Pandemic Related Impacts to RP (Qualifying) Registrants

By November 30, 2020News

November 30, 2020

All CRPO registrants (with the exception of grandparented, labour mobility, and temporary registrants) start in the Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) category. RP (Qualifying) registrants are permitted to practise psychotherapy, including performing the controlled of psychotherapy, within their area of competence. RP (Qualifying) registrants have a term, condition, and limitation on their certificate of registration to practise with clinical supervision.

The requirements to transfer from the RP (Qualifying) category to the RP category are successful completion of 450 direct client contact (DCC) hours and 100 clinical supervision hours, and passing the Registration Examination. These are non-exemptible legal requirements set out in the Registration Regulation; there are no alternatives. To facilitate qualifying RPs in meeting these requirements, CRPO endeavours to have the exam offered twice a year (the minimum requirement is once annually); however, this does not guarantee every candidate will have a seat, which was the case during the extenuating circumstances related to the pandemic.

The entry-to-practice exam is developed and administered through a third party, COMPASS, that is separate from CRPO. Currently, the exam is written in person at designated testing sites and is typically offered twice a year. Due to pandemic-related government directives related to closures of non-essential businesses, the April 2020 sitting was unavoidably cancelled.

As we neared the scheduled October exam dates, ongoing pandemic restrictions resulted in fewer testing sites being available, and the sites that remained open had more limited seating availability due to physical distancing requirements. COMPASS added two additional days to the planned October 2020 sitting to address potential volume issues. This information was conveyed to all potential registrants for the exam prior to the booking process.

Escalation in infection rates immediately preceding the October sitting resulted in additional government directives that further limited test centre capacity. Additionally, securing sufficient proctors became problematic as some of the people trained for the role declined work for personal health and safety reasons. As a result, the number of seats that were expected to be available were reduced significantly and so – despite three testing days being scheduled – some registrants who booked the exam (including some who had requested accommodations) could not be offered seats and so received refunds for their cancelled registration.

Additional dates have now been added in February 2021 to provide registrants with the earliest possible opportunity to write the exam. Registrants who received a refund associated with the October 2020 sitting have already been offered the option of writing the exam on one of the February dates. The next regularly scheduled exam sitting is April 29, 2021.

Since February 2020, COMPASS has been researching the option of remote proctoring to increase access, safety, and security of the exam for registrants during the global pandemic. Because the exam has a unique structure different than a standard multiple-choice exam used by other regulators who have been able to offer exams using remote proctoring, a remote proctoring platform requires adaptation to host the exam. There remain unresolved critical concerns related to logistical and technical requirements associated with offering the exam via remote proctoring. Subject matter experts for remote proctoring are currently investigating possibilities for the exam. We will provide stakeholders with an update on this possibility as soon as it is available.

CRPO recognizes that RP (Qualifying) registrants who meet the direct client contact and clinical supervision hour requirements to transfer categories but who were not able to write the exam due to the pandemic may be delayed in transferring categories. For some, this may affect employment and third-party insurance coverage. It is not within CRPO’s authority or role to take a position regarding registrant remuneration. However, we do recognize the potential financial impacts and are working diligently to address the delay as soon as possible given the unprecedented circumstances.

CRPO is also aware that many registrants pay for clinical supervision out of pocket. The recommended ratio in CRPO’s Professional Practice Standards for all RP (Qualifying) registrants is one hour of clinical supervision for every four to five hours of DCC. Recognizing the impacts to RP (Qualifying) registrants due to the pandemic, CRPO’s Registration Committee has formally clarified expectations for registrants who have not yet passed the exam:

  • If an RP (Qualifying) registrant has enough clinical experience hours to transfer to RP, but was unable to sit for the Registration Examination due to pandemic restrictions, the RP (Qualifying) registrant may reduce the frequency with which they receive clinical supervision to a ratio of approximately one hour of clinical supervision for every ten hours of direct client contact.
  • If an RP (Qualifying) registrant has enough clinical experience hours for independent practice (which is achieved when a full RP registrant has successfully completed 1000 DCC hours and 150 hours of clinical supervision) but was unable to sit for the Registration Examination due to pandemic restrictions, the RP (Qualifying) registrant may receive clinical supervision on an as-needed basis determined by the RP (Qualifying) registrant and their clinical supervisor.

This flexibility is intended to apply between now and a registrant’s next opportunity to write the exam. If a registrant is working in a new area of practice (e.g., virtual therapy) in which they are not yet competent, they should receive more clinical supervision and/or training. If a registrant fails their next exam attempt, they are expected obtain clinical supervision at the recommended ratio of one hour of clinical supervision for every four to five hours of DCC.

CRPO will continue to provide the maximum amount of flexibility possible within the Registration Regulation while fulfilling our mandate of public protection.

Employers, clinical supervisors, and members of the public can verify an individual’s registration category on CRPO’s public register.