History of the Board Compliments of Dr. Charles Hayes
The number of psychologists in Nova Scotia grew substantially through the late 60’s and 70’s. At that time there was no provincial legislation governing the practice of psychology. Governance was provided primarily within departments of psychology in hospitals, clinics and universities. Psychologists working outside of such formal practice settings felt a need for legislation to govern the practice of psychology.
There was an informal system of policing psychological practice within the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia (APNS). Unfortunately the APNS process lacked any formal way to compel psychologists to participate in investigations and the only real sanction available was to suspend APNS membership. If a psychologist resigned before the investigation was completed the APNS had no other recourse.
The APNS recognized that there was a need for a better system to ensure that the public was protected. APNS began a lengthy period of campaigning to convince the government that legislation governing the practice of psychology was needed.
APNS modeled its proposed legislation on the regulatory Act in place in Ontario. It set out the minimal necessary qualifications that had to be met in order to provide services as a psychologist. The Act, once put into force, would stipulate the necessary educational requirements, the nature of internships and training, and the level of experience required before an individual could be recognized in Nova Scotia as a psychologist.
The Psychologists Act was introduced into the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as a government bill on March 3, 1980 and was proclaimed into Law on December 18, 1980. Thus, the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology dates back to this time.
The initial Board was charged with drafting Regulations and establishing mechanisms for applicants to follow, for supervision, and of course, for complaints to be heard. In December 1981 there were just five psychologists registered. The original NS Board had registered just enough people to enable them to form the first working board and to register all other psychologists in the Province.
It was from these beginnings that the present NSBEP legislation and Board have developed. The public can rest knowing that there is a body that ensures that the practice of psychology is governed. The Board was struck to ensure that any psychologist in practice in Nova Scotia has met stringent conditions of training, education and supervised practice. Further, the public is assured that their safeguard is the primary purpose of NSBEP.
Psychologists must adhere to the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists that is standard across Canada. In addition the current Act allows the Board a broader scope of restrictions and regulatory tools, and there is provision for lay members to sit on the Board to ensure that the public at large has a voice in the regulation of psychology.