Historical Perspective

BCTRA History

The British Columbia Therapeutic Recreation Association originated as a sub-group in a voluntary Therapeutic Recreation registration program within the Recreation Integration Branch of the BC Recreation and Parks Association.

On February 22, 1990, a vote within this group indicated a majority for a separate organization representing the professional needs of the Therapeutic Recreation professionals (Recreation Therapists).

The B.C.T.R.A. was incorporated under the Societies Act on June 17, 1991. The first annual general meeting was held on September 19, 1991, at which time, the first executive was elected.


  • Philosophy, Bylaws and constitution developed


  • British Columbia Therapeutic Recreation Association is incorporated – first paid memberships and inaugural AGM held
  • Logo & tag line established “as a profession we can move mountains”
  • The Newsletter is born


  • First Therapeutic Recreation Week implemented in British Columbia


  • First official chapter is established in Victoria


  • Code of Ethics adopted
  • Continuing Education Units implemented


  • First Recognition Awards distributed


  • Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association is formed
  • CTRA Standards of Practice are officially in place


  • Transfer of Function Guidelines document presented to membership


  • Celebrating 10 Progressive Years Vision in Action!
  • Website Launch


  • Promotional brochure – first one issued


  • Restructuring Task force struck to review association and membership structures


  • Legal Advice regarding title protection influenced changes to:
    • Change of title to Therapeutic Recreation Practitioner (abb. TRP)
    • Continuing Education Membership Survey results compiled and published
  • Regulation Task Force formed – dedicated to seeking title protection under the societies act, the establishment of a professional College and a registration process
  • Restructuring Task Force – ‘Visioning Sessions’ are conducted to seek the membership’s advice through face to face meetings held across the province, resulting in the dissolution of Chapters and the introduction of Professional Practice Groups. Recommendations are also made to restructure board positions
  • Reduced student fees introduced as a method of inclusion and building future membership


  • Launch of new Logo and tag line: “Leisure, Recreation and Play…building blocks of health and wellness”
  • Legal Advice regarding title protection influenced changes: Professional Membership Criteria was clearly defined with specific courses defining qualifications for membership
  • Disciplinary process and appeal process clearly defined and adopted
  • Health Protection Act changes limit the ability of BCTRA to seek title protection under the Societies Act
  • Membership fees for new graduates are half price for one year after graduation
  • Leisure Education Workshop facilitated by Norma Stumbo was offered in Surrey, BC


  • BCTRA hosts the 9th Annual CTRA Conference in Vancouver
  • Chapters are officially dissolved
  • Professional Practice groups are started


  • Douglas College Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation Degree program starts in September
  • CTRA Standards of Practice for Recreation Therapists and TR Assistants published


  • Steering Committee Struck to address the issues of self governance, certification and regulation
  • CTRA endorses official negotiations with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification


  • On-Line Registration system in place for renewal of memberships
  • Steering Committee Report adopted
  • Membership criteria changes – as of March 30, 2012 new applicants must hold a TR degree to qualify for professional membership.
  • CTRA / BCTRA Joint Membership was trialed for one year


  • CTRA Standards of Practice (2006) – adopted to replace the 1998 BCTRA Standards of Practice
  • Series of research workshops offered including ‘Research 202: Moving ahead with TR research projects’ facilitated by Dr. Colleen Reid to allow practioners to become more comfortable with the research process


  • Building a TR Research Culture in TR Education (and Beyond) – TR week research workshop was facilitated by Dr. Colleen Reid in Vancouver
  • Videoconferencing used for the first time for this education opportunity – including members from Vancouver Island, Prince George, and Kelowna
  • BCTRA hosts CTRA conference “Power in Process” held in Whistler, May 25 – 27th
  • Director of Regulation board role was created replacing the position of Director of Advocacy
  • Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ) – online version subscribed to providing members access to annual issues as well as archived materials
  • Research Network was formed – members were those who expressed interest in undertaking a research project with Dr. Colleen Reid
  • PayPal – now used to purchase memberships renewals done via BCTRA website


  • Standardized Recreation Therapist Job Description created and available on the website for use by practioners and potential employers
  • Board of Director handbook developed for orientation of new directors
  • New Website now in operation
  • Membership fees increase by $25 – $210 for Professional and $110 for Supporter memberships


