Presently, the Canadian Association for Music Therapists (CAMT) oversees the professional competence of music therapists.

This is achieved through the certification of Accredited Music Therapist “MTA”. MTA’s are credentialed by the CAMT only after successfully achieving strict standards through their training and internship.  MTA certified music therapists are bound by the code of ethics and scope of practice.  For more information click here.


Government regulation is a legally binding provincial legislation that establishes a regulatory College for specific disciplines or professions. The aim of regulation is protection of the public through accountable, competent, and ethical professional practice. *

Music Therapy is not a government-regulated profession across all of Canada.  Music therapy is regulated in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the process has begun in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and New Brunswick. For information on regulation of Music Therapy in Canada click here.

Regulation in Alberta

The Government of Alberta is interested in the regulation of therapists, including Music Therapists. An application for the regulation of Counselling Therapists was submitted by the Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists in Alberta (FACT-AB)

The Alberta Government has expressed their support for the application and it is currently under review (Aug. 2017). The Music Therapy Association for Alberta is a member of FACT-AB and Music Therapy is represented in the application.   For information on regulation of Music Therapy in Alberta, view the following documents and read below:

FACT-AB Application for Regulation Summary

What is Regulation?


 Table of Contents:

  1. What is Government Regulation?
  2. What is FACT-AB?
  3. Why Regulate Music Therapy?
  4. What will Regulation look like?
    1. Who does what?
    2. “Umbrella” Structure
    3. Will I need a new degree?
    4. Title Protection
    5. Restricted Activities
    6. Psychosocial Interventions
  5. What are the negatives to Regulation?
  6. What if I don’t provide much “counselling”?
  7. Do I still need to be a member of MTAA?
  8. How do I learn more?

1. What is Government Regulation?

Government regulation is the legal process to establish a regulatory College in a particular province for specific disciplines or professions.

The reason for regulation is to protect the public.

Regulation is pursued for professions that may be harmful to the public if carried out by an untrained/unregulated professional.

The mandate of the new College, once fully operational, is to develop standards and procedures to regulate the professionals. The College strives to ensure that the practitioners are competent, ethical, and accountable.

For more details and further information on Regulation across Canada please see Susan Summer’s Summary on Regulation on the CAMT website.

2. What is FACT-AB?

The Federation of Association of Counselling Therapists of Alberta (FACT-AB) is a group of 12 professional organizations advocating for the Regulation of the profession of Counselling Therapy in Alberta. The Music Therapy Association for Alberta (MTAA) is a member of FACT-AB.

FACT-AB submitted an application to the Ministry of Health in the Fall of 2016, to request the regulation the profession of Counselling Therapy under the Health Professions Act of Alberta. The Government of Alberta has expressed their interest and support of the application (April 2017). FACT-AB is currently in discussions with the Government regarding this application. The next step is consultations with the other Colleges of Alberta.

See the FACT-AB Application for Regulation Summary

3. Why Regulate Music Therapy?

 If the Provincial government of Alberta seeks Regulation for Counselling Professionals, it would be important for Music Therapy to be at the table in this process.

Regulation often creates standards for safety of the public in Health Care Settings – such as long term care, hospitals, some educational settings, and care facilities, including child care. As Health Care Professionals, regulation could mean more access to jobs in these settings. For example, if the job is for a regulated Counseling Professional only, being a regulated profession would increase your employability.

Regulation may also assist in access to third party billing, insurance; access to grants and funds for Health Care; and improved access to music therapy for vulnerable persons. It would add to the visibility and portability of the profession.

4. What will Regulation look like?

a) Who does what?

 A Regulatory College may be responsible for the following:

  • Registration and licensing of members
  • Approval of training programs
  • Ethical complaints
  • Setting standards for: continuing education, liability insurance, and membership in the College
  • Title protection
  • Ensuring standards of practice adhere to the competency profile

The Provincial Association for Music Therapy may be responsible for the following:

  • Providing continuing education specific to music therapy that is mandated for members by the College
  • Support for members of Music therapy community throughout the grandparenting process and beyond
  • Providing access to professional liability insurance
  • Advocacy and promotion of music therapy
  • Providing member services
  • Cooperating with other professional associations under the College to host CE conferences as well as have dialogues with third party insurers regarding including members of the regulatory College in their plans

b) “Umbrella” Structure

The regulatory statute that is being pursued in Alberta is the “umbrella” type. This is when a larger act governs all health care professionals within a certain group, for example mental health professionals. As it takes a lot of members in order to achieve regulation, multiple professions may align together to be regulated under one College.

Once a College is formed, each member is responsible for abiding by the professional practice guidelines unique to their profession (ie: music therapy), as well as the overarching regulations, guidelines, code of ethics, and procedures of the College. See the FACT-AB Application for Regulation Summary for a list of the member organizations.

c) What is Title Protection?

As part of the College’s mandate to protect the public from harm, regulation will include specific titles that will be protected. In Alberta, the proposed title is “Counselling Therapist”. Music therapists who have registered with the college would use the title Counselling Therapist- Certified Music Therapist.

 d) Would I need a new Degree?

