‘People in regulated professions have private lives outside of their professional roles,’ legal group said
Jordan Peterson’s legal fight against the College of Psychologists of Ontario, which has ordered him to undergo a social media re-education to keep his license, took center stage in an Ontario courtroom on Wednesday.
At issue is a January letter Peterson received from the Ontario College of Psychologists demanding he undergo a “remedial” re-education for his controversial Twitter commentary or lose his license as a psychologist.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation appeared in court on Wednesday to support Peterson in his legal battle against the regulatory college. The foundation on Wednesday argued that “professional regulators may not regulate off-duty conduct unless they can establish a clear nexus between that specific conduct and the legitimate interest of the profession. And where off-duty conduct engages a Charter right, like freedom of expression, regulators have a heightened duty to ensure they have given full effect to the Charter protection,” according to a June 21 news release.
CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn stated in the release that people “in regulated professions have private lives outside of their professional roles. Any intrusion on the right of an individual to participate in public discourse, including through controversial statements in social media, must be rigorously examined to ensure that a regulator is not over-stepping its mandate.”
According to the Toronto Star, Peterson’s legal team also argued the panel’s “cursory analysis” took some of his comments out of context: “Some were sarcastic jokes; others were made in salty exchanges; and others needed to be read together with Dr. Peterson’s fuller explanations of them. Many of the comments were made on Twitter, which is an environment that does not allow for nuanced exposition.”
In contrast, the college’s lawyers “argued the panel’s order does not ‘meaningfully’ limit Peterson’s freedom of expression because it does not prohibit him from saying anything and the remedial measure is not a sanction or penalty,” the Star reported.
Van Geyn also live tweeted the hearing Wednesday.
Just arrived at Osgoode Hall for the hearing in Dr Jordan Peterson v College of Psychologists of Ontario. Follow this account for live tweets pic.twitter.com/eTM7IYgvDx
— Christine Van Geyn (@cvangeyn) June 21, 2023
Peterson, from the beginning, has refused to comply with the college’s re-education demands.
“The Ontario College of Psychologists has demanded I submit myself to mandatory social-media communication retraining with their experts for, among other crimes, retweeting Pierre Poilievre and criticizing [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and his political allies,” Peterson announced on Twitter in January.
BREAKING: the Ontario College of Psychologists @CPOntario has demanded that I submit myself to mandatory social-media communication retraining with their experts for, among other crimes, retweeting @PierrePoilievre and criticizing @JustinTrudeau and his political allies.
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) January 3, 2023
The popular speaker and former professor at the University of Toronto, who became widely known for rejecting mandatory preferred pronouns as a professor at his university, shared the letter he received from the Ontario College of Psychologists.
“I have formally indicated my refusal to comply,” Peterson announced on Jan. 4.
The College of Psychologists oversees the regulation and licensing of psychology professionals in Ontario, Canada.
IMAGE: Jordan Peterson/YouTube