Regulation of Psychotherapy

Bill 171 - Schedule R - Psychotherapy Act

(excerpt from Ontario Government site www.ontla.on.ca)

The Schedule enacts a new health profession act with respect to the regulation of psychotherapy and makes complementary amendments to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and a number of other Acts.

The College is established as the College of Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario and the new profession the College will govern is psychotherapy.

The scope of practice of psychotherapy is the assessment and treatment of cognitive, emotional or behavioural disturbances by psychotherapeutic means, delivered through a therapeutic relationship based on verbal or non-verbal communication.

In the course of engaging in the practice of psychotherapy, a member is authorized, subject to any terms, limitations or conditions on the member’s certificate of registration, to treat, by means of psychotherapy technique delivered through a therapeutic relationship, an individual’s serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that may seriously impair the individual’s judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning.

The College Council will be composed of at least six and no more than nine persons who are members who are elected in accordance with the by-laws, and at least five and no more than eight persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Council shall have a President and a Vice-President who must be elected annually by Council from among Council members.

The Schedule restricts the use of the titles "psychotherapist" and "registered mental health therapist" to members of the College. No person other than a member may hold themselves out as qualified to practise as a psychotherapist or registered mental health therapist in Ontario. Anyone who contravenes these restrictions is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 for a first offence and a maximum of $50,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

Transitional provisions in the Schedule provide for the appointment of a transitional Registrar and a transitional Council by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The transitional Council and Registrar may do anything that is necessary or advisable for the implementation of the Schedule and anything that could be done once the Act is in force, including accepting and processing applications for registration.

After the transition period, the transitional Council shall be the College Council, if it is constituted in accordance with the Act or, if it is not, it shall be deemed to be the Council until a new Council is constituted under the Act.

The short title of the new health profession Act is the Psychotherapy Act, 2007.

The Schedule contains a number of complementary amendments, including the following. It amends the RHPA to add the new health profession Act and the profession of psychotherapy to Schedule 1 under the RHPA. The Schedule also adds the new controlled act of psychotherapy to the existing list of 13 controlled acts within subsection 27 (2) of the RHPA, defining the new controlled act as, “treating, by means of psychotherapy technique, delivered through a therapeutic relationship, an individual’s serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that may seriously impair the individual’s judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning”. It is clarified that a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is authorized to perform the controlled acts.