both CRPO and the government encourage care to be provided virtually.
There are a number of new or updated resources that registrants may find useful in their efforts to keep their clients and themselves safe:
Public Health Ontario
Public Service Health & Safety Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Updated FAQ: Virtual Mental Health Programs
CRPO is aware that there are a number of virtual mental health programs that have been made available as part of provincial and federal government efforts to support the public. We have received a number of enquiries from registrants about these programs and so have added them to our FAQ list.
Q: I am employed by a program that offers counselling for people who are struggling because of the pandemic. I am being told to describe myself as a "counsellor" rather than an RP when I provide care through this program. Is this ok?
A: Yes, provided that you ensure you are complying with CRPO requirements in doing so. First, Registered Psychotherapist is a protected title, so RPs must use it when providing mental health services (see Standard 1.2 Use of Terms, Titles and Designations). You may use "RP, counsellor." Second, ensure clients understand your role and the work you will be doing together (see Standard 3.2 Consent). Finally, be aware that you are still acting in capacity as an RP and thus are subject to same standards of care.
Q: I have clients within this counselling program who require the controlled act. What should I do?
A: First, seek clarification from the program supervisor as to whether providing the controlled act of psychotherapy is part of the scope of the program. If clients who require this level of care cannot receive it under the program umbrella, you will need to refer the client to a provider or program that can provide the controlled act. See Standard 1.9 Referral for details.
Q: The counselling program in question is paying RPs a lower rate when they work in this role. Is this ok?
A: It is not be appropriate for CRPO, as the regulator, to take a position on issues related to compensation. You may wish to follow up with your professional association, whose role it is to address these matters.
SEE MORE FAQs, including clarification about the use of non-medical masks or face coverings for in-person visits.
Update on the Registration Exam
These are unprecedented times, and we understand and appreciate the concerns some registrants have raised about how the lack of exam seats has, in some cases, impacted careers and registration.
The limited number of seats is directly a result of the pandemic, which resulted in:
- fewer testing sites being open
- seating limitations on the sites that are open, due to physical distancing requirements
- the closure of sites that had previously been open once restrictions became stricter in "hot spot" regions
- Yardstick encountered difficulty with securing proctors due to individuals not wanting to proctor exams during the pandemic for health and safety reasons
In response, COMPASS and Yardstick added a third exam day to address some of the reduced availability, and where seats in other locations were still available, Yardstick contacted April exam registrants to offer an alternate location.
We know that COMPASS and Yardstick are working to ensure the exam is offered to as many registrants as possible while prioritizing the April exam registrants and while complying with all relevant the public health and government directives to ensure safety.
CRPO is working to address concerns for those impacted by the limited exam seats in the following ways:
- Granting extensions to exam writing and category transfer timelines
- Recommending to the Registration Committee that RP (Qualifying) clinical supervision frequency be reduced for registrants who meet the minimum hours to transfer to RP and be on an as-need basis for registrants who meet the independent practice hours
- Bringing the concerns raised by registrants about career and financial impacts to the Executive Committee and Registration Committee.
COMPASS is in the process of addressing the limited exam seats in the following ways:
- Working with Yardstick to add two exam dates in February 2021 for registrants who did not secure a seat for the October 2020 exam
- Actively researching the option of remote proctoring to increase access, safety and security of the exam for registrants. There are critical concerns related to logistical and technical requirements associated with offering the exam in an alternate format that must be addressed by COMPASS before the exam is able to be offered in this manner.
A fuller discussion of this matter has been posted here (et en français içi). Updates regarding the decisions made by CRPO committees and COMPASS will be communicated to registrants as soon as possible.
Webinar on Electronic Practice
Join Talia Singer, PhD, RN, RP this Wednesday, December 2, 12:00 to 1:00 pm. for a lively one-hour webinar about the intersection of ethical standards and practical decision-making in an online world. She’ll explore how to be mindful of boundaries in the unbounded space of electronic practice, discuss practical examples of crossing the invisible line online, highlight the power dynamics present in the online environment, and answer burning questions you may have.
This event is happening live, but will be recorded. Register here to secure your seat.
Stats Can COVID Survey of Health Care Providers
Statistics Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information are conducting a survey of Canadian health care workers regarding PPE and infection prevention and control measures in the workplace. The information they collect will help to inform the delivery of health care services, and to better understand what health care workers need in terms of equipment, training and support. You may access the survey here.