The College to Regulate Applied Behaviour Analysis


In December 2017, the provincial government undertook a review of the need for regulation of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). In its submission to this review, the College indicated its willingness to consider undertaking this role should regulation of ABA be introduced. On September 19, 2019 the College received a letter from Minister Christine Elliott of the Ministry of Health and Minister Todd Smith of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services inviting the College to confirm its interest in accepting this responsibility. At its meeting of September 27, 2019, the College Council voted to confirm its willingness to undertake the regulation of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Legislation Introduced

On April 27, 2021, the Ontario government introduced Bill 283, Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario’s Health System Act, 2021. Included in Schedule 4 of this Bill is the legislative authority for the College to regulate the profession of Applied Behaviour Analysis. The proposed legislation, if passed, will repeal the Psychology Act, 1991 and replace it with the Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis Act, 2021.

If passed, the new Act would establish the regulation of two separate and distinct professions, Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis. The current College of Psychologists of Ontario would be the regulator for both professions and would be renamed the College of Psychologists and Behaviour Analysts of Ontario to reflect its expanded role.
The proposed legislation would maintain the regulatory framework for current members, Psychologists and Psychological Associates, but additionally would:

  • Define the scope of practice for ABA as follows, “The practice of applied behaviour analysis is the assessment of covert and overt behaviour and its functions through direct observation and measurement, and the design, implementation, delivery and evaluation of interventions derived from the principles of behaviour in order to produce meaningful improvements”;
  • Protect the title of “Behaviour Analyst”;
  • Expand the “Representations of Qualifications” restriction to include holding oneself out as qualified to practice as a Behaviour Analyst or in a specialty of behaviour analysis; and
  • Update the size and composition of the current College’s Council to enable equitable representation for both professions.

Moving Forward

The College will now begin to draft regulations to be made under the Act and consider the By-law and Policy changes that will be necessary to support the regulation of Behaviour Analysts; work which must be completed before the Act can be fully proclaimed. The new Act and any other legislative changes will not come into force until a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Regular updates on this major initiative will be provided to members as additional information becomes available.

Rick Morris, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Registrar & Executive Director