Note: If you are in crisis, please contact your family doctor, go to your closest hospital, call the Ontario Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600, call the Suicide Crisis Helpline by dialing 988, or call 911.
Employers, regulated health professionals, and members of the public can file reports about Registered Psychotherapists to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Our job is to ensure that Registered Psychotherapists are providing appropriate care to Ontarians.
If you are an employer or regulated health professional seeking information about the mandatory reporting process, this is where you can find more information. Alternatively, if you have a concern about the care you received from a Registered Psychotherapist, but you do not wish to file a formal complaint, this page will show you how to file a report.
Please note that the person filing the report (the “reporter”) is not a party to the investigation and decision-making process. You will not receive a copy of the investigation report, registrant’s response, or the decision and reasons; however, you may be contacted to participate in an interview. If you are unsure about whether you want to file a formal complaint or report, please review Should I File a Complaint or Report. Kindly note that both processes require you to provide your name and contact information to the College.
CRPO recognizes the reporting process can be difficult for both the reporter and the registrant. It is important to note that your report form and any additional information you provide throughout the investigation will be disclosed to the registrant, with the exception of your personal contact information. While CRPO will always consider the information carefully, neutrally, and in the public interest, the outcome may not be the one hoped for by the reporter or psychotherapist.
CRPO takes the confidentiality of the reports process seriously. Information about reports is confidential to the reports process. During an investigation, psychotherapists are generally asked to provide relevant documents from the client record. CRPO will make every effort to protect the confidentiality of client records. Reporters must keep in mind, however, that if a decision is referred to the Discipline Committee, the information obtained through the reports process may be presented at a hearing, which is open to the public. Reporters who are concerned about the provision of their clinical file to CRPO or have other questions about the confidentiality of the reports process, are advised to contact us.
You may wish to call CRPO and speak with a staff person about the process. The staff member will be able to provide you with important information. Contact information is available on the Contact Us page. Please note that staff make written notes for all phone calls. These notes may be disclosed to the registrant in future investigations.
If you decide to submit a report, please use the Report Form. You can submit the form by email, mail or fax. If you are unable to provide your report in writing, please contact CRPO to request accommodation.
Once you have submitted a report, a staff person will contact you to confirm receipt, obtain any clarification needed and offer to explain the reports process. Staff will review the report and determine what additional investigation, if any, is required.
In most cases, the registrant will not be notified of the report until a preliminary investigation is complete. There is no required timeline for the College to provide notification to the registrant.
ROUTE 1: If the Registrar determines there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe misconduct occurred, an investigator will be appointed to conduct a formal investigation (the investigator may be a staff person or an investigator contracted by the College). If this occurs, the investigator may request to speak with you in order to learn about the events and circumstances surrounding the report. The investigator’s role is to interview relevant witnesses and collect any necessary documentation. The investigator is not a decision-maker.
Once the investigation is complete, the registrant will have an opportunity to respond to the investigation before it is reviewed by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). This committee is made up of members of the profession, as well as members of the public who sit on CRPO’s governing Council. The committee screens reports about CRPO registrants and decides how they should be addressed. The following is a description of various outcomes the committee is able to order. They are sometimes used in combination with one another and are presented in order of increasing seriousness:
- Take no action – The committee will not take any action where the information raised through the investigation process appears to include no risk or minimal risk to the public.
- Issue written advice – Where an investigation has identified that there may be some room for improvement in a registrant’s professional practice or conduct, the committee can issue written advice, including recommendations. CRPO does not monitor or follow-up with the psychotherapist about whether they have followed the advice; however, non-cooperation could be considered in the future, e.g., if a future complaint is made. This outcome reflects concerns that are of low risk to the public.
- Remedial agreement – Where a concern about Registered Psychotherapist appears to present a low risk to the public, the psychotherapist and CRPO may enter into an agreement. The agreement generally includes self-directed learning and submission of an assignment for evaluation, such as a reflection paper.
- Specified continuing education or remediation program (SCERP) – Where the committee identifies a practice deficiency that poses moderate risk to the public, it can order the registrant to complete a SCERP, which is a specific learning program meant to address the shortcoming.
- In-person caution – If the committee identifies a serious concern that poses moderate risk to the public, it can order the psychotherapist to receive a caution from the committee. A caution sends a strong message about the need for immediate improvement.
- Undertakings – In situations involving a medium-to-high risk to the public, the psychotherapist, in consultation with CRPO, may voluntarily agree to restrict their practice or resign from CRPO and not reapply. When a registrant resigns in such circumstances, a note to that effect will be posted to the Public Register and will remain there.
- Referral to the Discipline Committee – Where investigation reveals a serious concern posing a high risk to the public, and where the evidence is sufficient to support a legal hearing, the ICRC will refer specific allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee. A discipline hearing is a formal legal process. Hearings are generally held in public. More information about the discipline process is available on theDiscipline page of our website. Referrals to the Discipline Committee are relatively rare compared with other possible ICRC outcomes. Where a risk of harm to the public requires an immediate restriction on the registrant’s practice, the ICRC can make an “interim order” restricting the member’s ability to practise.
Note: As of April 1, 2017, any ICRC decision involving an in-person caution, SCERP or undertaking, will result in a notation being made on the registrant’s Public Register profile.
