UPDATED: September 2020
One of the ways that the College of Psychologists of Ontario ensures that members of the public receive competent and ethical professional psychological services from qualified providers, is to ensure that all applicants for registration be of good character.
All applicants to the College of Psychologists of Ontario are required to complete a Declaration of Good Character as part of their application. The Declaration of Good Character requires applicants to provide details about their past conduct.
Good character also is an on-going expectation of members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, who are required to provide declarations of their conduct to the College as part of the annual membership renewal process.
The purpose of this document is:
- to describe the process by which the College of Psychologists of Ontario evaluates information about an applicant’s past conduct prior to registration in Ontario; and
- to identify the criteria that the College uses when conducting such an evaluation.
To whom does this policy apply?
This policy applies to all applicants of the following classes of certificates of registration offered by the College of Psychologists of Ontario:
Certificate of registration for a psychologist authorizing autonomous practice.
Certificate of registration for a psychologist authorizing interim autonomous practice.
- Certificate of registration for a psychologist authorizing supervised practice.
- Certificate of registration for a psychological associate authorizing autonomous practice.
Certificate of registration for a psychological associate authorizing interim autonomous practice.
Certificate of registration for a psychological associate authorizing supervised practice.
The following legislation identifies registration requirements in relation to an applicant’s past conduct:
3. The following are registration requirements for all certificates of registration:
- The applicant must provide details of any of the following that relate to the applicant:i. A conviction for a criminal offence or an offence related to the regulation of the practice of the profession.
ii. a finding of professional misconduct, incompetency or incapacity, in Ontario in relation to another health profession or in another jurisdiction in relation to the profession or another health profession.
iii. a current proceeding for professional misconduct, incompetency or incapacity, in Ontario in relation to another health profession or in another jurisdiction in relation to the profession or another health profession.
When is a more detailed review of an applicant’s Declaration of Good Character initiated?
A “yes” answer by an applicant to any question or questions in the Declaration of Good Character will not necessarily result in a refusal to register. However, the College’s Registrar will request further details from the applicant for any questions answered in the affirmative.
The Registrar initiates a review of an applicant’s Good Character in cases where:
- an applicant answers “yes” to any question or questions in the Declaration of Good Character ; and/or
- when a confirmation of an applicant’s registration from another jurisdiction in relation to the profession of psychology or another health profession indicates a finding or current proceeding of professional misconduct, incompetency, or incapacity.
Following a review, where the Registrar has reasonable doubts about whether the applicant is likely to practice the profession of psychology safely and ethically, the applicant will be notified in writing that the Registrar has referred his or her application to the Registration Committee for a further review (and decision) with respect to the applicant’s eligibility for registration.
The College recognizes the presence of historic and persistent injustice in the Canadian criminal justice system towards marginalized groups, and is committed to taking that context into account when evaluating previous convictions as a reflection of character.
The applicant will be notified of the referral of his or her application to the Registration Committee in writing and will be provided with a period of at least 30 days to submit any supporting documentation to the Registration Committee.
What types of supporting documentation can the applicant provide?
The following are some examples of supporting documentation that the applicant may provide to the College upon submission of his or her application for registration, or upon receiving written notification that his or her application has been referred to the Registration Committee:
- A personal statement describing the incident(s), and an explanation as to whether or not the incident(s) currently impacts the applicant’s likelihood of practising the profession competently and ethically.
- Official copies of any court documents, police records, discharges, pardons etc. (official copies of these types of documents must be sent directly to the College from the proper authority);
- Evidence of successful completion of any rehabilitation or remediation imposed by a court or other regulatory body;
- Letters of reference from employers or colleagues who are aware of the facts of the matter;
- Letters from health care providers who are were engaged in treating the applicant, providing their professional opinion on the applicant’s capacity to practice.
Supporting documentation will form the material to be reviewed by the Registration Committee before a decision on registration is made. Should the applicant find that additional time is needed in order to arrange for supporting documentation to be sent to the College, the applicant must contact the College directly to request an extension.
How does the Registration Committee undertake the review?
Decisions are made in the public interest. When undertaking a review, the Registration Committee will consider each application on a case by case basis, and will consider all of the information provided. Should the Committee find that additional information or clarification of any information is necessary before a decision can be reached, the Committee will notify the applicant in writing. The applicant will then be afforded a period of additional time to supply any requested additional information or clarification.
What criteria are used to assess the information provided by the applicant both in the Registrar’s initial review and in the Registration Committee’s review?
The Registration Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing the applicant’s information:
1. The nature of the conduct in question:
a. The seriousness of the conduct ;
b. Duration and frequency of the conduct ;
c. How long ago the incident(s) occurred ;
d. How the incident(s) is relevant to professional practice ;
e. Whether there is a potential risk to the public posed by the applicant’s conduct ; and
f. Whether there were any mitigating circumstances.
2. Honesty of the applicant
a. Did the applicant make an honest declaration in their Declaration of Good Character?; or
b. Did the College learn of the applicant’s conduct by some other means e.g. from another regulatory board, or from an academic institution.
3. Resulting actions taken by the applicant
a. Was there any remediation or rehabilitation taken by the applicant? ;
b. Was there an expression of remorse from the applicant? ;
c. Was the applicant able to subsequently practise the profession of psychology following the incident(s) with no further evidence of issues of conduct occurring?
What are the potential outcomes of the Registration Committee’s review?
Following their review, the Registration Committee will make a decision on the applicant’s eligibility for registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
The following are the potential Committee decisions:
- Accept the application for registration with no terms, conditions, or limitations imposed; or
- Accept the application for registration with terms, conditions, or limitations imposed; or
- Refuse the application for registration.
How will the Registration Committee communicate their decision to the applicant?
What recourse does the applicant have if they are refused registration?
In all cases applicants will be provided with a written notification of the Registration Committee’s decision including the reasons for its decision.
All decisions of the Registration Committee may be appealed by the applicant to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) within 30 days of receiving the written notification from the Registration Committee.