Canadian Psychological Association

A motion creating the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) was moved and passed at a dinner meeting in Ottawa in June 1938, which was held in conjunction with a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Subsequently, a constitution was adopted in December 1940; however, the usual date reported for the inception of the organization is 1939. There were 38 founding members. Although there is some debate about the impetus for the establishment of the CPA, one school of thought holds that the organization was created so that psychologists might contribute more effectively to the war effort.

In general the CPA's mandate is to represent the interests of and provide leadership in all aspects of psychology in Canada. More particularly, CPA aims to promote the unity, coherence, and sense of identity among the diverse scientific and professional interests and geographical disparities of all psychologists in the country. Current members number over 5,100. Full members must possess a master's degree in psychology, while student members may be graduate or undergraduate students studying psychology on a full- or part-time basis. Affiliates are those who have shown an active interest in psychology and have all the perks of membership but may not hold office.

The governance of the CPAconsists of an appointed honorary president plus an 11-person board of directors (including the president, president elect, and past president) assisted by an executive director and head office staff. (Administrative offices are located in Ottawa.) Two directors, one representing the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science and the other the Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology, have designated seats, while other directors and the president are elected. The Council of Provincial Associations of Psychologists (CPAP), the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs, and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards enjoy observer status at board meetings. Various functions are assigned to committees of the board, with a director serving as chair. Included among the 15 extant committees are By-Laws, Rules and Procedures; Convention; Education and Training; Ethics; Fellows and Awards; International Relations; Membership; Professional Affairs; Publications; Scientific Affairs; and Sections. There are 24 sections affiliated with the CPA that span the myriad subspecialties in the discipline, from Adult Devel opment and Aging to Women and Psychology. These sections have official status under the bylaws and are the primary agents through which the particular and special needs of members are met and interests served. The CPA also maintains close ties with provincial associations of psychologists and regulatory bodies through membership on CPAP.

The CPA publishes three scholarly journals (Canadian Psychology, Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, and Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology), each of which produces four issues annually. A newsletter, Psynop-sis, sent to all members, also appears four times a year. Access to these publications is available online for members. More episodic publications include the Strengthening Psychology series. This series consists of relatively brief articles, commissioned by CPA, that address specific issues in the health care field (e.g., home and community care, medicare, pharmacare, and primary care). The organization has also been active in the development of national standards and ethical principles, and a number of documents pertain to these efforts (e.g., A Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, 1991; A Companion Manual of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, 1992; Guidelines for Non-Discriminatory Practice, 1996; Guidelines for Therapy and Counselling with Women, 1980; Guidelines for Professional Practice for School Psychologists, 2002). A number of position statements have also been approved by CPA members over the years recognizing the legitimacy of psychology of women courses and research, the need for more affordable quality child care, opposition to the reintroduction of the death penalty, and various other matters. The Association also maintains a web site at

The CPA annually hosts a 3-day convention with a varied program of invited speakers, symposia, and paper and poster sessions. A number of continuing education workshops typically precede the convention proper. Sections and committees hold their annual business meetings at the convention, and sections have significant responsibilities for convention content. Another publication of the CPA is the annual convention issue of Canadian Psychology, which contains abstracts of convention submissions.

In addition to recognizing the contributions of members through election to fellowship, the CPA offers a number of other awards for distinguished contributions to the application of psychology; to public or community service; to psychology as a profession; to psychology as a science; and to education and training in psychology. There are also a number of New Researcher awards and a Gold Medal award for lifetime contributions to Canadian psychology. Students producing outstanding honors, master's, and doctoral theses at each university across the country are recognized with a Certificate of Excellence award. Many sections also provide awards; several of these are designed to applaud the best student presentation at the convention.

One of the many important functions performed by the CPA is the accreditation of university-based professional doctoral programs in clinical, clinical neuropsychology and counselling (22 accredited), and predoctoral internship programs (26 accredited). A recent initiative of the CPA is the inauguration of the CPA Foundation. Donations to the Foundation are intended to provide support for students in psychology, for psychological research, and for public policy development. Amentoring program for junior faculty is another member service offered by the CPA. The purpose of this initiative is to offer new academic faculty an opportunity to contact and communicate with more experienced, tenured colleagues (from another university) who are willing to provide advice and direction relevant to the role of a university professor.

Representing psychology to the government is a priority of the CPA. The CPA has maintained a high profile in both consulting and lobbying with the Canadian federal government on issues affecting the ability of psychology to contribute to the welfare of Canadian society (for example, in the areas of health, the criminal justice system, research funding, and education). This work frequently represents collaborative efforts with other groups such as the Canadian Consortium for Research and the Health Action Lobby. Psychology and Public Policy: An Advocacy Guide for Psychologists (1999) and Working With the Media: A Guide for Psychologists (2000) are excellent how-to documents designed to encourage greater political participation on the part of Canadian psychologists.

In the interests of fulfilling its mandate of fostering cohesion among the disparate national and provincial organizations of psychology, the CPA has been an active participant, along with 17 other organizations, in seeking to integrate these diverse groups so that Canadian psychology might speak with one voice.

Sandra W. Pyke

York University, Canada

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