On August 15, 1998, Juliana Skelhon, then president of the British Columbia Association of Practicing Aromatherapists (BCAPA), invited a group of concerned professional aromatherapists to a meeting in Vancouver to discuss the future of aromatherapy in British Columbia. At the first meeting, she encouraged all present to put aside their egos and loyalties to various Associations and work for the good of aromatherapy. This way of being has become the guiding force behind the success of the BCAOA.
Those present at the meeting decided to form a new Association to work to set standards for aromatherapy in BC. Representatives of the following organizations were present:
1. BC Association of Practicing Aromatherapists (BCAPA)
2. Canadian federation of Aromatherapy (CFA)
3. International Society of Professional Aromatherapists (ISPA)
4. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA)
5. Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)
6. Kootenay Association of Aromatherapy
7. International Federation of Aromatherapy (IFA)
8. Aromatherapy Organizations Council (UK) (AOC)
9. Aroma-Genera of North America (AGNA)
10. International Federation of Holistic Bodyworkers (IFHB)
11. BC Hairdressers Association (BCHA)
12. Association of Alberta Massage Therapists and Wholistic Practitioners (AMTWP)
13. American BCAOA (AA)
14. Pacific Aromatherapy Link (PAL)
15. International Aromatherapists and Tutors Association (IATA)
16. Pacific Coast Aromatherapy Association (PCAA) (Now part of BCAPA).
The British Columbia BCAOA Of Aromatherapy was registered under the Society Act on February 17, 1999.
The BCAPA presented to the Health Professions Council (a provincial government body) when the application from the Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) was before them for review. The RMTs believed they still needed to get some of the restrictions on massage that they were seeking. As a result of the BCAPA presentation, the BCAOA proceeded with an application for recognition of aromatherapy as a legally recognized profession under the Health Act.
In December 1999, the BCAOA submitted an application to the Health Professions Council for registration as a professional Association under the provincial Health Act.
In August 2000, a chance reading of a local paper alerted a BCAOA board member to the fact that the Office of Natural Health Products (ONHP), a division of the Health Protection Branch, was holding public meetings in Vancouver. ONHP was responsible for proposing a regulatory framework for natural health products, including essential oils, for the public's safety. Although ONHP had held meetings nationwide all year, the BCAOA directors were the first aromatherapists to attend and provide input. Without representation at that meeting, there was a strong possibility that pharmaceutical companies would dictate essential oil labeling and safety instructions.
After these initial discussions, the BCAOA was invited to Ottawa to make a personal presentation to the directors of ONHP (now known as the Natural Health Products Directorate - NHPD). Due to the length of time taken to have its application reviewed by HPC (which was disbanded in December 2002, and all files turned over to the Ministry of Health for finalization), BCAOA made an application for Occupational Title Protection under the Society Act in April 2002, and this was registered under the BC Societies Act on March 25, 2003.
While this would not provide the degree of protection as would registration under the Health Act, the Board believed some protection of aromatherapy was needed. This registration resulted in the designation of Registered Aromatherapist, which was only recognized in British Columbia.
On March 25, 2003, the BCAOA received Occupation Title Protection under the Registrar of Companies for the province of BC. On April 29, 2009, the BCAOA received certification from the Canadian Intellectual Office branch of the Canadian government to trademark the following titles: Registered Aromatherapist® RA®, Essential Oil Therapist® EOT®.
On November 23, 2016, Colleen Thompson submitted a Society Transition Package from the BC Registry Services as required for the New Societies Act of British Columbia. In the fall of 2016, Colleen Thompson (past BCAOA Secretary and BCAPA President) met with Pat Pogue (former BCAOA President) to propose an amalgamation between the BCAPA and the BCAOA. Colleen and Pat invited the founders to Colleen's home on November 22, 2016, to discuss the proposal. The founders all agreed.
The founders polled the BCAOA membership to determine the Occupation Title Protection's significance to them. The majority voted that it was important to them. As a result, although the BCAPA was a much larger association, it was proposed that BCAPA should be amalgamated into the BCAOA so as not to lose the Occupational Title Protection since it was not transferrable.
On December 1, 2016, all members of the BCAPA and the BCAOA were mailed a letter proposing the amalgamation (immediately after the poll closed). The memberships of both associations voted unanimously in favour amalgamation between the BC
On December 1, 2016, all BCAPA and BCAOA members were mailed a letter proposing the amalgamation (immediately after the poll closed). The memberships of both associations voted unanimously in favour of amalgamation between the BCAOA and the BCAPA.
Throughout 2017, the BCAPA and the BCAOA Boards met to plan the amalgamation of the two associations.
In January 2017, Kelly Ablard, BCAPA Website Coordinator, interviewed the BCAOA webmaster (Jonathan MacPherson) and the BCAPA webmaster (Nathan Wallace).
