Case #1 (Formal Complaint)

Custody/Access of a Child Client

Consent, Issuing Accurate Documents, and Reporting to Children’s Aid Society

Summary of Concerns:

The Complainant’s child (age 11) was receiving psychotherapy treatment from the Registrant. The Complainant and her spouse were going through a contentious divorce. To assist the courts with deciding custody for the child, the court requested the Registrant provide a summary of the treatment provided to the child.

In the letter submitted to court, the Registrant described the child’s anxious symptoms related to her discomfort about her parents’ separation and the lack of consistency and stability at the Complainant’s home. The Registrant wrote that the child reported a stomachache in advance of visiting the Complainant’s house. The Registrant also reported the child had trouble sleeping at the Complainant’s home. The Registrant noted she was obligated to report to Children’s Aid Society (CAS) last year after the child reported her mom was unable to take her to her dance class because she was intoxicated. The Complainant stated this was not true and that the Registrant should have contacted her to investigate before making such a serious report to CAS.

The Complainant believed the Registrant’s report to court negatively influenced the custody she was awarded. Following the court’s decision, the Complainant revoked her consent for her daughter to receive treatment from the Registrant. The Complainant stated the Registrant is still treating her daughter and is doing so without appropriate consent.

The Complainant stated she wanted the College to order the Registrant to amend her report that was used in court and order the Registrant to discontinue treating her daughter.


It is alleged the Registrant:

  1. Issued inaccurate documentation to be used in court.
  2. Falsely reported information to CAS.
  3. Treated the Complainant’s child without consent.

Notice of Complaint

Upon intake, CRPO staff informed the Complainant that the College does not have jurisdiction to order a Registrant change their report or stop seeing a client. Staff asked if the Complainant still wished to proceed, and she confirmed.

The Registrant was notified of the complaint within 14 days of the College receiving it. The Registrant was informed an investigation would occur; therefore they could wait to provide a written response until after the investigation concluded. The Registrant was provided 14 days to submit the client’s records to the College.


An investigator interviewed the Complainant, the client’s father, and the Registrant’s supervisor. These interviews were conducted separately via videoconference at a time that was convenient for each witness. Some of the witnesses opted to have a support person present during the interview. Witnesses were informed the interview would be audio-recorded in advance of the interview date. Audio recordings are typically not a part of the investigation report but enable the investigator to prepare accurate witness statements in writing. Witnesses were reminded that any information they provide would be disclosed to the Registrant and may be disclosed to the Complainant.

The Registrant was offered an interview and declined.

The investigator collected the client’s record and the court ordered custody decision. The investigator organized the witness statements and documents into a written report.

Registrant’s Response to Investigator’s Report

The Registrant indicated to CRPO staff that they had retained a lawyer. Therefore, all future communication about the investigation was directed toward their counsel. The full investigation report was disclosed to the Registrant’s lawyer. They were provided 30 days to make a written response to the complaint.

The Registrant provided a detailed summary of the treatment the Complainant’s child received. She stated the client records showed that her report provided to court was based on information reported by her client.

Regarding the report to CAS, the Registrant stated that based on the information provided by the child, she had reasonable grounds to report her concerns to CAS. She said it was not her responsibility to investigate these concerns, as that is the role of CAS.

The Registrant stated she continued treating the child because the child had the capacity to consent to treatment on her own. Furthermore, she stated the custody agreement specifies the father should be involved in decisions about the child’s health. The Registrant stated the father supported the child continuing to receive psychotherapy from her.


The complaint was scheduled for review by the ICRC at a panel meeting the following month. In advance of the meeting, the panel reviewed the full investigation and the Registrant’s response.

Following the panel’s meeting, it took 8-10 weeks to put their decision and reasons into writing. In this case, the panel decided to take no action on all issues for the following reasons:

  1. Issued inaccurate documentation to be used in court.

The panel stated the Registrant accurately communicated what was discussed in sessions with her client. The Registrant was not hired to complete a custody assessment, rather she was asked to provide a summary of treatment. Therefore, she was not obligated to engage in any investigation to substantiate whether her client was telling her the truth.

  1. Falsely reported information to CAS.

The panel stated the Registrant did have reasonable grounds to report to CAS based on the concerns reported by the client. The panel also stated the clinical notes indicate the Registrant consulted with her supervisor prior to doing so. The panel indicated there was no evidence to suggest the Registrant’s report was ill-intentioned. The panel expressed that it is not the responsibility of the psychotherapist to investigate child protection concerns and that the RP acted accordingly.

The panel stated any decision that discourages reporting to CAS could cause a chilling effect among the profession. The panel reiterated its support in reporting to CAS if a psychotherapist is still unsure after consulting with a clinical supervisor.

  1. Treated the Complainant’s child without consent.

The panel said CRPO’s Professional Practice Standards (section 3.2: Consent) states that there is no minimum age for consent. Clients under 18 years of age can, if they are capable of understanding and appreciating the consequences of their decision, give consent. For minors, consent must be considered on a case-by-case basis in light of the young person’s capacity and applicable laws. The panel shared that in light of the child’s capacity as noted and assessed in the registrant’s session notes, the child did not require consent from her parents to receive treatment.