Ontario College of Psychologists Demands Jordan Peterson Undergo 'Mandatory' Social Media 'Retraining'

This article was originally published at The Post Millennial, a part of the Human Events Media Group.

Canadian professor and psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is under fire from the Ontario College of Psychologists to submit to "mandatory social-media communication retraining with their experts." This for, Peterson says, "among other crimes," retweeting Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with his allies.

The College requires that Peterson commit to the following "undertaking": "to work with either Dr. Erika Abner, LLM, LLB, Ph.D, or Gail Siskind, RN, MA, to review, reflect on, and ameliorate [his] professionalism in public statements," to "complete the Coaching Program within six months of receiving the ICRC Decision in this matter," noting that the program could be extended at the discretion of the coach. Peterson would be made to pay for these required services, as well, at an hourly rate of $225.

"I have absolutely refused to do so," Peterson said. His response to the College was, in part that he does not "regret" anything he's done or said that was the subject of a complaint to the College, and that the College has no right to interfere with his free speech rights.

Peterson broke the news of the College's demand on Twitter, saying that he had been accused by the governing body for psychologists and psychological associates in the province of Ontario of "harming people," despite the fact that none of the people making the complaints were current or past clinets, or "were even acquainted" with his clients.

What the College has demanded, Peterson said, is that he undergo this training, including the submitting of reports documenting his "progress," or be subject to "an in-person tribunal" and the suspension of his "right to operate as a licensed clinical psychologist."

Those who complained that Peterson was "harming" people, he said, were comprised of "about a dozen people from all over the world" who "submitted complaints" about Peterson's public statements. These were statements made on Twitter and during appearances on such podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience. 

The complainants, who submitted their grievances over a four-year period, did not claim that they personally were harmed by Peterson's remarks, but that the harm had come to others as a result of Peterson's expressed views.

The College has a Code of Ethics, as referenced in a document obtained by The Post Millennial, which applies to all members, which states that "personal behaviour becomes a concern of the discipline only if it is of such a nature that it undermines public trust in the discipline as a whole or if it raises questions about the psychologist's ability to carry out appropriately his/her responsibilities as a psychologist."

Additional standards of that Code read that "Respect for the dignity of persons is the most fundamental and universally found ethical principle across disciplines, and includes the concepts of equal inherent worth, nondiscrimination, moral rights, and distributive, social, and natural justice.

"In respecting dignity, psychologists acknowledge that each human being should be treated primarily as a person or an end in him/herself, not as an object or a means to an end, and is worthy of equal moral consideration.

"In doing so," the standard continues, "psychologists acknowledge that all human beings have a moral right to have their innate worth as human beings appreciated and that this inherent worth is not dependent on a human being’s culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, age, socioeconomic status, or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status. As such, psychologists do not engage in unjust discrimination based on such factors and promote non-discrimination in all of their activities."

Peterson tweeted out a call for Trudeau's resignation in late December 2022.

He also claimed that Trudeau appears "to be perpetually 14 yrs old."

And those are only a few recent tweets.

Peterson notes that he has been under continuous investigation by the College, beginning in 2017. This is when Peterson first began speaking out against the compelled speech of preferred pronouns, wherein a person can dictate to others how they wish to be referred to when they are not present, or in the third person.

Peterson took to YouTube to express his concerns about the compelled speech that was being foisted on those at the Unversity of Toronto, using the platform as a way to hash out his ideas and connect with viewers. The videos began to go viral, and the investigation, Peterson said, began. Peterson has more than 15 million followers across social media platforms.

Peterson was first investigated after having been accused of "seriously inappropriate behavior by a client," though the "College concluded that there was no evidence whatsoever to justify the claims of inappropriate personal behavior." 

A complaint in 2018 came from an individual who had "concerns about Dr. Peterson's conduct and the risk he might pose to his clients based on his comments on Twitter." It was alleged that his tweets were "transphobic, sexist, racist," and "not in keeping with any clinical understanding of mental health." Among those tweets that made their way into the complaint were ones in opposition to Canada's Liberal Party.

The complaint was eventually dismissed. However, the College offered some advice to Peterson, saying "as a registered Member of the college and in light of your public profile, you may wish to offer your opinions and comments in a respectful tone in order to avoid a negative perception toward the profession of psychology."

Yet this was just the beginning. Complaint after complaint arose against Peterson from people who had seen his tweets, but were not clients of his, or even associated with clients of his. 

At every turn, Peterson chose to speak his mind and not be cowed or coerced into speaking someone else's views, not for expediency or convenience. Peterson was suspended from Twitter for months on end in 2022 for his refusal to delete a tweet that referred to actor Elliot Page by the name Page used when presenting as a woman. Page underwent sex change surgeries and now presents as male. Twitter locked people out of their accounts for using the actor's former name.

As to the recent complaint and the College requiring that Peterson submit to their dictates, the College writes:

"While the Panel recognizes your right to freedom of expression, as a member of the College of Psychologists, you are obligated to maintain the professional standards of the College. This includes ensuring that any statements made are consistent with the professional standards, policies and ethics currently adopted by the College. This is especially the case where you publicly identify yourself as a member of the profession. Even if your comments were viewed as personal and not professional, the Panel still beleives that the comments at issue appear to udnermine the public's trust in the profession as a whole, and raise questions about your ability to carry out your responsibilties as a psychologist."

And again, they offered Peterson some advice, saying "As a registered Member of the College, and in light of your public profile, you may wish to offer your opinions and comments in a respectful tone in order to avoid a negative perception toward the profession of psychology."

Peterson asked multiple questions of the College and their determination, which went unanswered. However, they have launched a Judicial Review. It reads:

"If you fail to appear at the hearing, judgement may be given to in your absense and without further notice to you. If you wish to defend this proceeding but are unable to pay legal fees, legal aid may be available to you by contacting a local legal aid office."



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