Spring greetings to all of you….
As I write my final HeadLines’ message at the end of my year as President, I am aware that I am positioned to do so because of the excellent teamwork and support of my fellow Council members, Dr. Rick Morris, our Registrar and Executive Director, and the College staff. Their ability to work collaboratively to meet important goals and deadlines through a time of change has been exemplary.
I’ve had a five-letter word on my mind a lot in the past months. The word began as a simple noun in the English language in the 1300’s and morphed over time to verb status. Eventually, it took its place in business vernacular and now seems to be on the lips of most everyone I meet as we move beyond our second full pandemic year. The word is “pivot”. Each of us likely applied this word within our professional practice as we fundamentally changed the way that we provided psychological services in the past two years, while maintaining the core goals of professional and ethical service provision. Substantial pivots like this required our thoughtful consideration and some additional training to enable us to meet the standards of practice for the provision of virtual services. I anticipate that the “pandemic pivot” will permanently shape the way we approach our work in the future. And, I thank you as members for the effort you put into this change.
“I anticipate that the ‘pandemic pivot’ will permanently shape the way we approach work in the future.”
The Ministry of Health is asking College Council and staff to pivot as well. Our goal to regulate the profession in a manner that ensures that the Ontario public receives excellent, ethically sound, professional care remains unchanged. Yet, true to the definition of pivot, the ways this goal is accomplished in future may look different. Our College, like all of the Regulated Health Colleges in Ontario, is responding to proposed changes in College governance being considered. A few substantial shifts would include smaller Council sizes; equal public and professional representation on Council; appointed rather than elected professional members; and the separation of Council and Committee member composition. We are still early in this process of proposed change yet preparing for a successful pivot is a priority.
The face of the current Council is changing, and I want to thank professional members, Dr. Philip Ricciardi and Dr. Joyce Isbitsky for their thoughtful contributions to Council as their terms now end. Simultaneously, on behalf of Council, I welcome two new professional members, Dr. Fred Schmidt and Dr. Ian Nicholson, and three new public members appointed since January, Ms. Esther Vlessing, Ms. Cenobar Parker and Ms. Carolyn Kolers. Additionally, the Executive Committee is in the process of appointing two transitional, non-voting, Behaviour Analysts to Council as the work toward the addition of Behaviour Analysts to the College is proceeding well.
Finally, successful pivots in providing virtual psychological services on a provincial level prompted the consideration of a national pivot by the Association of Canadian Psychology Regulatory Organizations (ACPRO). Jurisdictional and legal research efforts have begun to identify the risks, benefits and barriers associated with developing a Canadian plan for the provision of interjurisdictional telepsychology services beyond that necessitated by the pandemic.
I must admit that personally I am pleased to pivot to a new hybrid model of practice that will best meet the needs expressed by my clients in the months ahead. I hope that you are each finding a way to personally apply new ideas to your practice, as you also seek to provide the same high level of professional service to clients in new ways.
Your truly, as we all pivot…
Wanda Towers, Ph.D., C.Psych.