Jordan Peterson to Appeal Court Decision in College of Psychologists’ Case

Jordan Peterson to Appeal Court Decision in College of Psychologists’ Case
University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson speaks to a crowd during a stop in Sherwood Park, Alberta, on Feb. 11, 2018. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)
Marnie Cathcart

Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson will be appealing the court ruling that he must comply with an order from his profession’s regulatory body to take social media coaching, his lawyers say.

The law firm representing Mr. Peterson, Henein Hutchison Robitaille, issued a statement on Aug. 23 announcing they have been instructed to seek leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal. This decision follows an Aug. 23 ruling against Mr. Peterson by the Ontario Divisional Court.

The College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) had requested that Mr. Peterson undergo professional training due to some of his online postings. The college had said some of  Mr. Peterson’s statements directed at a plus-sized model, transgender actor Elliot Page, and several politicians, may be “degrading” to the profession and could amount to professional misconduct. Mr. Peterson subsequently filed a judicial review application, seeking review of the CPO’s order.

On Aug. 23, the court ruled that the CPO’s order requiring Mr. Peterson to comply with coaching directives falls within its mandate to regulate the profession in the public interest. The judge ruled that as a member of a “regulated profession,” Mr. Peterson bears responsibility “for the risk of harm that flows from him speaking in that trusted capacity.”

Reacting to the development, Mr. Peterson on Aug. 23 said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “So the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the CPO can pursue their prosecution. If you think that you have a right to free speech in Canada you’re delusional.”

“I will make every aspect of this public, and we will see what happens when utter transparency is the rule. Bring it on,” he added.

The law firm’s statement indicated Mr. Peterson believes the right to free expression must be “most zealously guarded.”

“Dr. Peterson is deeply concerned about the chilling effect that the College’s actions will have on professionals across Canada expressing controversial or unpopular views,” the firm said. “Regulated professionals do not check their right to free expression at the door.”

Canadian society “benefits from having members of all occupations free to speak their minds without undue regulatory scrutiny,” added Mr. Peterson’s lawyers.

The Epoch Times contacted the CPO for comment, but didn’t immediately hear back.

Mr. Peterson, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto in psychology, first came under scrutiny by his college in November 2022 after complaints about his social media posts. A complaints committee concluded these could be “degrading” to the profession and may constitute professional misconduct.

Earlier this year, Mr. Peterson criticized the college as weaponizing the disciplinary process for political reasons and stated the CPO wanted him to attend a “re-education camp.”