Application to become a fully licensed psychologist was denied for lack of evidence of supervised work experience

22. February 2016 0

The Minister’s decision to deny the appellant’s application to become a fully licensed psychologist was upheld as reasonable because the appellant had not provided sufficient paperwork with her application for licensure to demonstrate she had met supervision criteria which was clearly required in order for her to become fully licensed.

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Judicial Review – Licence to practice – Ministerial orders – Professional governance and discipline – Psychologists – Reasonableness simpliciter – Registration – Standard of Review – Training requirements

Nunavut (Department of Health) v. Baldwin[2015] Nu.J. No. 35, 2015 NUCJ 37, Nunavut Court of Justice, December 8, 2015, B. Tulloch J.

In order to become registered as an intern psychologist in Cambridge Bay, Ms. Baldwin submitted a plan to Nunavut’s Registrar of Health Professionals which stipulated, in part, that she would complete 1600 hours of supervised work within a year from the date of registration as an intern with a ratio of one hour of supervision for every 15 hours of work, in order to become a fully licensed psychologist. The Registrar approved the plan and Ms. Baldwin was registered as an intern psychologist.

Eight months later, Ms. Baldwin requested registration as a fully licensed psychologist and forwarded supporting documentation for consideration by the Registrar and the Association of Psychologists of the Northwest Territories . The Association noted that the documentation did not include a record of supervised hours confirming the 15:1 supervision ratio agreed upon. Ms. Baldwin was notified of this concern and she chose not to provide any further information other than a letter from the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay confirming the hours of work submitted. The Association recommended denial of the application given that their concerns had not been addressed. The Registrar requested that Ms. Baldwin present a plan to rectify the supervision shortfall noted by the Association but Ms. Baldwin refused to do so. The Minister then made a final decision to deny her application. Ms. Baldwin submitted a letter of appeal and the Minister afirmed her decision.

Ms. Baldwin proceeded with her statutory right of appeal under section 15 of the Psychologists Act before the Nunavut Court of Justice. The court held that the standard of review was reasonableness and concluded that the Minister’s decision was reasonable given that the documentation provided by Ms. Baldwin with her application did not meet the 15:1 supervision ratio that was clearly set out in the plan. Ms. Baldwin argued that the plan was meant to be flexible in terms of supervision hours and that there were many hours of supervision which she did not record, but the court said that “At the end of the day, the flexibility that Ms. Baldwin talked about simply does not exist in the plan before the court.”

This case was digested by Kara Hill of Harper Grey LLP. If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact her directly at [email protected] or review her biography at http://www.harpergrey.com.

To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.