Important Changes regarding Psychotherapy

Dear MHNIG member,

This letter is to inform you about some important decisions that have been made regarding RNs and psychotherapy. These decisions will not only affect mental health nurses but nurses in all areas who practise psychotherapy (palliative, oncology, etc). The impact throughout the province would be extensive.

The Ontario government proclaimed psychotherapy as a controlled act at the end of December.  To address RNAO’s concerns that RNs will not be able to independently initiate psychotherapy, the government put in place a two-year transition period until Dec. 31, 2019.  This will allow psychotherapy providers to register with one of the six colleges authorized to perform psychotherapy. While this is a good first step, it does not address the issue over the long term unless the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) uses the time period to change its requirement that RNs must obtain an order from a prescriber to independently initiate treatment. The CNO has provided a response for members. You can read it here.  During the two-year period, orders for RNs to initiate psychotherapy will not be required, but following that time period, RNs will require an order.  The CNO has indicated that it will be reassessing the need for this order during this time. RNAO, MHNIG leadership and its members have been actively conveying concerns about the requirement for an order to initiate psychotherapy after this two year period. In fact, RNAO issued an action alert on the subject. The Minister of Health and Long Term Care has  written to the CNO to urge it to reconsider its decision due to the direct impact on patient care and with respect to the value of the RN role and related capabilities. Please read the letter from Dr. Eric Hoskins.

Thank you RNAO, MHNIG members and colleagues for your advocacy to date. We have less than two years to advocate for continued RN psychotherapy initiation.  To continue to advocate for the continued right for patients to have access to RN initiated psychotherapy, please write to the CNO. Let them know that contrary to their argument, it will affect people.  We can demonstrate strength in  numbers by writing letters. Please cc RNAO when doing this.  For further assistance on letter writing, please contact Ingrid Dresher


2017-2018 MHNIG Executive