MTABC 2020-2021 report for CAMT’s AGM

Music Therapy Association of British Columbia (January 2020 – March 2021)

  • Membership: 210 members: 125 MTAs, 23 Life, 21 Interns, 15 Honorary, 8 Grad Students, 8 Students, 5 Associates, 4 MTA Retired/Inactive, and 1 friend

  • 13th annual conference: “Moving the Profession Forward: Music Therapy in Mental Health” attended with a record-breaking 145 registrants. The conference was free and hosted on Zoom. Keynote speaker was Dr. Michael J. Silverman. Other presentation topics included GIM, multicultural intergenerational choir, therapeutic value of hip-hop culture, Social Justice Informed Music Therapy, emotional woundedness, and cultivating resilience. Panel discussion topic was “How do we cope in times of collective crisis?” Thank you conference chair (Brittany Robart) and committee (Natalie Kimpton, Joshua Denny Keys, Olivia Nussey, Katherine Lim), and many other wonderful volunteers for making this annual event possible. See MTABC Conference Page here.
  • CE workshops: 8 workshops including: “Telehealth” with Amy Di Nino. “Readjustment Series” (4-part) focusing on Long term care, Children, Our rights as workers (hosted by Health Sciences Association – HSA), Business owners (hosted by Jennifer Buchanan and panelists Esther Thane, Sandy Pelley, and Katherine Deane). In early 2021, we offered “Unleashing Innovation” (3-part) hosted by Jennifer Buchanan. Thank you CE Workshops chair (Lorri Johnson) and Interior Representative (Kayla Turnbull) for organizing these opportunities for professional development and connection.

  • Vancouver Island & Gulf Island Region: 22 music therapists. 1 CE workshop on autism (presented by Esther Thane). 1 CE workshop on telehealth (presented by Andrea De Vries). At least 1 online check-in related to COVID-19. Goals are to organize email lists and more online check-ins. Thank you Supriya Crocker, Regional Representative, for your leadership.
  • Fraser Valley Region: 10 music therapists participated in a Zoom meeting to discuss COVID-19 job restrictions, new work guidelines, and how everyone was coping. Thank you to outgoing Regional Representative, Erin Parr, for your efforts over the past few years.
  • Interior Region: Advocating for unionized music therapy positions as none currently exist in the Interior Health Authority. Updated interior email list and welcomed 2 music therapists from the Northern Health Authority. Zoom meeting hosted to meet MTABC Vice-President and connect with everyone in the region. Thank you Kayla Turnbull, Regional Representative, for your enthusiasm.
  • Advocacy – Autism Initiative: Goals were to have MTAs on the Registered Autism Service Provider list, music therapy funded for children under 6, and MT represented in the Autism Handbook for families. A survey was sent out and a petition letter was created. Thank you to our autism initiative chair (Lisa Mullaly) and committee (Rachel Bergen, Esther Thane, Melody Owen, and Susan Summers) for supporting autistic children and their families.
  • Advocacy – Long-term Care Initiative: New project created in response to the pandemic. Our member survey resulted in a 32% return rate. 68% had their financial situation or work hours changed, nearly 60% lost work, 1/3 maintained their hours, and 18% increased their hours due to the single-site policy. 31% had been deemed an essential health worker. The majority of those who lost work were contracted music therapists. In general, employed and unionized MTAs worked throughout the pandemic.
  • Advocacy – Local health authorities: In 2020, Island Health (IH) and Fraser Health Authority (FHA) banned singing because it was identified as a high-risk activity with aerosol transmission. In March 2021, FHA banned live instruments. A committee (Birgit Biesser, Jo-Ann Tait, Plonia Robinson, Susan Summers) has been formed to address these matters.
  • Advocacy – Comparative chart of music-based practitioners and organizations: Thank you Lisa Mullaly, Kirsten Ziegelmeier, Tatyana Dobrowolski, Carolyn Neapole, and Susan Summers for completing this important resource.
  • Government Regulations: The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in BC (FACTBC) submitted a package to government in December 2020 to apply for designation as a regulated health profession under the Health Professions Act (HPA). In March 2021, the Minister of Health stated it would not consider the application while it was working to modernize the way health professions were regulated in BC. Under the law, the Minister must decide whether the regulation of counselling therapy is in the public interest. FACTBC is encouraging members to send letters to their MLAs.
  • Thank you to CAMT for granting us a Continuing Education bursary so we could provide resources to better support the business owners in our community and our membership as a whole during this challenging year.
  • Goodbyes: Mary Cobham (Director of Professional Services), Katherine Deane (Past-President), Lisa Mullaly (Autism initiative chair), Melody Owen (Vice-President), Erin Parr (Fraser Valley Regional Rep), Brittany Robart (Conference Chair)
  • Welcome: Sheila Harry (Fraser Valley Regional Rep), Brittany Robart (Vice-President), Kristen Shin (Director of Professional Services)
  • 9 Job postings in 2020, a significant decrease from the 33 postings last year

In April, I will be stepping down as president so that I can begin my maternity leave. Thank you to the wonderful MTABC Board of Directors: Mary Cobham, Alexina Davis, Sam King, Carolyn Neapole, Melody Owen, and Susan Summers. Much appreciation to our Administrative Assistant Janet Phipps for keeping us organized.

Respectfully submitted,


President, MTABC

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