COVID-19: Information from the College
The College of Midwives of Ontario is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its effects and recognizes that this is a challenging time for midwives who are working 24 hours a day providing care to their clients. While the College’s responsibilities during this public health emergency have increased, our role and our mandate remain the same. This means the College provides midwives with information about their practice as it relates to College standards only (see March 16, 2020: COVID-19 – Information and Guidance for Members below) and does not provide clinical practice guidance other than to point you to reliable evidence-based sources. Information about care during labour, birth, and the postpartum is continually being updated, so the College recommends midwives frequently review the Ministry of Health’s Guidance for the Health Sector and the information being posted by their member association.
Reminder: The College is currently operating a virtual office, and courier packages cannot be received. Please use regular mail and registered mail instead.
Latest Communications from the College
December 22, 2020: Clarification re: COVID-19 tests midwives are authorized to perform
|On April 1, 2020, the College sent midwives frequently asked questions (FAQs) with guidance relating to COVID-19. One of the FAQs stated that midwives were able to order and perform COVID-19 testing. However, the FAQ did not state that midwives require a delegation to perform nasopharyngeal swabs. |
The information provided in the April FAQ was updated on December 21, 2020, to clarify the authority of midwives to perform COVID-19 tests. This updated FAQ (also provided below) replaces the content in the April FAQ relating to COVID-19 testing, and midwives should use it as guidance for their practice decisions relating to COVID-19 testing.
Midwives are permitted to perform some, but not all, tests for COVID-19.
Midwives are not permitted to perform nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and deep nasal swabs on their own authority as they require the performance of the controlled act of “putting an instrument, hand or finger beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow.” Under the Midwifery Act, 1991, midwives do not have the authority to perform this controlled act. Midwives are only permitted to perform these tests under delegation if they have the knowledge, skills, and judgment to safely do so.
Midwives are permitted to perform anterior nasal swabs and throat swabs, as they do not require the performance of a controlled act. Midwives must only perform these tests if they have the appropriate training to do so and must follow Public Health recommendations for testing. While NPS is the optimal specimen collection method for COVID-19 testing, as per the current Public Health Ontario guidance, when NP swabbing cannot be performed, including in remote and low resource communities where there is not a health professional with the requisite or delegated authority, combined swabbing of the throat AND both nostrils (anterior nares) is a preferred alternative method.
Access the College’s COVID-19 FAQs for midwives by clicking here.
April 8, 2020: *UPDATED* Registration Information for New Applicants
For all upcoming Midwifery Education Program (MEP) and International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program (IMPP) graduates planning to apply for registration this spring, please note the following:
- Updated registration application forms, requirements, acceptable supporting documents, process and payment procedures, has been posted on the College’s website here.
- Applicants are still required to meet the entry-to-practice requirements; however, the College is working to ensure where a requirement cannot currently be met by the usual means, alternative means for meeting the requirements are identified, this will include signing an undertaking, amongst other things.
- Complete applications will be processed as quickly as possible, generally within 7-14 business days of receipt of a complete application where all requirements are met.
- Applicants may begin completing the required Jurisprudence Course at any time. For more information, please visit the website here.
April 1: COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions Now Available
The College of Midwives of Ontario has answered Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for midwives and their clients to provide them with appropriate information and guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. These FAQs are now available on the College’s website.
The College encourages midwives to share the FAQs for Midwifery Clients with their clients to help address questions related to the changes in the care they are receiving at this time.
The College will continue to update these frequently asked questions as new questions are asked, and as information becomes available.
March 31: COVID-19- Personal Protective Equipment Inventory
On March 27, the Minister of Health issued an order that requires all health care provider organizations to submit a daily inventory of their personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry has confirmed that midwives fall under this order and are required to report their PPE inventory on a daily basis. You may refer to this document for step-by-step instructions on how to report. Only one person from each practice is required to fill out the survey. The survey will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and a new excel spreadsheet must be downloaded daily to report.
You may access the survey here.
The password to access the survey can be found in the College’s email sent March 31, 2020.
