Preparing for Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Regulation

The Road to Regulation

The College of Psychologists of Ontario is actively working towards welcoming Behaviour Analysts to what will be the new College of Psychologists and Behaviour Analysts of Ontario established under the yet to be proclaimed Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis Act, 2021. This Act creates the new health profession of Applied Behaviour Analysis with its own distinct scope of practice.

A Working Group, made up of College Council members, Behaviour Analysts and ABA educators, has begun to consider the appropriate registration requirements for new Behaviour Analyst graduates entering practice for the first time, and for experienced Behaviour Analysts currently practicing in the province. The goal is to ensure that all registered Behaviour Analysts have the qualifications and competencies necessary to deliver safe, effective, and quality care to the Ontario public. Out of these considerations, a draft Registration Regulation will emerge.  The Working Group will also review, and recommend amendments as needed, to other existing College regulations, including Quality Assurance, Professional Misconduct and Advertising. 

Consultation is an important part of the regulation-making process.  The College has begun to consult with major stakeholders, most notably, the Ontario Association of Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA) and the Ministry of Health.  As further details of the process are developed, the College will consult more broadly with the public, its members, and other stakeholders, including the ABA community.

Regulation development follows a formal process set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.  This Act requires the College to circulate proposed regulations to the public and stakeholders for a minimum of 60 days.  At the conclusion of the circulation period, the College Council will consider the feedback received, make any changes deemed appropriate, and approve the final draft regulation for submission to the government for its review, approval, and ultimate proclamation on a date of its choosing.

Other College programs and policies, including quality assurance, client relations, and the professional standards of practice will be reviewed, and revised as needed, to incorporate the practice of ABA. Recognizing that ONTABA has already produced versions of some of these documents, the College will look to capitalize on this excellent work. In addition, the College by-laws, including election to Council and committee composition, will be reviewed, and amended to incorporate the addition of members from the ABA profession.

When Can Behaviour Analysts Begin to Register with the College?

The College does not yet have a definite date when it can begin to accept applications.  When the registration requirements are finalized and the regulation-making process nears completion, but before the new Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis Act, 2021 is proclaimed, pre-registration will begin.  At that time, Behaviour Analysts currently in practice, and new graduates, who meet the registration requirements, will be able to apply to the College.  The goal of the pre-registration period is to ensure that qualified Behaviour Analysts can continue to practice and provide services to their clients as of the date of proclamation and after, ensuring continuity of care.

On the day the new Act is proclaimed and going forward, only those who have registered with the College will have access to the restricted title “Behaviour Analyst”. 

As the development of this important initiative continues, the College will communicate regularly with the public, its members, the ABA profession and other stakeholders through targeted e-mails, its website, and social media channels about its progress on the road to regulation. 

Paula Garshowitz, OD., Project Lead – ABA Regulation
R. Morris, Ph.D., C.Psych.,  Registrar & Executive Director