Ontario’s highest court has rejected an attempt by controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson to challenge a regulatory body’s order that he undergo social media training or potentially lose his licence to practise.
A spokesperson for the Court of Appeal for Ontario says that a panel of judges has decided to not grant Peterson leave to appeal an August 2023 divisional court ruling that affirmed that the College of Psychologists of Ontario could order him to undergo training on professionalism in public statements.
“I can confirm the Court of Appeal did not grant leave to file fresh evidence,” Jason Gennaro said in an email to The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
“The panel does not provide reasons for its decisions.”
Gennaro said Peterson, who is a retired University of Toronto psychology professor, filed his request to appeal the previous court ruling last September and judges made their decision on Tuesday.
Peterson said Wednesday that there are now no legal avenues he can take to challenge the college’s decision to send him “to re-education camp,” adding his “war” with the college has “barely started.
“I want the entire current crop of minions at the College of Psychologists to publicly apologize and then resign — en masse,” he said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“They want me to undergo re-education, which they know will take up my time and fail in any case, so they can undermine my reputation and take my licence away anyway.”
Online commentary generated complaints
Peterson rose to prominence through his polarizing YouTube videos critiquing liberal culture and since at least 2018, the governing body of Ontario’s psychologists — of which Peterson has been a registered member since 1999 despite having stopped seeing patients in 2017 — has received complaints regarding Peterson’s comments.
The college’s complaints committee has said that some of Peterson’s online commentary on a range of issues, from gender transition to climate change, posed a moderate risk of harm to the public and undermined public trust in the profession of psychology.
Justice Paul Schabas wrote in the court’s August decision that the college’s order that Peterson undergo a program on professionalism in public statements balanced its mandate to regulate the profession, “is not disciplinary and does not prevent Dr. Peterson from expressing himself on controversial topics.”
Peterson had said his statements were not made in his capacity as a clinical psychologist, but instead were “off-duty opinions” — an argument the court rejected.
The college’s committee previously noted that during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Peterson identified himself as a clinical psychologist before demeaning a former client.
The college’s ethics code requires members to use respectful language and not engage in “unjust discrimination.”
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