Jordan Peterson was ordered by the College of Psychologists of Ontario to undergo a coaching program on professionalism in public statements.
The College of Psychologists of Ontario can order Jordan Peterson to undergo social media training in response to online conduct that led to complaints to the college, an Ontario court has ruled.
“Requiring coaching following apparently unheeded advice seems a reasonable next step, proportionately balancing statutory objectives against Charter rights which are minimally impaired, if they are impaired at all, by the (college’s decision to require coaching),” says the 18-page court decision that was released Wednesday.
Peterson’s comments did not run afoul of any Canadian laws. Rather, they were found to have contravened specific rules that exist for psychologists, a regulated profession.
“When individuals join a regulated profession, they do not lose their Charter right to freedom of expression,” says the ruling by the Ontario Divisional Court. “At the same time, however, they take on obligations and must abide by the rules of their regulatory body that may limit their freedom of expression.”
“The order is not disciplinary and does not prevent Dr. Peterson from expressing himself on controversial topics.”
The college, in a statement posted online, said it would be reviewing the decision and would “undertake next steps in accordance with our mandate and any appropriate legal processes.”
Peterson’s legal team will be seeking leave to appeal the decision.
Matthew Gourlay, one of Peterson’s lawyers, told National Post that the psychologist was “disappointed” in the decision.
“He’s obviously very concerned about the way in which the college’s actions in this case have the potential to have a chilling effect on free expression by members of regulated professions,” Gourlay said.
Peterson posted his response on X, formerly known as Twitter, in the early afternoon, writing that the court had ruled “in support of forced re-education.”
He vowed to make every aspect of his case public. “We will see what happens when utter transparency is the rule,” he wrote.
“If you think that you have a right to free speech in Canada you’re delusional.”
Since his rise to fame in 2016, largely because of his opposition to legislation that expanded protections for gender identity in Canadian human rights legislation, and the runaway success of his self-help book, 12 Rules for Life, Peterson has gone from an obscure professor at the University of Toronto to a regular commentator on public affairs.