The Ministry of Health will be running tutorial webinars on the following dates:
Wednesday, April 1: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Click here to join
Thursday, April 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Click here to join
If you have any questions, or need help completing the survey, please call the PPE Survey help desk at 416.687.8445.
March 26: COVID-19 – Postponement of the Canadian Midwifery Registration Exam
The College of Midwives of Ontario is aware that the Canadian Midwifery Registration Examination (CMRE) scheduled for May 7 has been postponed and individuals who were registered to write the exam have been notified of the cancellation by the Canadian Midwifery Regulators Council.
The College understands that this will affect individuals who were looking to register with the College upon completion of the exam and is currently reviewing its registration processes to address this issue. The College will provide and post more information to its website shortly.
If you have any questions, please contact the registration department, firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640.2252 ext. 222.
March 23, 2020: Help Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The College of Midwives of Ontario is grateful that both current and former midwives are asking how they can help during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, the College outlined a plan to help expedite applications from Inactive members wishing to return to the General class. Please review that notice here.
In addition to this, the Ministry of Health is seeking experienced health care providers who are inactive or retired to consider being deployed within the health sector to assist with provincial efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. This employment would not require you to become registered with the College in the General class as you would not be providing midwifery services.
If you are able to use your former clinical experience to support your front-line colleagues in some capacity, please click here to sign up.
March 20, 2020: *UPDATED* Inactive Midwives Who Wish to Return to Practise
In an effort to enhance midwifery resources in Ontario, the College is revising its class change processes to expedite registration for midwives who are currently not practising but wish to return to the General class. We recognize that there might be challenges to meeting all registration requirements at this time (e.g. there is currently no access to emergency skills workshops), and the College is working on changes to the registration process to allow access to the profession in a timely manner while ensuring that College members re-entering the profession are suitable to practise. We feel confident that the implemented changes will be in the public interest.
The College is currently reviewing its approach to the following requirements:
- Satisfactory evidence of competency in neonatal resuscitation
- Satisfactory evidence of competency in cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Satisfactory evidence of competency in emergency skills
- Completion of jurisprudence course
If you wish to return to the General Class, you should proceed with an application even if you are concerned that you might not meet these requirements. The College may require you to sign an undertaking or take other steps to address competency issues.
The College is waiving the class change fee. You can apply for a certificate of registration in the General class by completing the application for certificate of registration class change from Inactive to General and submitting it to the College’s secure dropbox here. A college staff member will be in touch with you regarding the status of your application within 2 business days.
The College will provide more information about the class change process as it becomes available.
The College is aware that there is currently reduced or no access to NRP, CPR and emergency skills workshops across the province that will affect midwives’ ability to successfully renew their College membership for 2020/2021. The College is closely monitoring the situation and will provide more information in the coming week.
March 20, 2020: Requirements for Health Care Providers
The College of Midwives of Ontario brings your attention to the latest Directive from the Chief Medical Officer of Health that directs Regulated Health Professionals to stop providing non-essential services.
Midwives provide both essential and non-essential services to their clients during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum and newborn period. Midwives are in the best position to determine what care is essential for an individual client in a particular moment in time and are asked to use their discretion to limit direct contact with clients when the care is deemed non-essential. Midwives are encouraged to provide care to their clients remotely when it is acceptable to do so.
To read the Directive in full, please click here.
The College of Midwives of Ontario will continue to ensure that members have access to the most trusted sources of information in order for them to continue to provide safe and competent care to their clients.
March 19, 2020: COVID-19 – Managing Health Worker Illness and Return to Work
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has released a memo outlining enhanced public health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario. This memo includes recommendations to all parts of the health sector on the following issues:
- Travel and Return to Work
- Practice Social Distancing and Facilitate Virtual Arrangements
- Ongoing Screening, Self-Monitoring and Self-Isolation
- Heath Workers Who Work in Multiple Locations
- Continuity of Operations and Curtailing Non-Essential Services
- Return to Work after Illness
To read this memo, please click here. The College of Midwives of Ontario will continue to ensure that members have access to the most trusted sources of information in order for them to be able to provide safe and competent care to their clients.
