Beginning January 1, 2024, this version of the Standard is out-of-date. For the current version, visit the 2024 Standards document. This page will be updated to the current version in the coming months.


Disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct

Instances may arise where a member, in the course of practising the profession, engages in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct that has not been foreseen by specific definitions of professional misconduct articulated by the College. Such behaviour goes beyond legitimate professional discretion, or errors in judgment, and constitutes misconduct as defined by the profession – as opposed to the public. This standard reassures the public that members of the College share a vision of respect for clients, and a commitment to
practising with integrity and professionalism.


It is professional misconduct to practise the profession while the member’s ability to do so is impaired by any
condition or dysfunction or substance which the member knows or ought to know impairs his/her ability to

Conduct unbecoming a member of the profession

Members rely on one another to conduct themselves privately and in the community in a manner consistent with the values, beliefs and standards to which they adhere professionally. The Professional Practice Standards are generally concerned with conduct in the course of professional practice. Actions outside the practice of psychotherapy may be regarded as unbecoming a member of the profession, reflecting poorly on the member’s integrity and the profession as a whole. Generally this type of misconduct involves dishonesty (e.g. fraud) or a serious breach of trust (e.g. child abuse).

Illegal conduct

Illegal behaviour may also be considered professional misconduct. Members may be held accountable by the College if they contravene the Psychotherapy Act, 2007, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, or any Canadian law, if the purpose of the law is to protect or promote public health (broadly defined), or if the contravention is relevant to the member’s suitability to practise.

If members are uncertain about whether particular actions or conduct are appropriate for an RP, they should consult with colleagues and/or the College.

The Standard: General Conduct

Members refrain from illegal conduct related to the practice of the profession, as well as from knowingly practising while the member’s ability to do so is impaired by any condition or substance. In addition, members at all times refrain from conduct that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional, or unbecoming a member of the profession.

Demonstrating the Standard

A member demonstrates compliance with the standard by, for example:

  • practising the profession with integrity and professionalism;
  • considering the impact of his/her actions on the profession as a whole;
  • assessing his/her actions from the perspective of a panel of professional peers;
  • consulting another member or the College if the member finds him/herself in questionable circumstances.

See also:

Professional Misconduct Regulation, provisions 41, 42, 43, 52, 53

Note: College publications containing practice standards, guidelines or directives should be considered by all members in the care of their clients and in the practice of the profession. College publications are developed in consultation with the profession and describe current professional expectations. It is important to note that these College publications may be used by the College or other bodies in determining whether appropriate standards of practice and professional responsibilities have been maintained.