The Discipline Process
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) is responsible for addressing complaints and other concerns about the conduct, competence and capacity of its registrants.
Serious matters involving allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence may be referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing.
A discipline hearing is a formal, legal process. Evidence is presented to a panel of three to five Discipline Committee members, including members of the profession and members of the public appointed to the College’s Council by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council.
The College is represented by a lawyer who prosecutes the case. The registrant is advised to retain a competent representative, but may choose to be self-represented. In addition, the panel has its own legal advisor, known as Independent Legal Counsel (ILC), who is independent of the College and the registrant.
Careful preparation goes into conducting a hearing. The names of witnesses, documentary evidence and the reports of expert witnesses, must be disclosed in advance, both by the College and the registrant. In addition, pre-hearing conferences may be held to discuss whether any issues can be settled or simplified in advance of the hearing.
Discipline hearings are generally held in public.
If a registrant is found to have committed professional misconduct, the committee may make one or more of the following orders:
- direct the Registrar to revoke the registrant’s Certificate of Registration;
- direct the Registrar to suspend the registrant’s Certificate of Registration for a specified period of time;
- direct the Registrar to impose specified terms, conditions and limitations on the registrant’s Certificate of Registration for a specified or indefinite period of time;
- require the registrant to appear before the panel to be reprimanded;
- require the registrant to pay a fine of not more than $35,000 to the Minister of Finance;
- if the act of professional misconduct was the sexual abuse of a client, require the registrant to reimburse the College for funding provided for that client under the Client Relations Program; and
- if the panel makes an order under paragraph 6, require the registrant to post security acceptable to the College to guarantee the payment of any amounts the registrant may be required to reimburse under the order under paragraph 6.
If the professional misconduct involved sexual abuse of a client, the panel shall reprimand the registrant and suspend their Certificate of Registration. In cases involving intercourse or certain forms of sexual touching of a client, the panel is required to revoke the registrant’s Certificate of Registration for a period of at least five years.
Rules and Practice Directions
The Discipline Committee has Rules of Procedure that govern how discipline hearings are conducted. The Rules are reviewed by the Committee periodically.
The Discipline Committee may also adopt practice directions. These currently include:
- Practice Direction on the Health Professions Discipline Tribunals Pilot
Information for Registrants
CRPO provides this document to registrants who have allegations about their conduct referred to the Discipline Committee. It contains general information about the hearing process.
Discipline Hearing Observers
Discipline hearings are generally open to the public, unless the panel has ordered otherwise. Attendance at a hearing is subject to available space. In order to reserve an observer seat at a discipline hearing, please contact us at email@example.com.
General Information for Observers
- The use of any audio/visual equipment, including video cameras, laptop computers, tape recorders or phones in the hearing room is not permitted.
- Cell phones, pagers, alarms and electronic devices should be turned off during the proceedings.
- Refrain from conversing during the proceedings.
- Remain as quiet as possible in the area immediately outside of the hearing room to avoid disrupting the proceedings.
- Refrain from approaching or speaking with any hearing participants, including the member, witnesses, the discipline panel or lawyers.
- No food or drink other than water is permitted in the hearing room, except during breaks.
- Please refrain from wearing perfume, aftershave or other scents.
Protocol to be Observed During the Hearing
- Generally, only hearing participants may speak, and then only when recognized by the Discipline Committee panel Chair.
- All present are required to rise as the Discipline Committee panel enters or leaves the hearing room, and to remain standing until the panel is seated or has exited the room.
- Observers are advised to enter and exit the hearing room during breaks only.
- Latecomers will be seated during breaks in the hearing.
- Anyone not following this protocol may be removed by the Chair.