Regulatory Changes in Ontario for Behaviour Analysts: Almost There but Still Work to be Done
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has played a pivotal role in shaping the field of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) since the early 2000s, notably through its involvement in the launch of the Ontario Autism Program. Serving as the primary credentialing body in the United States and Canada, the BACB has consistently upheld high standards of practice. It has introduced various tiered certifications, such as the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral® (BCBA-D®), Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®), and Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®).
In a significant development, the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) has been entrusted with expanding its current scope to encompass behaviour analysis as an autonomous professional field. This expansion also aims to safeguard the use of the title "Behaviour Analyst" in Ontario. Notably, on July 20, 2023, the Lieutenant Governor in Council approved regulatory changes for the practice of ABA in Ontario under the Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis Act, 2021 (the “Act”). Effective July 1, 2024, only regulated Behaviour Analysts will be authorized to use the title “Behaviour Analyst” or represent themselves as qualified professionals in Ontario. At that time, the CPO will evolve into the College of Psychologists and Behaviour Analysts of Ontario.
Recently, the BACB made an important announcement: starting July 1, 2024, BCBAs and BCBA-Ds will be required to register with the newly established College before they can use and promote their credentials. It is of utmost importance that recipients of ABA services verify the registration status of the professionals they engage with after this date.
Currently, there does not appear to be an immediate solution for individuals holding a BCaBA or RBT credential to continue using and promoting their credentials in Ontario under the provisions of the new Act. Consequently, as of July 1, 2024, the recognition of BCaBA and RBT credentials in Ontario will cease.
Autism Ontario supports the regulation of Behaviour Analysts in Ontario, as it is a critical step toward ensuring the well-being and protection of all individuals and families who benefit from these services. Autism Ontario also acknowledges the dedication, hard work, extensive training, and educational investments individuals have made to attain these credentials, which hold substantial value for employers and service recipients across Ontario. We sincerely hope a collaborative resolution can be reached before July 1, 2024. Such a resolution should reflect a partnership involving these professionals, the CPO, and the BACB, aimed at upholding the quality of Applied Behaviour Analysis in Ontario for the benefit of all service recipients.