On Wednesday, the department of Health and Wellness announced the creation of a new college, the Nova Scotia College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists.
As of November 5, the college will begin regulating the two professions within Nova Scotia, which currently do not need to be licensed.
The request to become self-regulating came from the Speech and Hearing Association of Nova Scotia.
"Establishing a college will give these health-care providers the ability to control and regulate their profession, and it will help ensure Nova Scotians are getting appropriate care," said Minister of Community Services Kelly Regan on behalf of Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey.
Patricia Cleave, president of the Speech and Hearing Association of Nova Scotia says they are pleased to see the creation of the college, something they've been working on for a number of years.
"Licensing of the professions will help ensure the safety of the public and the effectiveness of services provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists by the setting of appropriate standards of conduct and competence," she says. ""The two professions will benefit from interprovincial recognition of licences, professional recognition and opportunities for collaboration."
A release from the department explains that audiologists identify, assess and treat hearing loss and other auditory disorders, such as tinnitus and balance disorders, while speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech, language, voice, swallowing and feeding problems.
"When someone has a hearing or speech deficit then that really impacts their quality of life. It has an impact for children in terms of educational achievement, it has impacts for ability to socially interact, and employment for adults."
Both professions work in both the public and private sectors.
"There are significant waiting lists in the public sector, and costs for private services," says Cleave. "So it's certainly something that we need more of."
Cleave hopes that the creation of the college could even indirectly draw more speech pathologists and audiologists to the province.
"With the creation of a college, the professions will have increased recognition, increased labour mobility between provinces," she says. "So that might attract some additional speech language pathologists and audiologists to move to Nova Scotia."
The new college will have the authority to set standards of practise and professional conduct, investigate complaints and discipline members under the Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists Act.
For more information visit the Speech and Hearing Association of Nova Scotia website.