The College of Psychologists of New Brunswick (CPNB) is the governing body for Psychologists in New Brunswick. In this capacity, CPNB is responsible for investigating and addressing complaints against Psychologists.
Psychologists may be disciplined for engaging in practice that falls below acceptable minimum standards for the profession, or for conduct which constitutes professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a member, or dishonesty.
The rules of conduct that govern psychologists registered in New Brunswick are set out in the Code of Conduct of the College of Psychologists of NB (Code-of-Conduct-May-18-2022.pdf (cpnb.ca)). Psychologists in New Brunswick must also adhere to the standards and guidelines set out in the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/committees/ethics/codeofethics).
The Rules of Conduct under The Code of Conduct of the College of Psychologists of NB provide that psychologists are not to engage in romantic or sexual relationships with current clients, and in some instances former clients, or with individuals they know to be close relatives, guardians, or significant others of current clients. For further details please refer to section III.9. Romantic or sexual relationships of the Code of Conduct of the College of Psychologists of NB.
Sexual misconduct is a very serious matter, and should be reported to CPNB.
Lodging a Complaint
Before lodging a formal complaint with CPNB, you may first wish to discuss your concerns with the psychologist. In some circumstances, psychologists are unaware of concerns until a complaint has been lodged. In most cases the psychologist would want to know that the client is dissatisfied with the services and will work with the client to resolve the issues.
You are encouraged to contact CPNB and confirm the individual you are making the complaint against is in fact a Registered Psychologist. You may do so online by checking our Member Directory (https://cpnb.ca/psychologists-directory/). CPNB cannot become involved if the individual is not a psychologist.
You may also wish to call CPNB at (506) 382-1994 and speak with the Registrar before lodging a complaint. The Registrar may be able to facilitate an informal resolution to the problem.
Here are a few other things that may be useful to consider before making a complaint:
- If you have experienced administrative concerns, such as timing of appointments, scheduling issues, fees, etc., they may be more appropriately dealt with by another person or organization (e.g., an Institutional Ombudsman, a schoolboard, the psychologist’s employer) rather than CPNB.
- Psychologists may have to break confidentiality of privacy if the law requires them to make a report under the Family Services Act or if they believe that a person is a danger to themselves or others.
- Please be advised that, in response to the Complaint and at the request of the College, the Member may disclose to the Registrar documents and information that may be relevant to the Complaint and which are otherwise confidential.
- Consider what you want as an outcome, and note that there are some things that cannot be changed because of a complaint, such as:
- CPNB cannot change decisions made by third parties, such as insurance companies, Social Development, employers and family and other courts.
- CPNB cannot make changes to written reports. (The Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act has processes to address errors and omissions in personal information.)
- CPNB cannot award financial damages – this would require a civil procedure through the courts.
When you believe that the psychologist’s behaviour was unethical or did not meet professional standards, and you would like to make a formal complaint to CPNB, it must be in writing and signed by you. Your complaint can be sent to the attention of the Registrar via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at:
236 St. George Street, Suite 435
Moncton, NB E1C 1W1
Once you have made a decision to file a formal complaint, the details on the procedure are outlined in Part 6 – Complaints, Discipline and Fitness to Practise section of our Act (Chap-36.fm (cpnb.ca)).