OAPA’s Election Q&A with Candidates for CPO’s Psychological Associate (Non-Voting) Council Seat

A many members are likely aware, the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) is currently holding elections for the Psychological Associate (Non Voting) seat on Council. This is a unique position on the CPO Council that provides a voice for Psychological Associates in the confines of the CPO’s mandate of public protection.

While OAPA expressed some concern that Masters’ prepared Psychologists are unable to vote for or hold this seat, we are pleased to see that two strong candidates have emerged and are currently seeking your vote. Though both members released strong candidate statements through the college, both of which are provided unedited below, OAPA wanted to take the opportunity to have both Christine DiZazzo and Glenn Webster respond to a few queries that we felt our members would find of particular interest. We hope that this will provide further information for your vote and strongly encourage you to respond to the College’s call to vote email prior to the closing date of Tuesday March 31st. If you are a Psychological Associate and do not believe you received your notification for voting please contact the College at cpo@cpo.on.ca as soon as possible.

Below please find the candidate statements and Q&A. Both are presented in their original form with no editorial modification from the association aside from formatting.

Christine M. DiZazzo, M.Ps., C. Psych.Assoc.

CPO Candidate Statement & Biography:

As a Psychological Associate I have worked for school boards in Ontario for many years (first for the former Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Board, and then for the Ottawa Carleton District School board) and I have been in private practice now for about 10 years. In both of these settings I have remained acutely aware of the difficulties in accessing qualified and regulated mental health professionals. This has been particularly true for children and youth, a population that research has shown to be chronically under-serviced. This is also a population where the majority of Psychological Associates rather than our doctoral peers tend to focus. I feel strongly about ensuring that school-aged children have access to the assessment and psychotherapeutic services that will promote success for them first in their academic careers and then to meet their challenges throughout their lives. Similarly, through a lifespan perspective, I recognize the necessity of having robust mental health services as these individuals transition into adulthood and then later life.

This strong belief has led me into many advocacy roles. When I worked for the OCDSB I was an active member of my union, the Ontario Secondary School Federation. As a PA, I have been a member of OAPA since its founding and now sit on its Board. While I understand that as a member of Council I would have to leave the Board of OAPA, I am proud to have served and done my small part for advancing the concerns of Master’s prepared psychological professionals as well as advocating for the provision of services to meet the needs of students by competent professionals. I served a term on Council several years ago. It is my hope that in making the transition at this time from a primarily advocacy role to one with a focus on the public interest and the profession’s guiding regulatory frameworks I can make a contribution to the profession while highlighting the skills that P.A.s have to offer.

We stand at an interesting point in our profession. Aware as we are of the serious mental health needs of our population, we find that there is a limited pool of individuals with the necessary training to meet their needs. Most school boards and even most private practitioners have long waiting lists for psychological assessments and treatments. Ensuring that the public has access to well-trained individuals to meet these needs has become a priority of mine I have been pleased in recent years to note the growing number of OAPA members, a sign that qualified Masters prepared psychological practitioners are seeking registration. It is my belief that all psychological professionals in Ontario need to make common cause to ensure the availability of quality psychological supports and I look forward to an opportunity to facilitate that cause at the regulatory level.

OAPA Q&A with Christine M. DiZazzo:

What led you to consider [running or rerunning] for the non-voting Psychological Associate seat?

CD: I have been thinking of running for the Council seat for some time.  It seems to me that the attitude of rank and file PhD psychologists has softened about PAs using the title psychologist as they have had more occasion to work with us and see that we not only share a “scope of practice” but are also equally capable.  Even OPA seems to have changed the tune they had sung for decades and become more accepting of MA Psychologists.  It is time to address the issue of title.  Since Council is the place that this can be made to happen, that is where I want to be in order to move this file forward.

Obviously as a non-voting position, this PA seat is a unique one. What do you see as the role of this position at the Council table?

CD: Several years ago I spent a term on Council as the non-voting rep but family responsibilities meant that I couldn’t run for a subsequent term.  At that time I felt that I had nearly as much influence/impact as a non-voting rep as I would have had voting.  At the Council table it is one’s ability to form alliances and convince others of one’s point of view that matters most.  At this point even if both PA reps were allowed to vote, they would be in the minority.  However, once we recognize that all “psychological practitioners” have a common interest in serving the public responsibly and advocating for services for our clients and in working together towards those objectives we can start cooperating on other fronts as well.  So I see myself as an advocate for psychological services and as someone who hopes to reinforce positive attributions for Masters prepared professionals.

At this time, what do you see as the biggest concern with the practice of Psychology in Ontario? How do you hope to target this through your position on Council?

CD: My biggest concern about the profession is having sufficient numbers of well-qualified professionals to meet the growing needs of Ontario citizens for psychological services.  It seems to me that the College has done an excellent job of ensuring that those who come into registration are more than able to meet those needs.  However, the demand for services is growing and we continue to need to bring people into practice.  We need to all work together to ensure availability of psychological services and competency of those who deliver them.

Can you share your thoughts on the proposed closure of MA level entry for practice? What can we expect to hear from the PA non-voting seat over the year ahead?

CD: I am opposed to closing the MA stream to registration.  We need more qualified practitioners, not fewer. I think that the model of the medical profession where generalists and specialists complement each other’s work is a good one for psychology as well.  I will consistently present this position.  I also hope to be able to claim legitimate access to the title “Psychologist” – sooner rather than later – without needing to resort to AIT.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the OAPA membership?

