College Implements New Policy in Response to NS Mass Casualty Commission Report Recommendations for Regulators

The perpetrator of the 2020 killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia was a registrant of a provincial healthcare regulatory body. The report of the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission (2022) examined the role of healthcare profession regulators in identifying and limiting the potential for healthcare professionals to cause intentional harm to clients. In Recommendation C.19 the MCC outlines several proactive steps that regulators should take to enhance efforts to educate clients about how to file a complaint.

These efforts must acknowledge that members of groups rendered vulnerable through socio-economic marginalization and systemic racism are particularly at risk of being subjected to poor treatment, unethical or illegal behaviour, and are especially vulnerable to abuse. Such individuals can also be hesitant to file a formal complaint or to participate fully in a process operating within a system they have learned to mistrust.

In response to Recommendation C.19 of the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission Report (MCC) the College is committed to reducing barriers to reporting concerns about a Registered Counselling Therapist from members of marginalized communities. This begins with efforts to create awareness of the potential for counselling therapists to cause intentional harm to clients.

To support this recommendation, the College has introduced NSCCT Policy: Client Notification of Complaints Process. This new policy requires all Registered Counselling Therapists to include a standard information sheet or infographic about complaints procedures to all clients as part of the initial consent process. Counselling Therapists must also document that they have given each client an opportunity to discuss the complaints process and to have their questions answered.

This new policy comes into effect December 1, 2023.