MA-Closure a Done Deal? Not if you act now.

I have continuously been disappointed to see the College presenting the current Stakeholder consultation in a manner that suggests that the closure of the MA-Class as a path to registration is a done deal. The preamble of the consultation did a good job of describing the stages that brought us here, but apparently decided the facts that emerged at those stages were not worth sharing. As each of those stages seemed to contradict the College’s current proposals, it makes sense why those little details were left out.

Let’s take a look at the actual facts:

“Over the past five years, the College has had extensive discussions and stakeholder consultations regarding the criteria for entry to practice the profession of Psychology in Ontario”

  • At Council those discussions have routinely stated that the word from government is that they are not interested in closure
  • The discussions at Council and stakeholder consultations have never stated how closure serves the public interest
  • The general response to stakeholder consultations was that closure does not serve the public interest and that it will damage the professions ability to provide services to high needs populations

“[T]he College Council established the Shaping the Future of Psychology Regulation in Ontario Task Force. In carrying out its work, the Task Force gathered extensive data related to the practice of Psychology in Ontario, across Canada and internationally”

The Task Force:

  • collected data showing that MA and Doctoral members of the CPO generally practice in unique settings and serve unique populations
  • surveyed school boards who reported that the closure of a future MA class would have a devastating impact on school psychology and that even those reporters who personally supported a Doctoral only route of registration felt that it was a poor decision
  • found that CPA accredited Doctoral program pose a bottleneck that limits graduation to a rate lower than national retirement and were told that there would not be a significant increase in Doctoral positions available to make up for the loss of service
  • learned that International standards will remain in keeping with MA registration and that only the US continues to promote a Doctoral only route because it is supported by a glut of Doctoral programs currently housing 25,000 graduate students. Canada has around 200.
  • recognized that the mobility act will require Ontario to still permit MA practitioners from other provinces to register here

The Task Force failed:

  • to collect any data on what the future needs of clients are and how those needs would be best met
  • to collect data that shows there is any reason to close the MA class
  • to, at any time, comment on protection of the public interest

Now a new message from the Council President states:

“The consultation process regarding proposals for changes to the Registration Regulation is under way. When instituted, these amendments will…”

Has the College already made up their mind and the consultation is a simple formality?

Consultations have come and gone and the message has always been the same:

  • The data does not support closure
  • Closure does not serve the public interest

The current consultation will say the same thing and, if history repeats itself, the consultation will be ignored. Fortunately, your response can fall on deaf ears at the CPO and still make a difference. The Ministry of Health, other impacted Ministries, and the Office of the Fairness Commissioner will read all of your messages. These are the key people you are speaking to. So if you feel that your voice will not be heard, you are wrong.

Please consider responding now. Your message does not have to be long, but it has to be clear:

  • Remind the CPO that its mandate is to serve the public interest
  • Demand the evidence that MA practitioners have harmed the public, that closure supports a public need, and that relegating future MA practitioners to supervisee positions allows Ontarians to have competent and protected health care (Hint: there is no such evidence)
  • Remind the CPO that with 7500 of clinical training following our Masters degree, the MA class is the most experienced health care practitioners in the country on day one of their autonomy
  • Ask how it is fair that MA practitioners will be able to register from other provinces and countries, but that Ontarians will be left out
  • Insist that the CPO stop the continual harassment of the MA class through constant threat of closure and forcing us through loopholes for a fair and equitable title
  • Insist on a competency based model that applies to all applicants: international, nationwide, and local

And if you have very little time: Just say NO. I do not support these amendments. Our power is in reasonable arguments and numbers. Be heard and respond now to: registrationregulation@cpo.on.ca and consider sharing it with your OAPA peers by sending it to oapa.ont@gmail.com.

Michael Decaire

OAPA, President