Guidelines for Change of Area of Practice for Autonomous Practice Members

UPDATED: January 2018

Ontario Regulation 74/15, Registration (s.7. and s.18) specifies that it is a term, condition and limitation for all classes of certificates of registration that the member shall practise the profession only within practice areas of the profession that are authorized for the member by the Registrar or a panel of the Registration Committee, or under the supervision of a member who is authorized by the Registrar or a panel of the Registration Committee to practice in those areas. (Appendix C of the Registration Guidelines provides definitions of practice areas.)

Any change in areas of practice or client groups constitutes an amendment to the statutory terms of a member’s registration and therefore the member must apply for a variation pursuant to Section 19. of the Health Professions Procedural Code (Code), Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA),1991. An application for change in area of practice or client groups will not be considered within the six months following a member’s oral examination.

As per Standard 5.2, Changing/Expanding Areas of Competence, of the Standards of Professional Conduct, 2017 :

A member planning to change or expand his/her professional practice to include a new area or client group, beyond his/her existing authorized area of practice and/or client group, must inform the College, undertake appropriate training, education and supervision, and satisfy any other formal requirements specified by the College.

A member wishing to provide services outside of his/her authorized areas of practice or his/her authorized populations may do so only under supervision.

In keeping with the Standards, members wishing to change or expand their areas of practice or client groups must undertake training and supervision to yield competency comparable to other members of the College who are recognized for similar practice. Members must inform the College prior to undertaking such training and supervision and request feedback from the College’s Registration Committee on the suitability of their plan. The member’s plan should be formatted according to points a), b), and c) outlined in these Guidelines.

Training consists of two elements: acquisition of knowledge and acquisition of skills. The amount of training required will vary, depending on the degree of overlap between the desired new practice area or client group and that for which the member is already authorized. For example, members wishing to extend their practice to include clinical psychology or clinical neuropsychology will need to undertake considerable training. The addition of adolescent clients to the practice of a member already practising autonomously with children would require less training.

Acquisition of knowledge

The types of activities suitable for fulfilling this criterion include successful completion of graduate level courses, individual reading, and attendance at workshops. Content should include both the necessary clinical material and the ethical and jurisprudence issues relevant to the new area of practice or client group. The training curriculum should ensure coverage of all facets of knowledge for the area of practice listed in Appendix C of the Registration Guidelines and which the member had not previously acquired.

Acquisition of skills

Skills are acquired through practice under the supervision of a member competent in the new practice area or with the new client group. In addition to supervised work with clients, skills acquisition will include discussions with the supervisor of relevant clinical issues, diagnostic formulations, and the practical application of ethics and jurisprudence knowledge. Members must adhere to all of the standards relevant to supervision as specified in the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct, 2017.

Once the training is complete, the member must apply to the College in writing, requesting a variation of the condition imposed under either Section 7 (Psychologist) or Section 18 (Psychological Associate) of Ontario Regulation 74/15, Registration. The application must include:

a) a statement of the practice area(s), and/or client group(s) which the member wishes to add;

b) a detailed description of the knowledge acquired by the member, including transcripts of courses or certificates of continuing education as well as a list of readings completed; this description should be structured in such a way as to demonstrate that the combination of the member’s prior training and the new training yields the requisite knowledge for the proposed practice as described in Appendix C of the Registration Guidelines;

c) a description of the skills acquired including the number and type of clients seen under supervision, the nature of the services provided to them, as well as the number of hours in supervised practice;

d) independent verification from the supervisor(s) confirming that the training described in points b) and c) has taken place, detailing the knowledge and skills attained by the member, outlining the ethical issues discussed, and attesting to the member’s readiness for autonomous practice in the new practice area(s), and/or with the new client group(s).

The application will be reviewed by a panel of the Registration Committee who may request additional information from the member or the supervisor(s). The panel may also require that the member attend an interview administered by the College as an additional means of verifying readiness for expanded practice. Interviews normally are conducted by three members of the College, at least one of whom must be competent in the new practice area(s), or with the new client group(s). A public member of Council may be present at any interview as an observer. The usual interview fee will apply.

If an interview is required, the applicant should anticipate that it will cover the member’s readiness for autonomous practice in the new practice area(s) and/or with the new client group(s). The interview will also include a review of the application of relevant ethics and jurisprudence.

Upon receiving the application and submissions of the member, and after considering the application and submissions pursuant to Section 19(5) of the Code, as well as the report of the interview team if applicable, the panel may make an order doing one of the following:

  • Refusing the application;
  • Directing the Registrar to modify the term, condition and limitation on the member’s certificate of registration by authorizing the member to practise in the new practice area(s) and/or with the new client group(s).