For this edition of my Registrar’s message, I begin by referencing preeminent psychologist, Dr. Marsha Linehan, “change is a natural life occurrence.” We can attempt to hold onto the present moment, and yet we inevitably come to learn that the present has become the past. Time is absolute. There are many changes in the health regulatory space, and the College will either modernize with the times, or risk becoming a relic of the past. Our psychology colleagues in British Columbia (BC) are facing a major change to regulation, such that psychology will be one profession within a multi-profession College which includes: dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, and speech and hearing professionals. The impetus for the consolidation of Colleges was the “Cayton report”, which I highly recommend all registrants read, as what becomes clear is that a regulatory College has a fiduciary duty to the public, even when decisions may be unpopular to their registrants. Self-regulation is a privilege and can be removed or modified if a regulator demonstrates professional self-interest over the public interest. We cannot take this social contract lightly; Ontarians deserve the safest, highest-quality psychological services through effective regulation of the profession.
Change is also potentially brewing with our psychology colleagues in the United States, as they are managing advocacy efforts that are “anti-regulation.” Take a moment to imagine what that would mean for the public if psychology was unregulated…the potential harms are unimaginable. What can we do at the College? We need to demonstrate that we are responsible stewards of resources and that our steadfast focus is on the public interest over that of our profession. To that end, if folks are interested in reviewing the complete financial analysis that led to the Council’s decision to amend By-law 18: Fees, please click here (pgs.218-240) for the briefing note as well as a video version where I walk the Council through the financial status of the College and the need for decisive action to course-correct into the future.
As I write this message, I do so with a heavy heart due to the tragic amount of suffering in the world right now; for us here in Ontario, and throughout the globe. We are witnessing some of the darkest depths of human behaviour, and the devastation that human beings can cause to each other. I am a firm believer that psychology professionals are an antidote to human suffering; you are healers. At the same time, many of you are also going through your own experiences of pain and trauma. We are not immune to the psychological injuries that afflict our clients, and it is my hope that our registrants can find some level of healing amidst this horrific time. The people of Ontario need psychological services more now than ever, and I know that you will rise to the occasion.
You are likely aware that the Courts have rendered their decision on the recent College case that has received global attention. The College’s decision was upheld by the Courts. We are witnessing emerging case law, which is an opportunity for us to reflect and to learn from these legal decisions with humility and curiosity. A fallout of the Court’s decision is that the College has received numerous death threats directed towards us as staff and our families. Despite the threats, the College remains committed to our mandate and following the rule of law. We will not be intimidated by nefarious players, and we will continue to move the College forward into the future.
I end my message by quoting the great Dr. Frankl and by encouraging us all to be kind to each other; life and work are hard enough as it is, let’s ensure that psychology is a remedy to human suffering and not a catalyst.
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
Tony DeBono, MBA, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Registrar & Executive Director