The Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled against former psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson, who must now undergo remedial social media training to maintain his clinical practice.
In 2017, the University of Toronto professor emeritus of psychology put his practice on hold but remains a licensed psychologist.
"I don’t even need my licence. I’m not practicing," said Dr. Jordan Peterson in an interview with the National Post.
"This might be hard for people to believe, but I don’t believe that this is about me," he told the publication. "Practically speaking, I’m beyond their purview, because I’m not dependent on them financially."
The College of Psychologists of Ontario argued for nearly two years that Peterson made 'inappropriate' public statements on social media, even though they did not relate to the practice of psychology. Those statements related to his opinion on politics, public figures, the Freedom Convoy and climate change.
In January 2023, Peterson posted a document detailing the complaints against him. According to the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), the complaints came from the public rather than the psychologist's former patients.
"I’ve done nothing to deserve that, quite the contrary," said Peterson. "I think I’ve helped millions of people."
Regardless, the college maintains his social media posts constituted an ethics violation — a dereliction of the Standards of Professional Conduct. They ordered Peterson to complete an 'education program' to address issues regarding professionalism in public statements.
However, the former practicing psychologist refused to participate in their "re-education program."
"There’s no universe in which that can occur," he told the National Post.
"I have already undertaken the remediation of my actions in a manner very much akin to what has been suggested by the [Inquiries, Complains and Reports Committee] and have done so in an exceptionally thorough and equally exceptionally public and transparent manner," Peterson earlier wrote to the college.
He contends those comments did not contravene Canadian law.
"I express views that are reflective of the state of the current psychological literature," he said, "that have been politicized by those who politicized everything."
Nevertheless, Peterson worries his case may "embolden" the already "tyrannical regulatory boards."
In August, the Ontario Divisional Court agreed with the college, followed by a dismissal of his motion for leave to appeal the decision earlier this week.
"Requiring coaching following apparently unheeded advice seems a reasonable next step, proportionately balancing statutory objectives against Charter rights which are minimally impaired, if they are impaired at all," reads the 18-page court decision.
"When individuals join a regulated profession … they take on obligations and must abide by the rules of their regulatory body that may limit their freedom of expression," it says.
"My contention that the trans phenomenon is the social contagion, that’s a professional opinion," said Peterson. "It’s not a political stance."
"My belief that the climate apocalypse narrative is overblown by people who want to use emergencies to gather power," he continues. "There’s no shortage of evidence on that front."
"So, the fact that my views are viewed as political doesn’t mean that they are political."
"I have the right to have a political opinion. And I have a right to express it and we can’t have a society where educated professionals are not allowed to have political opinions," concluded the former psychologist.