A regulated profession includes:

  • The recognition of qualifications for the occupation determined by provincial authority.
  • Legislation passed by a vote of members of the Alberta Legislative Assembly called the Health Professions Act (HPA). All regulatory bodies under the HPA are referred to as Colleges.
  • A license from the regulatory body.
  • A set of requirements that define how regulated health professions provide ethical and competent service to the public.
  • A granted one or more occupational title(s) that will be unique to that profession.
  • Title protection where persons who are not registered with the College will be prohibited from using those granted title(s) which assures the public that the professional they are dealing with is accountable to that regulatory body.

Reference: Health Professions Act, April 2024. https://kings-printer.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=H07.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779845323

Regulatory College:

  • Once a provincial government regulates a profession, the college for that profession becomes the regulatory body.
  • The college holds its registered healthcare professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.
  • Colleges will protect consumers’ rights to safe, competent, and ethical healthcare.
  • Colleges are directed by councils, consisting of professionals (elected by their peers) as well as members of the public who represent the publics’ interests as healthcare consumers.
  • Professional ATRA members at the time of the transition to the college will be eligible to be grandfathered in as registered professionals.


  • Entry-to-practice registration requirements.
  • Mandatory to be registered with the college to practice recreation therapy in Alberta.
  • Established ethical and practice standards.
  • Ensuring registrations hold appropriate professional liability insurance.
  • Fair and timely investigation and resolution of public complaints and in some cases, more formal disciplinary hearings.
  • Maintaining minimum standards of professional development and continuing education
  • Title protection.
  • A minimum amount of practice hours (‘currency’ hours) determined by the college must be accumulated working in the role of a Recreation Therapist or other approved titles/roles.

Professional Association:

  • ATRA will be a separate entity to the college.
  • Provides professional learning and development opportunities.
  • Advances the profession through research and development.
  • Membership is mandatory.

All in all, a regulator college is focused on the safety of the public, in protecting those receiving services from potential harm. Being registered with a college and being an active member of a professional association is considered best practice.


  • The certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS) certification is a designated title for recreation therapists who have demonstrated professional competence by acquiring a specific body of knowledge and passed the NCTRC exam.


  • Regulation is a set of requirements or consistent rules that define how regulated health professions provide ethical and competent service to the public.

Reference: NCTRC

  • To ensure that the best and safest services are being provided to the consumer by professionals who have attained the appropriate training required for a recreation therapist.
  • To ensure fair and consistent regulatory processes for registration and disciplinary procedures for all professions.
  • To heighten the awareness, confidence and expectations of the public, patients, health employers and other health professionals. This would provide a clear understanding of the services provided and clinical outcomes to be obtained.
  • Assure people trained in TR are providing TR and legitimizes the field by holding professionals accountable.
  • Support continuity of care.
  • Legitimize our profession by holding recreation therapists just as accountable as other professions, consequently increasing respect and visibility of TR as a profession.
  • Define the scope of practice for recreation therapy, eliminating any confusion of our duties as recreation therapists.


Why is Recreation Therapy Licensure Important? California TR Licensure Task Force: Dr. Laura McLachlin - lmclachlin@csuchico.edu; ATRA Licensure Task Force Chairperson: Debbie Robinson– Debbie@gndhome.co

  • Watch for regular updates.
  • Review presentations on regulation in our Knowledge Center.
  • Talk about regulation with your colleagues and professional contacts.
  • Watch for opportunities to be a member of the regulation committee.
  • If you have a contact with a government official and would like some speaking points on ATRA’s pursuit of regulation or if you have any questions about regulation, please contact president@alberta-tr.ca