Release: OCLA statement on the hiring of third-party psychiatrists and psychologists to opine on the dangerousness of individuals


The widespread practice of hiring third-party psychiatrists and psychologists to opine on the dangerousness of individuals is repugnant in a free and democratic society, OCLA

(Ottawa, October 23, 2018) — It has become a widespread practice in Ontario for the state, institutions, employers and litigation or political adversaries to purchase individualized psychiatric profiles or evaluations of individuals they wish to harm or control.

The justifications that are stated for making these so-called expert evaluations are typically “public safety”, “risk assessment”, “workplace safety”, “accommodation”, or simply “public interest”, as with powerful public figures.

This widespread activity involves a new cadre of medical-health professionals that populate the fields of so-called “forensic psychology” and “violent personality assessment psychiatry”. These experts are extensively used in court, tribunal and arbitration proceedings, but also in the management of workplace conflicts.

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) is of the position that the practice of using hired experts to opine on the dangerousness of an individual employee or defendant or opponent is repugnant in a free and democratic society for three reasons:

i.          The assessments are not reliable predictions. There is no scientific basis for predicting violent behaviour of a specific individual beyond the obvious considerations of history of violence and immediate circumstances (such as war or prison conditions, and so on).

ii.          Hired assessors are decidedly biased in favor of the party retaining their services, as adversarial allegiance comparative studies have conclusively established.

iii.         The ethical rules of practice of the expertise are inadequate and are often violated even when sufficiently spelled out in statutes and regulations.

OCLA is aware of four (4) cases in Ontario, which are egregious violations of civil, student and workers’ rights.

For these reasons, OCLA invites complainants against such professional assessments (victims of this practice) to come forward, to go public, and/or to privately contact OCLA using the contact page at:

Media contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA)
613-252-6148 (c)


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