Psychological Service Providers

Psychologists and Psychological Associates

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Who are Psychologists and Psychological Associates in Ontario? 

Professionals using the titles "psychologist or psychological associate" are regulated health service providers registered with The College of Psychologists of Ontario to practice psychology in Ontario, within the framework of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Psychology Act, 1991. 

To practice the profession of psychology in Ontario, a person must hold a current certificate of registration from the College. 

To qualify for registration, the professional must:

  • meet rigorous educational and training requirements for entry to the profession;
  • successfully complete a comprehensive written examination that is standard throughout North America as well  as a written examination designed to evaluate knowledge of jurisprudence and ethics; and,
  • successfully complete an oral examination designed to evaluate readiness for professional practice.

As a member of the College, the professional must:

  • practice according to the laws governing health professionals in Ontario;
  • practice according to the Regulations, Standards of Professional Conduct and Guidelines of the College and the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists; and,
  • continually upgrade his/her knowledge, skills and competency.

Who are Regulated Health Care Professionals in Psychology?

Only a member of the College may offer psychological services or use the title Psychological Associate or Psychologist. As well, use of the terms psychology or psychological, or their abbreviations or variations in any title or in any description of services is restricted to members.

The College maintains a register of all currently registered psychologists and psychological associates. This information is available to you through the on-line Directory of Members or by contacting the College.

Why Choose a Regulated Service Provider?

As regulated health services providers, psychologists and psychological associates are required by law to deliver competent, ethical and professional services and are accountable to the public, through the College, for their professional behaviour and activities. As members of the College, psychologists and psychological associates must meet rigorous professional entry requirements, adhere to prescribed standards, guidelines and ethical principles and participate in quality assurance activities to continually update and improve their knowledge and skill.

In contrast, the College has no authority over unregulated service providers. There is no regulatory body with the legal authority to set minimum levels of education, training and competence or to establish and monitor professional and ethical standards of conduct. There is no professional regulatory body responsible to protect your interests and hold unregulated providers accountable for the services you receive.

Some psychologists and psychological associates employ unregulated providers as assistants or support personnel. These individuals are employed as aides rather than as an alternative to regulated professionals. When supervised by a psychologist or psychological associate, the legal and ethical responsibility for all services remains the full responsibility of the regulated professional. Accountability to ensure you receive competent, ethical care is maintained.

What is the College?

The College of Psychologists of Ontario is the governing body for psychologists and psychological associates in Ontario. The College is not a university, community college, or school; its mandate is to protect your interests by monitoring and regulating the practice of psychology. Through the participation of the public and the profession, the College ensures you receive competent and ethical professional psychological services from qualified providers.