It has been an exciting and intense first year as the president of the Ontario Association of Psychological Associates. Building on the strong foundational work of our returning and previous OAPA Board members, it has been your current Board’s intention to be an active participant at any table where decisions about our profession are being discussed. In the few cases where we do not have a seat at such tables, OAPA will continue to be a vocal stakeholder who will reach out to all levels of government in a manner that promotes both the profession and the well-being of our clients.
We have seen many victories in this endeavor, including successfully lobbying against the College of Psychologists of Ontario proposal to close Masters level entry to practice by 2020. While this reprieve inadvertently hindered the co-proposal to move all members of the college to a sole title of Psychologist, this continues to be an active area of pursuit for your Board. The recent changes that came in place as part of the AIT Mobility Act have made the dual title issue especially timely, given that a Psychological Associate may now stand beside MA level Psychologists who have an identical educational background and experience. Be assured, this is still a topic that is being pursued vigorously by OAPA.
I am hopeful for what the future holds for psychology and masters level practitioners. OAPA was personally invited to sit beside OPA on the College’s Task Force for Shaping the Future of Psychology Regulation in Ontario, where we will continue to be an active participant in developing this panel's proposal to Council about where the future of regulation in this province should be headed. While I cannot speak at this time about the current activities of the Task Force, I can assure you that all discussions have been handled with balance and respect.
As we begin to move towards closure in several of the issues that have been of primary concern for our membership, I am hopeful that OAPA can continue to grow and provide further value to our diverse and ever growing membership. Your Board has been energized by a recent influx of new members that has brought us to an all-time high of 350 Psychological Associates, Masters prepared Psychologists, supervised members, and students. Some of the projects currently being developed behind the scenes include:
An updated website aimed to provide a valuable resource to our members, our clients, and the key policy makers
Increased opportunities for member communication, including forums and newsletters, that are either in the works or have already been piloted
A rich conference/convention model that will provide unique training opportunities for our membership and the possibility of increased OAPA member collaboration
The development of member driven sub-groups in special interest domains to allow rapid response to areas of concern that may not be easily responded to by the Board on its own
Those projects are just a glimpse at what the future holds for OAPA. While I recognize that certain threats remain on the horizon, I strongly believe that this is an important time for our field and that the value of our members to the larger community cannot be ignored. I look forward to many more years of acting on your behalf, an opportunity that I accept humbly and with utmost respect. I hope to see you all rejoin us for what is bound to be another busy year and I look forward to interacting with many of you either directly, through our listserve, and at our November conference and AGM.
With kindest regards,
Michael Decaire, M.A., C. Psych. Assoc.