Professionals should not go up against their regulator alone

The College of Psychologists of Ontario (“CPO”) is the regulator for psychologists in Ontario.  They:

  • decide who has a certificate to practice as a psychologist
  • handle complaints against psychologists

But your College does not work for you.  In fact, the College can:

  • deny applicant’s applications for a certificate to practice or
  • suspend, revoke or place terms, conditions, or limitations on psychologist’s certificate to practice

If you plan to apply to the College or have received notice of complaint it is important that you have representation to protect your interests and defend your rights.  

Our team of experienced lawyers can assist psychologists with matters including:

  • Advising psychologists on compliance with relevant legislation and standards
  • Responding to complaints and investigations at the College of Psychologists
  • Representing psychologists at the Fitness to Practise Committee
  • Defending psychologists in hearings before the College of Psychologists’ Discipline Committee
  • Advocating for psychologists to resolve matters through the College’s complaint resolution process
  • Representing psychologists in appeals before the Divisional Court of Ontario
College of Psychologists Appeals Fitness to Practise Committee Discipline Committee Complaints Process Registration


Applying for a license or in the College’s language a “Certificate of Registration” for either supervised or autonomous practice is a complex process.  

Decisions are made by the Registration Committee who seek extensive evidence of an applicant’s:

  • Qualifications, including specific tests which are sometimes required by the College
  • Experience
  • Work history

Our office can help you prepare this information and offer legal advice on concerns you may have.  If you are planning to apply for a certificate from the CPO, contact us today.

Complaints Process

The College of Psychologists (“CPO”) receives complaints from:

  • members of the public
  • clients of psychologists
  • employers of psychologists
  • other psychologists

Members of the College are required to file a complaint, if during their practise they have obtained reasonable grounds to believe that another member of the same or different College has sexually abused a patient. 

The first step of the complaint process is at the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, often referred to as the “ICRC”.

The ICRC is a written process – the complainant, the College and the member exchange a series of documents:

  1. A complaint against a member is made
  2. The College provides the member with an official acknowledgement of the complaint
  3. The member has an opportunity to file a written response to the complaint
  4. The ICRC will issue a decision 

The potential outcomes of a decision include:

  • A decision to take no further action
  • Issue advice or caution a member 
  • Require a member to attend a continuing education or remediation program
  • Refer a matter to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee

These outcomes can have very serious financial and personal impacts on members.  If you have received a complaint from the CPO, please contact us today.

Discipline Committee

If the ICRC considers a complaint to be “high risk” it can be referred to the Discipline Committee.

Before a matter progresses to a hearing at the Discipline Committee a pre-hearing may occur.  A pre-hearing is an opportunity for the College and the member to present their case in an informal manner.  

In our experience a pre-hearing at a college can be used to:

  • Reduce the allegations against a member
  • Reduce the penalty being sought by a member
  • Raise important legal issues before trial

At the Discipline Committee a trial may take place where witnesses are called, and evidence is heard.

Outcomes at the Discipline Committee can include:

  • Revocation of the member’s certificate
  • Suspension of the member’s certificate
  • Terms, conditions, and limitations on the member’s certificate
  • Orders for the member to pay some or all of the costs of a trial

These are extremely serious public outcomes.  If your matter has or could be referred to the Discipline Committee, please contact us today.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee is a specialized Committee dealing with cases where a member’s conduct was impacted by an ongoing physical or mental medical condition.  

In our experience, a referral to the Fitness to Practise Committee can offer a number of benefits to members, because:

  • Complaints are generally resolved in a more private manner
  • The goal of the process is ensuring the health of the member

However, it is unusual for members to be referred to Fitness to Practise Committees without legal representation.  It takes experienced and detailed representation to present the evidence screening Committees, like the ICRC, want to see to consider a referral to Fitness to Practise.  If there is a complaint against you, please contact us today.


Decisions of the:

  • ICRC, and
  • Registration Committee

can be appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”).

Decisions of the:

  • Discipline Committee, and
  • Fitness to Practise Committee,

can be appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court. 

Unfortunately, self-represented individuals are very rarely successful in appeals.  We have unique expertise in appeals from regulatory colleges.  If you are considering an appeal, please contact us today.