  • Norma Stumbo Workshop held on April 15, 2013 at UBC Robson Square
  • Membership survey conducted to understand current membership needs, areas for improvement and areas where potential has been so far untapped
  • Research Network project is published in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal “Using Community-Based Research to Explore Common Language and Shared Identity in the Therapeutic Recreation Profession in British Columbia, Canada” Colleen J. Reid, Anna Landy and Paloma Leon
  • CTRA / BCTRA joint membership is formalized by signing a 2 year agreement
  • New Mission Statement was adopted
  • Membership fees for serving Board members are waived
  • Role of President-Elect/Vice-President introduced
  • Reference Manual For: Supervising Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Internship Students created to support and guide professionals when hosting a student intern


  • Regulations Task Group formed to provide recommendations for advancing Therapeutic Recreation in the pursuit of safe, competent and ethical practice as well as steps towards certification, regulated practice and licensure
  • Administrative Assistant paid position created providing thirty-five hours per month of work for the association. First Administrative assistant was hired in September
  • Regional Ambassador volunteer positions created for each area of the province to strengthen connections with all BCTRA members.  
  • GoToWebinar – subscription to a web-based videoconference program used by the Board of Directors, committees and education sessions
  • Membership fees for new graduates are half-price for one year after graduation (re-established)
  • Membership Criteriamember motions introduced to change membership criteria for re-inclusion of TR Diploma graduates and the second to recognize graduates from the University of Calgary Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Bachelor degree program. Both motions were defeated
  • Social Media Age BeginsFacebook group , Instagram and a Twitter account are created


  • Regulation Task Group Key Terms: Licensure/Regulation – document completed
  • Facebook group has increased from 110 members to a wonderful 194 members and we continue to grow
  • Membership Criteria – A Special General Meeting was held on June 11 at Sunny Hill Hospital. Bylaw change addressed by this Special Resolution was that a professional member could again be a person who received a two year diploma in therapeutic recreation from an educational institution recognized by the Board on or before December 31st, 2008
  • Strategic Plan Development Begins – following the AGM members both in person and those participating by video conference were asked to participate in an open space technology session which was facilitated by Roy Johnson, from The Neutral Zone Coaching & Consulting Services Inc


  • TR Month Poster created, mailed to all members and posted on the website
  • Framework for Recreation in Canada workshop: facilitated by: Dr. Susan Hutchinson (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia) was held at Sunny Hill Care Centre on February 12, 2016
  • Promising Practices in Therapeutic Recreation Related to the Framework for Recreation in Canada research project launched. This is a joint research project between Dr. Susan Hutchison (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia); Dr. Colleen Reid (Douglas College, B.C.) and Dr. Anne-Marie Sullivan Memorial University (St. John, Newfoundland). This research project will identify and collect unique contributions of Recreation Therapists working and facilitating meaningful leisure experiences for those they work with within the five identified goals of the Framework
  • TR Seniors Focus Group is formed  
  • New TR Posters – series of three completed and available on the website
  • BCTRA Open Space Technology Report 2016 as part of our strategic plan development – Student Liaison, Amanda Murphy created this document based on our 2015 strategic plan development session following the AGM
  • Therapeutic Recreation Practice: A Strengths-Based Approach Symposium held September 15 & 16 in Coquitlam: presented by  Dr. Lynn Anderson, CTRS, SUNY Cortland and Dr. Linda Heyne, CTRS, Ithaca College
  • Private Practice Group begins
  • Newsletter – first edition of our new on-line issue posted
  • 25th Anniversary Awards Dinner and Social took place on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the Holiday Inn, Metrotown – this was a ‘sold out’ event which included students, practitioners, and retired Recreation Therapists.


  • Social media presence continues to grow: we now have 111 followers on Instagram and were able to cover some highlights from the CTRA Conference in Kelowna.


BCTRA Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Booklet ‘Evolution of an Association – Honoring our past and working positively towards our future’ January 2000
Monique Kendrick’s (Bicknell) article in Vision and Views Volume 13; Issue 5 January – March 2005
Updated by Brenda Kinch in 2008 and 2016 from association records.
January 2017