In response to a needed increase of mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Psychologists of British Columbia has modified its registration rules to provide help quickly.
Amendments to college bylaws were authorized under Ministerial Order M117 signed by Brian Westgate from the Ministry of Health’s regulatory initiatives section April 21.
College registrar Dr. Andrea Kowaz said the changes could assist British Columbians during the pandemic through expediting registrations for out-of-province psychologists and former or non-practicing college members in order to respond to changing needs for psychological services.
In some cases, such as providing telepsychology services to someone stranded outside B.C, past bylaws allowed for such services.
In other circumstances, the existing bylaws don’t provide a quick option for accommodation of a request in context of an emerging public need, Kowaz said.
“For example, several retired B.C. psychologists have volunteered to return to practice specifically to support the UBC Okanagan/BC Psychological Association initiative to provide psychological support services to essential service workers to assist them in coping with the high level of stress that many of them are experiencing during the current emergency situation.”
She said the new bylaws provide for the temporary registration of qualified former and non-practicing registrants and currently registered psychologists from other jurisdictions through an expedited process, including a waiving of the typical registration fees and requirements for notarization of documents.
But, she added, temporary registration will be granted only for the period of the pandemic response.
Victoria announced April 9 increased access to mental health supports during the pandemic, with $5 million to expand existing mental health programs and services and launch new services.