CD: A specific concern of mine is the difficulty that members of the profession have in following specific issues that are being dealt with at the College level.  While I appreciate that there is a need for many topics to be discussed in private sessions, it would be helpful if more of the business of Council was made accessible in a more timely way to members.  Many of us have been following Council developments affecting PAs via Michael’s reports.  I am convinced that were more such information available, more of us would become active in our professional organizations and in the committees and other work of the College.

Glenn Webster M.Ed.,C.Psych.Assoc.

CPO Candidate Statement & Biography:

Biography

• 1968 graduated with an honours degree in psychology in the U.K.

• 1970 teacher’s license 1970.

• 1968-1972 taught high school in Britain and Jamaica for 4 years.

• 1972-3 counsellor in Winnipeg and took education courses at the University of Manitoba.

• 1974 master’s degree from the University of Toronto (O.I.S.E.)

• 1975-1977 further graduate training including a post master’s certificate in adult education and completion of all doctoral courses in psychology and adult education.

• 1973-1977 taught community college and university courses in psychology.

• 1974-2012 Toronto Catholic School Board – school psychology including assessments and intervention, supervision and administrative duties.

• 1990 to present – private practice in educational and vocational psychology for all ages.

• 2012-14 – Academic Director of a bridge programme for internationally trained psychologists and mental health workers funded by the Federal and Provincial governments. Still involved in teaching module on assessments and report writing.

• Canadian Psychological Association, Ontario Association of Psychological Associates.

• President-elect Toronto Earlscourt Rotary Club.

• Former president of my local union and provincial vice-president.

• Former president of provincial and federal riding associations.

• Member of SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee) for TCDSB

Candidate Statement

I am seeking your support for my third and last term as Non-Voting Psychological Associate on the Council of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. As an elected member of this body I have served on the Executive and Fitness to Practice committees, panel chair of the Complaints Committee and Chair of the Discipline Committee. I have also been an oral examiner for the College and chaired a task force on matters relating to psychological associates. I have the experience to continue to be useful and productive.

I have elected to remain a psychological associate and resisted the temptation to register in another province as a psychologist and then re-register as a psychologist in Ontario- (as I can do because of AIT). I chose this because I do believe in regulation and registration of masters level practitioners and since we have the same scope of practice, we should have the same title – psychologist. I want this openly and legitimately for all and not be made to feel that we have to jump through some backdoor to achieve this.

A current concern is about areas of practice or specialities. The overlap between clinical, counselling and schools is vast and many of us almost have a GP (general practitioner) role.

I seek your support in this election and urge you to vote (even if not for me) to show that we master’s level practitioners (PAs) care about these issues and the professional delivery of psychological services in this province

Thank you for your consideration. Glenn Webster

OAPA Q&A with Glenn Webster:

What led you to consider [running or rerunning] for the non-voting Psychological Associate seat?

GW: I am running because I care for fate of MA level practitioners including getting proper title – Psychologist and maintaining MA registration.

Obviously as a non-voting position, this PA seat is a unique one. What do you see as the role of this position at the Council table?

GW: Whether voting or not, the incumbent has voice at the table. I have asked for my comments to be recorded in the minutes including when I spoke against the ending of MA registration.

At this time, what do you see as the biggest concern with the practice of Psychology in Ontario? How do you hope to target this through your position on Council?

GW: There are many problems with the practice of psychology in Ontario in addition to title for MAs and continuing registration. They include the lack of courses and programme available for MAs to continue university education and reasonable obtain a doctorate (Psy.D.) and restrictive practices because of excessively narrow scope of specialities. Many of us in effect function somewhat like GPs in that our practices are very general. School psychology for example overlaps a great deal with Clinical and Counselling and with older population (vocational) sometimes Rehabilitation psychology. Is there really a need for a Health psychology designation? We still have billing and other practical issues with the silly title we have.

Can you share your thoughts on the proposed closure of MA level entry for practice? What can we expect to hear from the PA non-voting seat over the year ahead?

GW: I have been consistent in my support for MA registration and was the only voice on council to oppose the move to close registration when the deal (!) was discussed to link end of registration and give title to current Pas. I did of course support the giving of title. I will continue to hold these positions.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the OAPA membership?

GW: I want it known that I have the highest regard for my friend and worthy opponent Christine.

I have served as non-voting PA for 6 years and previously held the voting position for 3 years. I have served on complaints, discipline (chair) fitness to practice, executive and chaired a task for on PA issues as well as being an oral examiner. As a former school psychologist now in a very varied private practice, I have a lot of experience. I am active in the teaching of internationally trained new-coming psychologists and have a lot of involvement in Chinese and Filipino communities. I have been a union president and am active in the political field. I serve on an advisory board for an adult day programme for those with disabilities and the Special Education Advisory Committee for TCDSB. Through the Rotary Foundation, I support mental health initiatives internationally. I understand the lobbying process. I believe I am well qualified to serve another term on council.

OAPA would like to thank both Christine and Glenn for taking the time to respond to our inquiries. If you can vote, please do. If you do not qualify, please consider actively speaking out about the many issues both candidates are hoping to bring to the table.