April 2020
This month: Registration Renewal Update, Workforce Matching Portal, Information and Privacy and more
Coronavirus Resources
Looking for information, resources and advice about your practice during the coronavirus pandemic? We’ve got all that on our website , plus FAQs we’re updating all the time. 
Shelley Briscoe-Dimock, CRPO President
Deborah Adams, CRPO Registrar
President and Registrar's Message
As we navigate the unprecedented circumstances of regulating during a pandemic, CRPO’s right- touch approach is serving us well in continuing to protect the public while making reasonable accommodations to our core functions. Because right-touch principles call on regulators to be proportionate and fair as we focus on the risks to be addressed, and since it requires us to be flexible and to respond to change, this philosophy directs CRPO to take a considered approach.

We thought that it might be helpful to describe what that looks like in practice.

  • renewal payment deadline extended to June 1 for registrants whose income has been impacted by the pandemic
  • flexibility on documentation required from education and training programs to facilitate applications being completed
  • continued efforts to register new RPs as quickly as possible and renew current registrants as soon as they complete the information submission
  • delayed start of the Peer and Practice Reviews that are part of the Quality Assurance program and a commitment to continued evaluation of requirements and deadlines in the coming weeks
  • additional resources committed to the Practice Advisory Service in order to ensure quick response to practice enquiries
  • ongoing efforts to communicate with registrants and stakeholders to provide accurate, up-to-date information to support RPs in continuity of practice
Both Council and staff recognize that RPs are making significant contributions to mental health care at a time when Ontarians are under considerable stress. We know that many registrants have implemented electronic practice in order to continue to be able to provide care and that RPs are working to be flexible in other ways to meet the needs of their clients. These supports that registrants are providing will continue to be crucial during the pandemic and as we get past it and into the coming months as things (perhaps slowly) return to normal.

CRPO is paying close attention to how the pandemic is impacting the public we serve, the system of which we are a part and the Registered Psychotherapists we regulate. We want to reassure registrants that we will continue to be measured in our work as the situation evolves.

We wish everyone the best during this difficult time and would encourage you to reach out to CRPO staff if we can be of any support. 
Registration Renewal
Thank you to the 6534 registrants that completed the renewal process. By making your payment, you have assisted in providing the extension to your fellow RPs facing financial difficulty, while allowing the CRPO to continue to function and meet our mandate to protect the public. This support has allowed us to continue to process the applications of the approximately 100 new graduates a month who are preparing to join the growing ranks of Registered Psychotherapists.

Those who have not completed the renewal process may be suspended if their form and/or payment is not received by June 1.
Selecting a Communications Platform for Electronic Practice
We recognize how hard RPs are working to provide continuity of care to clients for whom psychotherapy is an essential service while dealing with all the other pressures that this pandemic has created. As we continue to receive enquiries from registrants related to moving to electronic practice, CRPO has developed  Practice Advice: Selecting a Communications Platform For Electronic Practice  to provide support to RPs in selecting a communications platform for electronic practice. Advice related to the broader issues of  Implementing Electronic Practice  was provided earlier; registrants are encouraged to view this resource if they have questions.
Information and Privacy Decisions
Two decisions from Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) have particular relevance for psychotherapists.

PHIPA Decision 96 dealt with a request by an access (non-custodial) parent for information related to his children's counselling. The adjudicator held that in the circumstances, the health information custodian could not simply refuse the request outright but had a duty to consider the request and exercise discretion about whether or not to disclose any personal health information. Registrants encountering similar situations may find it beneficial to seek legal counsel. Read a summary or the full decision . Read this Practice Matters article on disclosure of personal health information and custody of a child. 

