March 2019

Psychotherapy: Initiation regulation moves onto next phase

At its recent meeting, Council agreed to send the proposed changes to the controlled act regulation related to psychotherapy to government for their review and approval.

If approved by government, the changes will allow RNs and RPNs who work in community settings to independently initiate the controlled act of psychotherapy without an order beginning January 2020.

The controlled act of psychotherapy only applies to a very distinct component of the broader psychotherapy practice. It is a controlled act because of its significant risk of harm to patients. To understand when a component of psychotherapy becomes a controlled act, read Psychotherapy and the controlled act component of psychotherapy.

What’s next?

When the controlled act of psychotherapy was proclaimed in 2017, the Ontario government provided nurses with a two-year exemption before it would be enforced. This means RNs and RPNs can continue to practice the controlled act without an order until Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019.

The exemption does not apply to NPs because they are authorized to perform this controlled act. It also does not apply to nurses who work in practice settings where an order is required. For example, the Public Hospitals Act requires nurses to obtain an order for any treatment.

The proposed changes are now with government for their review. We should know the results of their decision in the near future.

We will continue to keep you informed with updates at, The Standard and our Facebook page.


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