ROUTE 2: If the Registrar determines there are not reasonable and probable grounds to believe misconduct occurred, or if the issues appear to pose a low risk of harm to the public, the Registrar may decide a formal investigation is not necessary. In such cases, the Registrar may resolve the concerns by alternative means such as issuing written advice to the registrant or closing the file with notice to the registrant. This information will remain on the registrant’s internal file as prior history and may be considered in the future should the College receive similar information of concern again.
In some situations, a person is legally required to report information to the College about a registrant. These mandatory reporting scenarios include:
- a regulated health professional has reasonable grounds to believe that a Registered Psychotherapist has sexually abused a client;
- a person who operates a facility where a Registered Psychotherapist practises has reasonable grounds to believe that the RP is incompetent, incapacitated or has sexually abused a client;
- a person terminates an employment or business relationship with a Registered Psychotherapist for reasons of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity; and
- a Registered Psychotherapist has reasonable grounds to believe that another RP has practised unsafely.
If one of the above applies, promptly submit a report in writing to the College to the attention of the Registrar. Detailed requirements for making a mandatory report are set out in sections 85.1-85.6 of the Health Professions Procedural Code.
For a list of these and other mandatory reporting obligations, please review Mandatory Reporting Obligations for Registered Psychotherapists.
Aside from mandatory reports, a person may wish to bring information to the attention of the College without filing a formal complaint. Please see “Should I file a complaint or a report?”.
One requirement of being a member of a regulatory body is self-reporting certain events to the College. The following is a list of items that registrants needs to disclose to CRPO:
- A finding of guilt in relation to any offence in any jurisdiction.
- Any current offence charges or bail conditions.
- A finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity (or any similar finding), made by another regulator in any jurisdiction.
- Any current proceeding for professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity made by another regulator in any jurisdiction.
- A finding of professional negligence or malpractice in any jurisdiction.
- A refusal by a regulatory body to issue registration or a license.
- Any resignation or revocation of a registrant’s license with another regulator in any jurisdiction, and whether the registrant’s license was in good standing at the time.
- Any other event that would provide reasonable grounds for the belief that the registrant will not practise psychotherapy in a safe and professional manner.
- Change of name or contact information.
If one of the events above occurs, please write, fax or e-mail the College as soon as practicable. In making your report, please provide details, e.g., dates, locations, description of events, outcomes of proceedings, etc. College staff may follow up for additional information.
Individuals involved in the reports process are invited to write to CRPO with their comments or concerns about the process. The Registrar and/or Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee will review any such submission and determine what steps, if any, CRPO can take to address the concerns. CRPO uses the information received to improve the process.
If a report investigation raises concerns about the psychotherapist’s mental and physical capacity to practise the profession safely and effectively, the ICRC follows a process to inquire into the registrant’s capacity. More information can be found on the Incapacity Proceedings page of our website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fairness requires CRPO to disclose information we receive about Registered Psychotherapists and allow them the opportunity to respond. This includes the names of individuals who make a complaint or report. CRPO can redact information that is clearly irrelevant, such as the personal contact information of the individual who submitted the information.
While you may find it helpful to have a lawyer, it is not required. CRPO investigates and decides on all report matters fairly, whether you have a lawyer or not.
While Registered Psychotherapists (RPs) do not need a lawyer to respond to a complaint or report, we advise RPs to use a lawyer. This is because the outcome of the process can have a significant impact on the RP’s practice and career.
- The public can email or phone staff at any time throughout the reports process and will receive a response within 3 business days.
- Wherever possible, CRPO will accommodate a request to speak with a staff member of a requested gender.
- A support person can file a report on behalf of a client. Additionally, you can have a support person with you at an interview with CRPO staff or an investigator, or to a hearing.
- When disclosing difficult information, staff provide advance notice to the recipient to explain the information may be difficult to read and ask if the person has supports in place. We also offer to send the materials to the client’s new therapist in situations where it may be helpful for the client to review the documents in a supportive environment.
- If a reporter requires accommodation putting their report in writing or in a permanent medium, staff will arrange and pay for a contractor to assist.
- Staff do not disclose sensitive information on Fridays because mental health supports (and staff/investigators) are less accessible over the weekend.
- Translation services are available for complainants in their preferred language.
- CRPO uses a file sharing platform which allows for secure bi-directional file sharing. This provides a simplified solution for reporters to securely send staff report materials.
- Designated staff at CRPO manage all formal requests for accommodation to ensure accessible services, information and communication to individuals with disabilities. Accommodation will be customized to each person according to their needs.
Additional Supports Offered For Reports Relating to Sexual Abuse
- When using a contract investigator, staff inform the client they will be contacted by an outside party regarding the investigation within the next few business days. This also provides an opportunity for the client to ask any questions of staff.
- Where possible, investigators ensure clients alleging sexual abuse have access to all documents which will be reviewed in the interview in advance.
- The investigator will accommodate the client’s needs with regard to the format and pacing of interviews (e.g., if the investigator requires 3 hours’ worth of interview time, the investigator will ask if the client is more comfortable booking 2 sittings).
CRPO staff cannot speculate or predict the outcome of reports. Every report is different and is evaluated on the information gathered. The purpose of the reports process is to protect the public. If educational activities will prevent the concerns from happening again, the ICRC is likely to take this approach. Only the most serious reports, e.g., involving dishonesty or abuse, are referred to the Discipline Committee for a formal hearing, provided that there is enough evidence to support a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence.