President’s Message

I recall growing up hearing the phrase that a time period in your life may be one of either feast or famine.  A time when you may perceive you have more than you need, or not enough.  Some of you may feel like reading the College of Psychologists of Ontario (the College) news or participating in consultative processes is “too much” in your already too full schedule, while others may feel there are “too few” opportunities to learn about or respond to the College’s activities.  A strategic goal for the College is to engage our membership in a communications process that is “just right”, as it promotes the protection of the public receiving psychological services in Ontario. 

“I want to thank those of you who took the time to respond to requests from Council for consultation feedback in the past few months.”

Transparency is one valued way for the College to meet this “just right” goal. The Ministry of Health’s, College Performance Measurement Framework (CPMF) sets out standards for all Ontario Health Regulatory Colleges to work towards. These standards include the necessity of transparency in multiple domains.  One important domain is transparency in communications about Council decisions.  While some Council decisions are constrained in part or whole by existing regulations, others are made via consultation with the membership, recommendations from Committees and Working Groups, and discussion by public and professional members of Council.  As such, in a self-regulatory College, members of the profession can be direct or indirect participants in the decision-making process via provision of consultation feedback, or participation on Committees, Working Groups or Council.  Council decisions are available publicly by reading through Council Meeting Materials that are posted on the College website a week prior to Council meetings, by reviewing the minutes and materials from prior Council Meetings, and by reading Headlines or social media posts. Members of the College also receive direct email communications from the Registrar about timely topics or decision-making processes. 

You received multiple direct communications from the College in the last few months, in addition to the typical ways that you can access College information. Taken as a whole, these communications are evidence of the College fulfilling its mandate to be transparent about its decisions and activities for the public and the membership.  As you can see, there are many decisions and activities on Council’s agenda. 

The College is also transparent with regard to what potential registrants need to know about registration.  Individuals who are interested in registering as a Psychologist or Psychological Associate can review the necessary steps involved on the College website, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  Registration department staff assist with further clarifying the process as required. A new Supervision Resource Manual for Registration is now available online to guide professional members seeking to supervise individuals in the process of registering for Autonomous Practice with the College.  Additionally, there is now a section on the College website with detailed information and responses to FAQs for those who are considering future registration as a Behaviour Analyst.

The CPMF standards also focus on the necessity of transparency about the Complaints and Discipline processes of the College. In this area however, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, sets out detailed requirements for confidentiality regarding Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) decisions, unless a finding meets the threshold to be posted on the public register.  Instead of details of individual member complaints, the College is to be transparent about themes in complaints received.  These themes are reported in quarterly and annual update reports from the ICRC committee.  The reports are available publicly on the College website and annually on the CPMF website as well.  Additionally, information on how to make a complaint to the College or, how to respond to a complaint is available online or via staff.  Discipline Committee findings are also published for public review.  As professional members you can access a full array of resources on the College website that will assist you in reviewing legislation, professional standards of practice, and ethics codes as you seek to apply this information to your daily practice.  When in doubt, you can access the comprehensive FAQ section of our website focused on ICRC and Discipline processes, ethical practice and the application of standards, or you can contact the Practice Advice Service to ask a question. Finally, you may benefit from attending the pro bono Barbara Wand Seminars that focus on training in ethical practice topic areas.

Our overarching goal is to foster public trust in the self-regulation of the profession by the College via transparency about decisions that are made and activities that are undertaken at the College. 

As a Clinical Psychologist myself, I am reminded that there is this remarkable spot in the therapeutic process when a client is communicating in an effort to be transparent and the Psychologist/Psychological Associate wisely matches their language or tone and asks the kind of questions that provide a safe opportunity for the client to add a necessary clarification.  This moment promotes understanding and assists in building the therapeutic alliance.  Likewise, as the College continues its efforts to be transparent with the public and its membership, effective communication may at times rely on your thoughtful and constructive questions to allow for necessary clarification and ultimately better understanding of the message.  I anticipate that this is a respectful process that we as a profession can master. 

I want to thank those of you who took the time to respond to requests from Council for consultation feedback in the past few months.  And, also to those of you who made the effort to ask the thoughtful and constructive questions about the College’s publications that assist with developing clarifications for all.  Ultimately, the College processes and content are more available now than ever to those who would like to follow along. 

My hope is that College communications will foster a “just right” frame of mind for each of you in the year ahead.


Wanda Towers, Ph.D., C.Psych.