Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has been ordered to pay $25,000 in legal costs to the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) following a ruling on Wednesday. The decision stems from Peterson’s refusal to participate in a “specified continuing education or remedial program” (SCERP) regarding professionalism in public statements, as ordered by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) of the CPO in November 2022.
Peterson’s statements on various topics, including overpopulation, transgenderism, environmentalism, and COVID-19, sparked a series of complaints that were formally filed and tweeted at the CPO. The CPO expressed concern over the potential harm to the public resulting from Peterson’s behavior and concluded that a SCERP would be necessary to address his professionalism in public statements. While the CPO acknowledged Peterson’s right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it emphasized that as a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, Peterson also has a duty to conduct himself in a way that is consistent with professional standards and ethics.
In response to the order to participate in the SCERP, Peterson refused to sign the undertaking on October 21, 2022. He stated his intention to vigorously defend his rights to free expression, a factor that the College has acknowledged in these proceedings. Peterson maintained his opposition to the allegations levied against him and expressed confidence in his stance.
The Ontario Superior Court, composed of Justices Backhouse, Schabas, and Krawchenko, supported the CPO’s decision in their ruling. They recognized that Peterson’s statements carried a moderate risk of harm to the public and therefore agreed that it was appropriate and in the public interest for him to complete the SCERP.
Peterson’s case has stirred significant controversy surrounding the balance between freedom of expression and professional standards. Supporters argue that his right to express his opinions should be protected, particularly given his standing as a prominent intellectual figure. Those who oppose Peterson’s views, however, believe that his statements go against professional standards and ethics and should be addressed accordingly.
To express support for Peterson’s freedom of expression, individuals can contact the College of Psychologists of Ontario through the website www.SavePeterson.com. The ongoing prosecution against Peterson reflects the ongoing debate around the boundaries of free speech and the responsibilities of professionals to conduct themselves in accordance with their respective fields’ standards and ethics.
For further details, the court’s decision can be accessed through this link, and interested individuals are encouraged to read it for a deeper understanding of the ruling.