ATRA's Grandfather Clause

A grandfather clause exempts people already established in a profession from new rules regarding membership criteria, while a new rule will apply only to new applicants. 

ATRA will maintain a Grandfather Clause to ensure current Professional Members retain their right to ongoing Professional Membership status at the onset of the Degree as Entry to Practice April 1, 2021.

ATRA acknowledges that the profession has been built with considerable effort from membership over the past thirty years and their contribution is highly valued in Alberta’s current workforce.  

ATRA supports strategies to encourage members to stay in the workforce, pursue continuing education and, for those who choose, work toward earning a bachelor’s degree. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am currently employed as a Recreation Therapist. My degree / diploma will not meet the April 1, 2021 Degree to enter Practice requirements [Therapeutic Recreation or Recreation / Leisure Studies Degree] Will I be able to retain my Professional Membership Status with ATRA?

A. Yes!  ATRA will honour our Grandfather Clause to protect your current member right to maintain Professional Membership status. As with all membership categories, you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Renewal of annual membership and payment of fees
  • Participation in ATRA’s Continuing Competence Program

Q. What guarantee can you provide me that the Grandfather Clause will be honoured if Recreation Therapy becomes a regulated health profession? 

A. In 2017, ATRA made an official declaration to uphold the Grandfather Clause within our Application for Regulation under the Health Professions Act (2017).

The following statement was declared in the official document

It is anticipated that current recreation therapists with membership in ATRA will transition to a provincial register. Grandfathering and Equivalency – Current professional members of ATRA will be eligible for grandfathering in order to maintain credentials for employment. The proposed grandfathering and equivalency criteria emphasizes inclusivity which acknowledges discrepancies in past education seen in unregulated professions and which acknowledges years of practice experience and ability to self-assess competencies. (ATRA Application for Regulation, 2017 Costs and Benefits of Regulation)


Q. The Grandfather Clause applies to my Professional membership status. However, I have let my membership lapse. Will ATRA allow me to renew my membership?

A. Yes, ATRA will welcome you back and has options for you to regain your professional membership status. 

If your membership has expired less than three years from today's date, you can renew online. You will be required to pay a late fee and update your online CEU Report to ensure you have met ongoing professional development obligations. 

If your membership expired three years or more from today's date you can regain a Professional Membership status. ATRA has a Return to Practice pathway taking into consideration the applicant’s previous education / experience and commitment to a professional development plan prior to granting professional membership status. For more information please see the Return to Practice Track