Professionals should not go up against their regulator alone
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (“CRPO”) is the regulator for psychotherapists in Ontario. They:
- decide who has a certificate to practice as a psychotherapist
- handle complaints against psychotherapists
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 a psychotherapist’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 psychotherapists with matters including:
- Advising psychotherapists on compliance with relevant legislation and standards
- Responding to complaints and investigations at the College
- Representing psychotherapists at the Fitness to Practise Committee
- Defending psychotherapists in hearings before the College’s Discipline Committee
- Advocating for psychotherapists to resolve matters through the College’s complaint resolution process
- Representing psychotherapists in appeals before the Divisional Court of Ontario
- Advising psychotherapists on issues within their field including those related to licensing, privacy, confidentiality, and employment issues related to staff and contractors
Applying for a license or as the College refers to it as a “Certificate of Registration” can be a complex process.
The CRPO offers varying pathways to become registered dependent on an applicant’s educational credentials and previous experience.
Based on the pathway the applicant pursues, applications are reviewed by the Registrar who seeks a combination of the following requirements:
- Successful completion of a master’s-level program central to the practice of psychotherapy or an equivalent graduate diploma
- Successful completion of an education program reviewed and approved by the CRPO
- Completion of the Professional Practice & Jurisprudence learning module
- Current credentials – completion of an education program within the past 12 months OR continued practice within the past 12 months
Once applications are reviewed, the Registrar may:
- Issue a certificate of registration if all requirements have been met OR
- Refer the application to the Registration Committee for further review if the applicant does not clearly meet the registration requirements
The Registration Committee will review the application, the applicant will be notified and given an opportunity to respond to the referral. The Committee will then direct the Registrar to do one of the following:
- Issue a Certificate of Registration
- Issue a Certificate of Registration if the applicant successfully completes examinations set or approved by the panel
- Issue a Certificate of Registration with specified terms, conditions, or limitations
- Refuse the application
Our office can help you complete an application and offer legal advice concerns on you may have. If you are planning to apply for a certificate from the CRPO, contact us today.
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario accepts complaints from:
- members of the public
- clients of psychotherapists
- employers of psychotherapists
- fellow psychotherapists
Members of the College are required to file a complaint, if during their practice they have obtained reasonable grounds to believe that another member of the same or different College has sexually abused a patient, is incompetent or is incapacitated.
The Complaints Process is as follows:
- A complaint is filed in writing and submitted to the College via fax, email, or surface mail
- The CRPO will provide the psychotherapist with a notice of the complaint
- The psychotherapist is given an opportunity to respond to the complaint
- An investigation may be conducted to gather more information
- The complaint is then reviewed by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC)
- The ICRC will issue a decision
Decisions of the ICRC may include:
- Take no further action
- Issue written advice to the psychotherapist
- Require that the member appear before the panel for a caution
- 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 CRPO, please contact us today.
The ICRC may refer complaints that contain allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence 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
- Imposing terms, conditions, and limitations on the member’s certificate
- Require the member to appear before the panel to be reprimanded
- Require the member to pay a fine of up to $35,000
- Order the member to reimburse trail and litigation fees
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
Matters may be referred by the ICRC to the Fitness to Practise Committee if the complaint may include information where a member’s conduct was impacted by an ongoing physical or mental medical condition – often referred to as “incapacity”
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 through rehabilitative measures
Once an investigation and hearing are conducted at the Fitness to Practise Committee, they may impose some or all of the following:
- Restrictions on a member’s certificate
- Suspension or revocation of a member’s certificate
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.