The member jurisdictions of the Association of Canadian Psychology Regulatory Organizations (ACPRO) are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted graduate training in psychology.
The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Accreditation Panel and the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programmes (CCPPP) have been in contact with ACPRO to inform us of the impact that the pandemic is having on training, particularly pre-doctoral internships. This occurred as part of their own discussions about how to manage any disruptions caused by COVID-19, and they flagged the issue of how this might impact the evaluation by regulators of applications for registration.
The engagement with CPA and CCPPP is a very positive one, and the issues raised impact the profession as a whole. ACPRO is pleased to contribute to this conversation by issuing this statement.
Registration requirements and legal frameworks differ to some degree across the country. All Canadian psychology regulatory bodies share two primary responsibilities: to focus on the public protection mandate and to ensure fairness and transparency in its processes.
Regulators are obligated, under law, to give fair and thorough consideration to all applications. As has always been the case, applications are considered on their own merit and a case by case assessment is conducted to determine what, if any, additional education, training and experience might be required in order to meet or become substantially equivalent to, the entry to practice requirements. Regulators are obliged to provide clear and well-reasoned feedback to applicants with regard to their applications, and applicants must be given the opportunity to provide additional information or clarification prior to any final decision being made on their application.
When appropriate and where possible discretion may be exercised to consider equivalency in circumstances where an applicant did not complete an internship or other requirement according to standards. This might mean evaluating other education, training and experience already obtained or requiring additional education, training and experience.
Future applicants are eager to understand how any variation from the planned program of study and/or internship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact on their eligibility for registration. As stated above, future applicants can and should expect that the regulator in each jurisdiction will, at the time of their application, transparently and fairly determine if any additional education, training or experience might be necessary to meet registration requirements.