Elections to the College Council were held on March 31, 2022. We are pleased to announce the following results:
- Fred Schmidt, Ph.D., C. Psych. – District 1 (North) – Elected
- Ian Nicholson, Ph.D., C.Psych. – District 2 (Southwest) – Acclaimed
- Wanda Towers, Ph.D., C.Psych. – District 3 (Central) – Acclaimed
The term of office for these Council Members begins on June 17, 2022 and continues until the first Council meeting following the elections in 2025.
We wish to extend our congratulations to the successful candidates and want to thank all those who participated in this year’s College Council elections.
To introduce these members of Council, we are providing the Biographical and Candidate Statements as
they were submitted to the College as part of the election process.
Fred Schmidt, Ph.D., C.Psych. – District 1 (North)
I graduated from the University of Windsor Clinical-Child program in 1991 and moved to Thunder Bay where I began work at Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, a community-based child development and mental health centre. Thirty-one years later, I am happily still in Thunder Bay and at the Children’s Centre Thunder Bay. From 1991 to 2014, I worked in many different frontline clinical roles, including outpatient assessment and treatment, youth justice, and 14 years of intense consultation in the child welfare and court system completing parent capacity assessments. Over this time, I expanded my competencies to include forensic work and added adults to my original training with children, adolescents, and families. Over the past 8 years, I have continued my role at the Children’s Centre in a senior Director role, supporting overall clinical services and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) practices. In May 2021, I became certified as a Lean Black Belt practitioner and have actively supported Lean CQI practices across the agency. This recent training has been a wonderful learning experience and shown me the power of groups to enact change and enhance organizational performance.
Given my strong belief in the scientist-practitioner model, I have intentionally complemented my full-time clinical position with regular teaching and research. My research experience has mirrored my clinical work, publishing over 25 academic papers on topics related to mental health, youth justice, and child welfare. I have included students on the majority of these papers with the goal of mentoring them in the scientist skills of our profession. Since 2008, I have also regularly taught courses at Lakehead University including 14 different undergraduate and graduate courses. I believe these past experiences have helped me understand the needs and issues faced by psychologists in academic and clinical positions.
A highlight in my career has been the recognition that I received from the Canadian Psychological Association when I was nominated and the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Practitioner Award.
I have also been fortunate to have had multiple past and current opportunities to be involved with the College. For example, over the past nine years, I have regularly participated as an Oral Examiner. In addition, I have personally supervised 20 Psychologists/ Psychological Associates for registration with the College. This has given me a strong understanding of the entry level requirements for autonomous practice as a Psychologist/ Psychological Associate in our province. In addition to the oral examination process, I have served on the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee for a total of six years. The overall benefit of these past experiences has been to give me a deeper understanding of the role of the College in protecting the public and ensuring a high quality of practice standards. It has also been rewarding to work with the wonderful colleagues and College staff who have impressed me with their integrity, dedication, and hard work. It has been an honour to be a small part of supporting these professional activities and has motivated me to continue to assist in the important work of the College.
My past professional experiences and current work with the College have increased my desire to continue to contribute to our profession through the work of the Council representing District 1. My desire and hope is to apply my different background experiences to the needs of the College. Having worked in the North for the past 31 years, I want to bring a northern voice and perspective to the ongoing activities of the College while fulfilling the mandate to protect the public and regulate the profession by upholding our practice standards. Thank you for considering me in this possible role.
Ian Nicholson, Ph.D., C.Psych. – District 2 (Southwest)
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I have been registered for independent practice with the College of Psychologists of Ontario since 1994 and am currently authorized to practice in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology and to practice with Children, Adolescents, and Adults. While born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, I completed my Psychology Baccalaureate, Masters, and Doctoral training at Western University and have spent most of my career in hospital psychology at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) – although I have been fortunate to have brief stints in chronic pain rehabilitation at St. Joseph’s Health Care, London and as the Director of the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Mental Health Research in their Department of Psychology. For most of the last 25 years, I have been the Manager for Psychology at LHSC.
Throughout my career, I have also focused on teaching and training, including current Western University appointments as Assistant Professor (part-time, limited duties) in the Faculty of Education, Lecturer and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology, and Associate Professor (part-time) in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Department of Psychiatry. I was the Psychology internship director at LHSC (1997-2007) and have been a Consulting Editor on the APA/APPIC journal “Training and Education in Professional Psychology” since 2008. I was on the CPA Accreditation Panel (1999-2005) and had the good fortune to serve numerous times as a panel site visitor. I also co-chaired the 2019 CPA “National Conference on the Future of Professional Psychology Training in Canada”.
