July 18, 2018
Note: This article was originally posted in our July 2018 newsletter, and has not been updated.
Dear midwives, stakeholders, and members of the public,
At the College of Midwives of Ontario, we take our mandate of regulating midwifery in the public interest very seriously. Clients and Ontario families are at the core of all of the work we do, and the focus of our decision-making.
The midwife-client relationship is based on trust, with clients expecting a midwife who is highly skilled and knowledgeable. The majority of midwives in Ontario meet all of the College’s high standards, and it is our job as regulators to ensure families can trust that their midwife will provide safe and excellent care at all times. Sexual abuse by a midwife violates that trust and is never acceptable. The College has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and has the responsibility to investigate all complaints.
The College has had a Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy in place since we were first regulated, 25 years ago. The policy has changed over time, and was recently amended by Council to reflect recent legislative changes. You can click here to read more about specific changes to the policy.
Over the past few years there has been a lot of discussion about appropriate boundaries in health-care settings, and about how the regulatory health colleges can work to prevent sexual abuse of patients. In 2014, then Minister of Health Eric Hoskins established the Minister’s Task Force of the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Patients and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). The Task Force examined how to strengthen the RHPA, and provided the Minister with recommendations and advice.
One outcome from the Task Force was the creation of Bill 87, the Protecting Patients Act, 2017. Bill 87 includes a number of changes to the RHPA, some of which impact the College’s Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy. This Bill has come into force in two stages, and the College has responded to all requirements in the Bill. You can read about other changes in Bill 87 on page 8 of this newsletter.
We’ve also created new resources for members of the public who were, or may have been, sexually abused by a midwife while they were a client. The College’s Guide on Funding and Therapy, and Sexual Abuse Complaints Guide can be found on our website here.
Please get in touch with the College if you have any questions or concerns about the new Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy.
Tiffany Haidon RM
College of Midwives of Ontario