CRPO members are permitted to name their practice, whether they operate as a partnership or a professional corporation, or they are self-employed. In all cases, the name will need to comply with CRPO’s Standard 6.2: Advertising and Representing Yourself and Your Services, as well as general Ontario law regarding business names.
An advertisement is any message communicated in a public medium intended to influence an individual’s choice, opinion or behaviour. This includes business names associated with a member’s practice.
The Professional Misconduct Regulation states that it is professional misconduct to permit the advertising of a member’s practice in a manner that is false or misleading or that includes statements that are not factual and verifiable. Therefore, the name a member chooses for his or her practice must not make claims that are false or misleading. Also, any specific or particular information contained in the name (e.g. location, name of practitioner), must be factual and verifiable.
On official documents, e.g. invoices, and when identifying themself to a client, a member must use their name as set out in the College’s Public Register, in addition to any business name. The practice name may appear alone in other settings such as on signage and various marketing materials.
Please see more information below about naming a professional corporation.
Examples of appropriate practice names could include:
- Harmony Family Counselling Centre
- Deerhurst Psychotherapy Services (if the practice is located there)
Examples of inappropriate practice names include:
- Best Therapy Services (claim is not verifiable and potentially misleading)
- Guaranteed Results Psychotherapy Clinic (claim is not verifiable and potentially misleading)
- M. Jones and Associates Psychotherapists (if there are no associates, the name would not be factual)
- Brockville Municipal Care Centre (if it is not a municipally run practice, the name would be misleading)
College staff cannot provide advice or direction regarding business names. You should consult with your lawyer for further information.
You may find it helpful to review the Ontario Business Names Act for information relevant to naming a practice.
A member of a regulatory College governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) can choose to practise personally, i.e. in their own name, through a partnership or through a professional corporation. CRPO members who wish to practise through a corporation will need to establish a professional corporation and apply to CRPO for a Certificate of Authorization.
Note: Normally, members employed by organizations such as hospitals, agencies and employee assistance programs are considered to be practising “personally”. Generally, they are not considered to be practising “through a corporation”; therefore, such organizations are not expected to follow the requirements for professional corporations. Members are not required to practise through a professional corporation.
To obtain a Certificate of Authorization, the member must complete the Professional Corporation Certificate Application form, pay the fee and submit detailed substantiating information. The Certificate must be renewed annually.
Professional corporations have a number of conditions and restrictions, including the following:
- The professional corporation cannot be a numbered company (e.g. 1234567 Ontario Inc.).
- The name of the professional corporation must include the words “Professional Corporation”.
- The legal name of the corporation must indicate the health profession to be practised through the corporation, as well as the surname of one or more of the shareholders.
- A member may use another business name aside from the legal name (e.g. a professional corporation could use the name “Danforth TheraClinic” for marketing purposes, while its legal name is “J. Doe Psychotherapy Professional Corporation”). All names must be on file with the College and Ontario law requires the legal name to be on all contracts, invoices, negotiable instruments and orders involving goods or services.
- Only members of CRPO can hold shares.
- The officers and directors of the professional corporation must be shareholders.
- The professional corporation can only offer psychotherapy services, or provide related or ancillary services.
Members cannot avoid professional liability through a professional corporation; injured clients can sue the member personally. However, members working through a professional corporation do have protection against trade creditors. For example, if suppliers or other creditors are not paid by the professional corporation, they cannot sue the member personally.
A number of provisions exist to ensure that members continue to meet their professional and ethical obligations while practising through a professional corporation. For example, the RHPA applies to members even if they practise through a professional corporation. The College has the same powers over the professional corporation that it has over the member.
CRPO staff cannot provide advice or direction regarding whether you should incorporate your practice or about how to create a professional corporation. You should consult with your lawyer and/or accountant for further information.