In my career, I have also been able to serve in many roles on numerous committees and working groups for both the Ontario and Canadian Psychological Associations and have been chosen to serve as President of both professional associations.
However, I have always maintained an ongoing link with professional regulation. With our College, I have served on the (now defunct) Government Relations Committee (1999-2000), on our Registration Committee (2009-2011), on our Jurisprudence and Ethics Examination Committee (2002-2017) including serving as its Chair (2009-2016), and am currently on our Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC). I have also been on College Task Forces on Supervision and Delegation (2008-2009) and Internship and Training Issues in Ontario (2010-2011). I have also been an oral examiner for our College starting in 2004 and have been a peer reviewer and a coach within our College. With the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), I was on the EPPP Item Development Committee (2004-2011), have served on the EPPP Examination Committee since 2012, and have served as its chair since 2018. I also currently serve on the ASPPB Committee of Exam Chairs.
While our College Council has had several challenges over the years, its work in the next few years will be its most demanding since our shift from the Ontario Board of Examiners in Psychology during 1991 through 1994. Our expanded role to become the College of Psychologists and Behaviour Analysts of Ontario will require drafting new regulations and numerous by-law and policy changes. While such matters may sound ponderous, these major changes will require our College Council to question many of the current systems and structures that have developed in recent decades in its work of protecting the public. I believe that that my experiences in leadership with different psychology professional and regulatory organizations, and my experiences working in supporting our College, will allow me to actively support our Council during this unique and important period of transition.
Wanda Towers, Ph.D., C. Psych. – District 3 (Central)
I began my career path as a Psychologist with undergraduate training at the University of Toronto and graduate work at the University of Waterloo. I registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) in 1998 and later expanded my area of competence, which now includes a clinical and rehabilitation focus with adults and seniors.
I began work at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care during my doctoral training and remained for a decade. I gained experience not only in assessment and intervention, but also in consultation, supervision, public speaking and authoring materials for various program areas. After two years working with adults with serious burns and amputations at St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital, private practice opportunities drew me north to Vaughan and then Barrie. I have worked on my own and with colleagues in group practices since 2006. I value the opportunities to consult and connect with colleagues that group practice offers.
I enjoy teaching, supervision and board/committee work as an extension to my clinical practice. I am an Adjunct Faculty Supervisor at University of Waterloo, providing supervision for clinical psychology graduate students. In the past, I’ve taught undergraduate psychology courses at Tyndale University; participated as a public member on the Placement Coordination Services of York Region Board; and represented my profession on the Senior Support Program Advisory Board and the Planning Committee for the Apotex Centre, Baycrest.
My involvement in the CPO’s regulatory process began when I became an Oral Examiner and Peer Reviewer for the Quality Assurance Program in 2013. These experiences were positive ones and led me to seek Registration Committee engagement and ultimately election as District 3’s Professional Member of Council in 2019. My participation in College work has expanded further since my election to Council. As I write this, I am President of Council and my committee experiences now include Chairing the Executive and Finance & Audit Committees, Co-chairing the Registration Committee and participating as a member of the Discipline and ICRC Committees. I am also pleased to participate with Colleagues on the ABA and EDI working groups.
As I seek re-election, I recognize that it has been a privilege to work to fulfill our College mandate of monitoring and regulating psychological services, with the goal of protecting the interests of the public in Ontario. As President of Council, I had the opportunity to provide leadership at Council over the past year. It is my goal, if re-elected, to continue to work co-operatively with members of Council and Committees, the Registrar and staff to achieve excellence in self-regulatory governance as Behaviour Analysts are welcomed into the College; equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives are furthered; interjurisdictional telepsychology initiatives are reviewed; and our oral examination process is revised. Although the pandemic has slowed the pace of change, I am optimistic that a recent decision by Council will take shape in the coming months; to take a proactive approach to gathering information regarding the goal to retire Master’s level registration and presenting this to the Ministry of Health. In a new term on Council, I will continue to bring a respectful and informed voice to deliberations, while remaining committed to transparent and collaborative decision making. I appreciate your vote as I seek re-election in District 3 this year.