On February 13, 2017, the Board of Directors held their first joint meeting to discuss finances and web admins. Both Boards followed Kelly Ablard’s recommendation to retain Nathan Wallace to develop the new BCAOA website. They also discussed membership types and costs. At the time, the BCAOA had just one membership type – Registered Aromatherapist. The joint-Boards proposed a Professional Membership level, an Associate Membership level, a Student membership level, a Business Membership level, and a General Membership level. Additionally, the board recommended to discontinue the "Alumni" membership level.
On March 22, 2017, after consideration from both Boards, they said Nathan Wallace would be the better option to develop the new website and continue as the webmaster.
During a joint board meeting on December 12, 2017, the directors agreed to dissolve the BCAPA.
On April 4, 2018 a second Survey Monkey was sent to all members in good standing with the BCAOA and the BCAPA. Q1 100% in favour: Following the Societies Act of British Columbia, the British Columbia Alliance Of Aromatherapy (BCAOA) membership votes to accept all current members in good standing of the British Columbia Association of Practicing Aromatherapists (BCAPA) in an amalgamation with our Association. Q2 100% in favour: The amalgamated Association will retain the name British Columbia Alliance Of Aromatherapy (BCAOA) and will be administered by the elected Board of Directors of the BCAOA.
On April 18, 2018, the associations received the Special Resolution's approval; on April 21, 2018, the BCAPA held their last AGM at the Tsawwassen Inn.
AOA and the BCAPA.
Throughout 2017, the Boards of the BCAPA and the BCAOA met to plan the amalgamation of the two associations.
In January 2017, Kelly Ablard, BCAPA Website Coordinator interviewed the BCAOA webmaster (Jonathan MacPherson) and the BCAPA webmaster (Nathan Wallace).
On February 13, 2017, the first meeting of the joint Board of Directors was held. Two topics of discussion we association finances and webmasters. Both Boards decided to follow Kelly Ablard’s recommendation to retain Nathan Wallace to develop the new BCAOA website. Membership types and costs were discussed. Currently the BCAOA has just one membership type – Registered Aromatherapist. The joint-Boards proposed a Professional Membership level, an Associate Membership level, a Student membership level, a Business Membership level and a General Membership level. Additionally, it was recommended that the “Alumni” membership level be discontinued.
On March 22, 2017, after consideration from both Boards, it was decided that Nathan Wallace would be the better option to develop the new website and to continue on as the webmaster.
On December 12, 2017 , a joint board meeting and agreement to dissolve the BCAPA was held.
On April 4, 2018 a second Survey Monkey was sent to all members in good standing with the BCAOA and the BCAPA. Q1 100% in favour: In accordance with the Societies Act of British Columbia, the British Columbia Alliance Of Aromatherapy (BCAOA) membership votes to accept all current members in good standing of the British Columbia Association of Practicing Aromatherapists (BCAPA) in an amalgamation with our Association. Q2 100% in favour: The amalgamated association will retain the name British Columbia Alliance Of Aromatherapy (BCAOA) and will be administered by the elected Board of Directors of the BCAOA.
On April 18, 2018, the associations received approval of the Special Resolution and on April 21, 2018 - the last BCAPA AGM was held at the Tsawwassen Inn.
On December 1, 2018, a letter on intention to dissolve the BCAPA and proceed with amalgamation with the BCAOA was sent out to all BCAPA and BCAOA members
On December 28, 2018, Colleen Thompson filed a Dissolution Request to the BC Registry Services. Colleen Thompson (previous BCAPA Secretary) and Michelle Beukers (former BCAPA CE Coordinator) signed a notarized affidavit with Patricia Fedewich, Notary Public, in Surrey, BC, re: dissolution of the BCAPA.
In October 2020, the BCAOA Board of Directors approached the membership with a proposal to operate the British Columbia Alliance Of Aromatherapy as the Canadian Alliance of Aromatherapy.
The Board believed that the change of name was necessary to ensure the growth and success of the association by communicating with potential members that we are a national association despite the words "British Columbia" in the title.
Forty percent of the current Board of Directors do not reside in the province of British Columbia, and the membership of the BCAOA spans all ten provinces and all three territories in Canada.
In speaking with members and potential members who reside outside of BC, the most significant deterrent to joining the BCAOA was that the name implies it is specifically a BC association.
Although the Occupational Title is registered in BC, the trademarked titles are federally registered. According to the BC Societies, the Board must have a minimum of one director in an executive position, residing in BC. This rule leaves the door open for members across Canada to join the Board of Directors.
The benefits are considerable, including increased membership, increased exposure, increased continuing educational opportunities Canada-wide, and increased interest in serving on the Board of Directors.
The membership voted overwhelmingly for the By Law change and the Canadian Alliance of Aromatherapy (CAOA) was registered and accepted by the BC Societies on October 29, 2020