No. The model that Alberta is pursuing is Competency Based. This means that all members of the College would have the same basic “entry to practice” competencies as regulated professionals. Expedited grandparenting is being considered for the College. This would mean that current members of the associations (including MTAA), who meet the standards, would be granted access to the College for a set amount of time (usually a few years).   The British Columbia group on regulation first developed the music therapy competencies in 2004-2007. The FACT-AB group has used these, as well competency profiles of other professions, to come up with the proposed Competencies for Counselling Therapists.

 e) What are Restricted Activities?

Note: FACT-AB is currently discerning how competency for restricted activity would be assessed and monitored, so that it could be included in a particular counselling therapist’s license.

 Restricted activities are health interventions that can only be performed by authorized persons because of the risks associated with the performance of these activities and the need to ensure that practitioners possess the necessary competencies. Schedule 7.1 to the Government Organization Act (GOA).

In the process towards Regulation, it will have to be decided if the College of Counselling Therapists will be approved to perform restricted activities. If yes, it will be decided which members will be authorized and how this will be managed.

f) What are psychosocial interventions and how are they restricted?

Psychosocial interventions are treatments such as:

  • cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT)
  • behaviour modification
  • counselling and supportive psychotherapy
  • psychoanalysis

In Alberta, psychosocial interventions are a restricted activity only when it is “Performed …with the expectation of treating a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs (a) judgment (b) behaviour, (c) capacity to recognize reality, or (d) ability to meet the ordinary demands of life. (Note: emphasis added). In Alberta, this work can only be done by regulated professionals or under the supervision of regulated professionals.

Not all psychosocial interventions are restricted: (a) activities of daily living, (b) giving information or advice for personal development, (c) providing emotional support, or (d) promoting spiritual growth. It is also not a restricted activity to do psychosocial interventions (CBT, Psychoanalysis, etc) with people who are NOT severely compromised from their illness. For more info see “Psychosocial Inerventions: An Interpretive Guide to Restricted Activity” prepared by Alberta Health.

g) What are the Negatives of Regulation?

There is significant cost as part of Regulation. That is why the umbrella system is preferred for smaller professional organizations – with a large membership the financial contributions is much less, as it is spread across many members and organizations.

There are strict rules and regulations to follow under Regulation that are legally mandated by the College. However for music therapists, we already abide by a code of ethics, have standards of professional practice, fulfill CE requirements, and satisfy basic competencies in our training programs. So, this would not be as much of an adjustment for our profession. 

6. As A Music Therapist, I don’t currently use much “counselling” in my practice. Does this still apply to me?

The training for Music Therapists Accredited (MTA) provides the practitioner with the skills and competencies needed for entrance to the College as a “Counselling Therapist”. As music therapists, our counselling skills and competencies may also include the non-verbal and musical realms, as well as verbal.

Counselling may or may not be in the traditional sense of sitting in one’s private practice receiving verbal counselling or Guided Imagery and Music. Our counselling skills can be used in many other ways to enhance our therapeutic practice. It could happen when working with parent’s of children with disabilities, engaging in difficult conversations with teachers, aids or health care practitioners, working with seniors in long term who are experiencing isolation, pain, grief, grappling with death, loneliness and depression.

Music Therapists may need to rethink where we actually use our verbal counselling skills. They can come into play naturally or, be used intentionally to benefit a situation in a positive and healthy manner. Individual music therapists may have additional training in advanced counselling skills or therapeutic techniques.

7. Do I still need to be a member of MTAA?

Yes. It is very important that you join or continue to be a member of your provincial association (MTAA) in order to qualify for expedited grandparenting into the College.

Expedited grandparenting is a time-limited alternate route to registration with the College for established practitioners in Canada who currently are members in good standing of an approved member of an FACT-AB association (such as MTAA), and meet the established requirements. Expedited Grandparenting is an area that is still in discussion and discernment by FACT-AB.

Membership in MTAA will also provide you with ongoing CE and workshops specific to music therapy, support for members, advocacy, and promotion of music therapy in Alberta. Please see section 4.a) for more details.

8. How Do I Learn More?

Attend the Webinar on Regulation: September 26, 2017. Open to all MTAA members. Presented by Nicole Imgrund, representative from the Counselling Association of Canada, and FACT-AB.

We encourage all of our music therapy members to educate themselves about regulation and consider the impact that it could have for the profession.

We encourage you to be able to answer:

  • What is regulation?
  • What would it mean for Music therapy?
  • What would be the benefits and limitations of becoming regulated in Alberta?

Please bring your questions, concerns, and wonderings to our MTAA board. You may contact us at Follow the links to the documents below for further information:



Controlled Act

National Regulation

Canadian Association for Music Therapy


Written by Sheila Killoran, MTA, MA, FAMI, President and Regulation Chair for Music Therapy Association for Alberta (MTAA). With acknowledgements for editorial support by Susan Summers (CAMT), Nicole Imgrund (FACT-AB), Elle McAndrews and the MTAA board members. August, 2017.