Services for members

Our mandate
Current initiatives on behalf of the membership
Past actions on behalf of the membership
Professional Counselling in the BC College, University College and Institute System

Our mandate

(excerpt from the PSCA Constitution – click here to view the Constitution and Bylaws )

The purposes of the Association are:

  1. To be the association of Professional Counsellors employed in British Columbia colleges, university colleges, institutes and universities.
  2. To serve as the official voice and to represent the interests of its Regular Members.
  3. To function as a non-partisan, non-sectarian, and non-profit association.
  4. To remain an independent provincial organization.

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Initiatives on behalf of the membership

  1. Gave a presentation to the BC Council of Senior Student Affairs Leaders [CSSAL], highlighting the issues facing counsellors in BC post-secondary and the current initiatives underway to meet these challenges.
  2. Redesigned the PSCA website incorporating on-line membership application and conference registration functions to improve efficiency.
  3. Formed a productive partnership with Healthy Minds- Healthy Campuses of CMHA.
  4. Participated in the design of annual Healthy Minds- Healthy Campuses Summits.
  5. Planned and hosted annual regional training events for PSCA members and the professional community.
  6. Produced a suicide education module for training campus community members in basic suicide intervention conversations and resource referral.
  7. Numerous post-secondary campuses are in the process of creating and facilitating a campus-wide mental health strategy with multiple program initiatives.
  8. PSCA counselling services directors and members were key stewards in developing the bench mark standard “Post-Secondary Mental Health: A Guide to a Systemic Approach.”
  9. Post-secondary campuses are involved in the Changing the Culture of Substance Use [CCSU] project.
  10. Creating a dialogue on counsellors’ response to critical incidence on post-secondary campuses.
  11. Initiating webinar education on case management of high risk students.

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Past actions on behalf of the membership

  1. Established a formal liaison with the Ministry of Advanced Education Training and Technology.
  2. Successfully lobbied the Ministry and the Centre for Curriculum, Transfer, and Technology to sponsor a research project on Professional Counselling in the BC Colleges and Institutes. The final report was published and circulated in 1998. (see link to report below)
  3. Participated in forums and monitored the development of National Standards and Guidelines for Career Development. In the Spring of 2000, PSCA submitted its concerns with the most recent document released by the national committee. For details see the Summer 2000 PSCA Newsletter.
  4. Participated on the Steering Committee and provided input through a Counsellors’ focus group to the Learners’ Support and Success project conducted by the Senior Educational Support Officers Committee and the Senior Instructional Officers Committee.

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Professional Counselling in the BC College, University College and Institute System


This report presents the results of a study on professional Counselling within the college, university-college and institute system in British Columbia commissioned by the Ministry, the BC Colleges and Institutes Counsellors’ Association (CICA) and the Center for Curriculum, Transfer and Technology. The report was to encompass the following: delivery within the system, professional counselling’s impact on students and faculty, status or relationship with other student development or service providers, some comparison with professional Counselling practice in other North America settings, student-counselor ratios, expanding developments responsibilities (e.g., credit and non-credit instruction), consulting, course and curriculum development, and reference benchmarks on best practices for Counselling professionals.

The project conducted a review of literature and primary research of fifteen colleges, university-colleges, and institutes where there were designated professional Counsellors as defined by the CICA membership guidelines. Research instruments were, in part, to comprise students and faculty focus group interviews at fifteen institutions. In addition, the fifteen institutions were sent survey questionnaires with requested distribution to Advising, Counselling, Disability Services, First Nations, Institutions Based Training, and the Senior Educational Support Officer.

A total of twenty-four (24) focus group reports were returned and the survey return rate was seventy-one percent (71%). Combined data sources from both survey and focus groups revealed that fifteen institutions (100%) had provided at least one format of data toward the study.

Information from the review of literature provided background on post-secondary college Counselling then proceeded to investigate the changing needs and demographics of college students across North America; many of them by definition non-traditional, and titled the “new majority.” Further, information was provided on general funding formulas in Canada and in western regions of the United States. This inquiry indicated a growing trend in some western US jurisdictions toward state/institutional funding at the college level being based on student completion rates.

System-wide primary research instruments indicated strong endorsement of professional Counselling as an integral component of student success related to academic, personal, and career issues. Respondents employed within the system expressed a desire for further development of student success courses as well as for more career Counselling. Counselling departments provided information on best practices documented in Appendix E of the report.

Result of the review of literature and the primary research data provided the basis for the following recommendations:

  1. Define an Institutional Minimum Level of Recommended Professional Counselling.
  2. Define Recommended Professional Counselor Qualifications.
  3. Ensure the Continuance of the Current Ministerial Liaison for Professional Counselling.
  4. Initiate Broader Consultation on the “Charting a New Course’s” Proposed Operations Support Funding Block.
  5. Senior Educational Support Officers to Facilitate the Provincial and Institutional Discussions of the Report.
  6. Senior Educational Support Officer to work with Counselling Departments to promote Health and Wellness of Counselling Faculty.
  7. Seek Counsellor Input for Allocation of Non-base Funding Grants.
  8. Study Current Budget Allocation for Professional Counseling Functions Relative to student Access and Student Success.
  9. Annual Counsellor Articulation Meetings.
  10. Initiate Dialogue Between Groups that Provide Support Services to Students.

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