Psychologists are governed by a number of laws and rules that direct and control their professional activities. Some of these are set by the Province of Ontario and some are determined by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Psychologists are obliged to comply with all of these rules and policies for the benefit of clients.
The information in a client’s file as well as the information discussed in the counseling sessions will not be shared with anyone except under the following circumstances:
(a) Pursuant to a written direction and “Release of Information” signed by the client; or
(b) Pursuant to a court order or other court process.
Psychologists are obligated by law to report suspected child abuse to local authorities (i.e. Children’s Aid Society or the police) with or without client consent.
If a client is deemed to be at risk or potential risk of physical harm to themselves or others, psychologists must take whatever actions are necessary to protect either the client and/or third parties even if doing so involves breaking confidentiality.
In cases where psychologists discover that another registered health care professional (e.g. a physician, dentist, chiropractor, etc.) has sexually abused, sexually assaulted or sexually harassed a client, they must report that practitioner to his or her own regulatory body. However they are not required to identify their client unless they have received permission from the client to do so.