A College of Psychologists of Ontario panel ordered Jordan Peterson in November to complete an “education or remedial program … regarding professionalism in public statements.” Peterson then took that regulatory body to court.
That’s according to a ruling last week by three Ontario Superior Court of Justice judges, who unanimously rejected Peterson’s appeal. They dismissed Peterson’s application for judicial review and ordered him to pay the college $25,000.
The ruling says Peterson, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, stopped seeing patients in 2017 but “maintains his membership in the college and refers to himself in his public statements as a clinical psychologist.”
“Since at least 2018, the college has received complaints about Dr. Peterson’s public statements,” the ruling said. “Some complaints have been formal, but many were ‘tweeted’ to the college via the social media platform Twitter, and often involved Dr. Peterson’s views on topics of social and political interest, including transgender questions, racism, overpopulation and the response to COVID-19.”
Among those complained-about comments, according to the ruling: in January 2022, on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Peterson said of air pollution and child deaths that “it’s just poor children, and the world has too many people on it anyways,” and, in June 2022, Peterson misgendered a transgender actor, tweeting that the actor “just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician.”
An Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee of the college ordered Peterson in November to “enter a coaching program … to begin within three months and be completed within 12 months. Costs associated with the coaching were to be borne by Dr. Peterson.”
Peterson objected, citing his rights to free expression, but the judges rejected that.
“When individuals join a regulated profession, they do not lose their Charter [of Rights and Freedoms] right to freedom of expression,” the decision says. “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.”
Marca, a Spanish publication that reported on the ruling last week, noted that Peterson posted a response on the platform now dubbed X, previously Twitter:
Elon Musk, the multibillionaire who bought Twitter last year, responded, “Wow.”