Clients have a right to access their own health record. PHIPA Decision 100 deals with an exception to this right where granting access “could reasonably be expected to…result in a risk of serious harm to the treatment or recovery of the individual or a risk of serious bodily harm to the individual or another person.” For this exception to apply, the risk of harm must be “well beyond the merely possible or speculative” although it need not be proven that “disclosure will in fact result in such harm.” In the present case there was detailed evidence about the client’s history of violence, threats and complex mental health condition. The IPC adjudicator found there was a risk warranting withholding the client’s access to their health record. Read a summary or the full decision .
Ministry Launches Workforce Matching Portal
The Ministry of Health launched  an online portal to match available health care workers with employers . We have been asked to share links to the site and information about the system with our registrants.
You can access the  Workforce Matching Portal   to set up your profile so that you can be matched to hospitals, clinics and assessment centres that are in need of assistance to perform a variety of public health functions, such as case and contact management.
If you click on the <Register> button under <Regulated Health Professionals", you will be asked to fill out your information. A drop down menu will allow you to select <Registered Psychotherapist>.
The Ministry has provided resource documents to assist you in navigating the portal:
Ontario Health Workforce Matching Portal : A portal to match health care providers like you with organizations across Ontario where your support is needed.
Attention 2016 and 2018 Registrants - You have a deadline on November 30, 2020
Although the professional development (PD) deadline for those who registered with CRPO in 2016 and 2018 is over six months away, it’s important to keep this obligation in mind throughout the year. Currently, the global pandemic has not changed PD requirements; if it does, we will certainly inform registrants as soon as is feasible.
Your PD requirements involve three elements:

  1. Self-Assessment – This is a tool to help you assess your knowledge, skill and judgment in select areas related to the profession. RPs are required to submit at least one self-assessment, although if the nature of your practice changes during your submission period (i.e. from your date of registration to November 30, 2020), then another self-assessment must be completed within 6 months of the change.
  2. Learning Plan – This is a tool to help you set your professional goals. It can include multiple goals; it is up to you to determine how many you can reasonably achieve for your submission period. You need to make sure at least one of the goals in the Learning Plan has a goal statement, an action plan and a reflection. 
  3. Learning Record -- This is where you record the learning activities that occurred during your submission period. You need to make sure that you have at least one experiential and at least one didactic learning activity in your Learning Record. You also need to make sure you meet the minimum number of learning activities. If your initial date of registration was in 2016, the requirement is at least 80 hours of learning activities; if your registration was in 2018 you need at least 40 hours.

Need more info? Please see the Quality Assurance Program section of CRPO’s website or direct questions to QA@crpo.ca
A note to psychotherapy clients about COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most health care providers are finding ways to provide care remotely, helping clients access care in different ways, or are even no longer providing services that are not essential. If your psychotherapist is registered with CRPO (you’ll know that if their title is Registered Psychotherapist), they have received information from us to help them respond to the pandemic.  You can see some of it here .

The following questions and answers are to help you understand some of the changes you might be seeing in how your psychotherapist provides care.

My psychotherapist has told me that they can’t see me in person, but that we can continue therapy by phone or over the internet. Why is that?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a  directive for health care providers  instructing them to stop providing non-essential and elective services in order to limit the spread of the virus. The Ontario government also ordered the  closure of all but essential services ; “health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports” were included in the list of essential services that could continue to operate if required.

In response to this, CRPO has strongly encouraged RPs to stop seeing clients in person and to offer therapy by phone or over the internet. This is called “electronic practice.” Switching from in-person to electronic practice both allows clients and therapists to continue working together while practicing physical social distancing.

What does electronic practice mean?
Electronic practice is a way for psychotherapists to provide care using telecommunication technologies. Telecommunication technologies can include telephone, interactive videoconferencing, email, chat or text.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, your psychotherapist may use these communication technologies exclusively in order to provide therapy at a safe, physical distance.
Open for Business
A reminder that, although the CRPO offices are physically closed and staff are working offsite, our day-to-day business is ongoing. This includes processing registration applications. Staff are currently reviewing applications that were submitted in February Be sure to follow us on Facebook where we post updates about which batch of applications we’re reviewing. 
CRPO is now on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .
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