Changes to the Health Professions Act introduced by the Government of Alberta in 2020 will be coming into effect in 2021 and they will have a lasting impact on ACSLPA as well as on Audiologists and SLPs in Alberta. Among the dozens of changes, a few of the main themes include:

  • The introduction of co-regulation, which signals the end of self-regulation for health professions. Starting on April 1 of this year, ACSLPA’s council, hearing tribunals, and complaints review committees will be composed of 50% public members appointed on the advice of the Minister of Health.
  • The complete separation of regulatory and association activities and a clearer delineation of what ACSLPA can and cannot do. Although ACSLPA has always been a regulator first, this will mean the cessation of the few non-regulatory activities that we’ve historically performed, such as an annual conference, posting of employment ads, and an awards program. The impact of this change will be felt much more by organizations that are currently joint college and association, such as the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta or the Alberta Dental Association and College, to name a couple.
  • The College’s ability to establish, maintain, and enforce requirements for regulated members will be enhanced by moving decision-making authority from legislators to ACSLPA Council. Many practice requirements that were previously controlled by government through regulations will now be established in ACSLPA’s Bylaws and Standards of Practice.

Taken as a whole, these changes should generally be more positive than negative for ACSLPA members. The changes do mean that members will be expected to follow new or revised standards of practice that have yet to be developed. With this knowledge, should also come the reassurance that more of the key decisions that affect your professional practice will be made in a timely manner with more direct input by SLPs and audiologists.

ACSLPA’s Council and Staff are committed to doing the best we can to adapt to the changing legislative landscape in a way that balances ACSLPA’s regulatory mandate and the needs of SLPs and Audiologists. We’re putting in place operational plans and resources, including the creation of a new position at the College, to support the transition. You can read more about ACSLPA’s plans for the year in the College’s 2021 Business Plan and Budget and you can learn more about the new Director of Operations and Projects position here.

ACSLPA’s dedicated staff are available to answer any questions you may have about your professional practice or about the upcoming legislative changes. You can find our staff and their contact information at www.acslpa.ca/the-college/staff-directory.

After 18 years of relative consistency in the world of regulated health professions, 2021 promises to be a year of dramatic change for health colleges including ACSLPA. The College is prepared for the challenge and primed to move forward.