June 21, 2017
Bill 87, The Protecting Patients Act was given royal assent by the Ontario Legislature on May 30, 2017. This Bill affects the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and impacts the way that our College regulates midwives.
Bill 87 was first introduced in December 2016 and was considered by the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly from April 12, 2017 to May 17, 2017. College of Midwives of Ontario Registrar Kelly Dobbin spoke to the committee about the effects this legislation would have on midwives and our College, and submitted a joint letter along with many health regulators. Click here to read the letter.
The entirety of Bill 87 and a summary of its impacts on health care in Ontario is posted on the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s website here. Changes to the RHPA include:
- The purposes for which the Minister may require a College to collect information from members under section 36.1 of the Act are expanded to include health human resources research.
- The Minister is given the power to make regulations respecting College committees and panels.
- The matters that a College is required to note in its register are expanded.
- For the purposes of the sexual abuse provisions of the Code, the definition of “patient”, without restricting the ordinary meaning of the term, is expanded to include an individual who was a member’s patient within the last year or within such longer period of time as may be prescribed from the date on which they ceased to be a patient, and an individual who is determined to be a patient in accordance with the criteria set out in regulations.
- The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee and its panels may make an order for the interim suspension of a member’s certificate of registration at any time following the receipt of a complaint or after the appointment of an investigator, instead of only when a matter is referred for discipline or incapacity proceedings.
- The imposition of gender-based terms, conditions or limitations on a member’s certificate of registration is prohibited.
- The grounds for mandatory revocation of the certificate of registration of a member who has sexually abused a patient are expanded, and suspension is made mandatory in sexual abuse cases that do not involve conduct requiring mandatory revocation.
- Members are required to report to the Registrar if they belong to professional bodies outside Ontario, and if there has been a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence against them by such a body.
- Members are required to report to the Registrar if they are charged with an offence, and are required to provide information about bail conditions.
- The mandatory program for Colleges to provide funding for therapy and counselling for patients who were sexually abused by members is expanded to apply to persons who are alleged to have been sexually abused while a patient, and to provide funding for other purposes provided for in regulations.
- The penalties for failing to report sexual abuse of patients are increased.
These changes to the RHPA affect midwives, the public, and the way we operate as a College. That means that some of our current by-laws may be inconsistent with the changes set out in Bill 87. Midwives and the public should be aware that the RHPA supersedes our College by-laws, and we will be amending our by-laws to ensure they’re consistent. Our Council and Committees will meet over the next few months to discuss these changes and make decisions around implementation. We will continue to update members and the public throughout this process.