March 16, 2020: COVID-19 – Information and Guidance for Members
We know that you have questions about what impact the novel coronavirus may have on your role as a regulated practitioner and your clinical decision-making as COVID-19 spreads in the communities where you practise. We recognize that in these challenging circumstances you may not be able to meet all College standards and that there may be a need for you to adjust your practice to be able to provide appropriate care to your clients and their newborns.
As you know, the College’s Professional Standards for Midwives is designed to be flexible and provides a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations. You should exercise your professional judgment, in every situation, to provide care that is in your clients’ best interest within the limits of the midwifery scope of practice and your competence in line with the current guidance available from Public Health, the Ministry of Health, and the hospitals.
We encourage you to work collaboratively with your peers and other health care practitioners to implement enhanced infection prevention and control measures to protect yourself and your clients from infection risks. It is essential that everyone follows provincial public health directions and guidance.
If you cannot meet a standard of the profession, ensure that your clients receive best care possible in the current circumstances and document your rationale for the decision you made. You are accountable and responsible for clients in your care and your professional decisions and actions must be justifiable at all times. If you have any questions about meeting the Professional Standards or other College requirements, please contact the College at email@example.com.
We are aware that there could be reduced access to Emergency Skills, CPR and NRP certifications during the pandemic as well as an increase in class change requests from Inactive to General. We are closely monitoring the situation and will address any issues as needed.
As announced earlier, the College is currently operating as a virtual office in an effort to minimize College staff exposure to COVID-19 to both protect our team and reduce possible associated service disruptions. College staff continue to be available via email and telephone as usual during this time.
For inquiries relating to professional practice advice: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640. 2252 ext. 230.
For registration inquiries, including initial registration, the status of your application, renewal, class change, NRP, CPR, ESW, public register and letters of professional conduct and in good standing: email@example.com or 416.640. 2252 ext. 208.
For inquiries relating to complaints, reports, or unauthorized practice and general information about the complaints, discipline or ADR process: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640. 2252 ext. 224.
For inquiries relating to the quality assurance program: email@example.com or 416.640. 2252 ext. 227.
For inquiries relating to accessibility and privacy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640. 2252 ext. 225.
March 13, 2020: College of Midwives of Ontario Providing Services Remotely
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of community spread, the College of Midwives of Ontario will be temporarily operating a virtual office as of March 16, 2020, until further notice. This decision was made to minimize College staff exposure to COVID-19 to both protect our team and reduce possible associated service disruptions.
The College has systems in place to ensure that staff are fully equipped to provide services to the public and members while working remotely. The College expects to operate with few disruptions, none of which will affect the College’s public protection mandate. The identified disruptions are as follows:
- The College office will be unavailable for unscheduled visits. In person meetings can be arranged when there are accessibility or accommodation requests.
- Courier packages cannot be received at the College office. Please use mail and registered mail which will be received at an alternative location.
College staff can continue to be contacted via email and telephone as usual during this time. The College will provide you with a response within two business days.
Who to contact?
For registration inquiries, including initial registration, the status of your application, renewal, class change, NRP, CPR, ESW, public register and letters of professional conduct and in good standing: email@example.com or 416.640.2252 ext. 208.
For inquiries relating to complaints, reports, or unauthorized practice and general information about the complaints, discipline or ADR process: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640.2252 ext. 224.
For inquiries relating to the quality assurance program: email@example.com or 416.640.2252 ext. 227.
For inquiries relating to professional practice advice: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.640.2252 ext. 230.
For inquiries relating to accessibility and privacy: email@example.com or 416.640.2252 ext. 225.
We encourage members to regularly review the following websites for the most accurate and up to date information about COVID-19:
- Association of Ontario Midwives
- Centre for Effective Practice: COVID-19 Vaccines [added December 18, 2020]
- COVID-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart
- Guidance for Independent Health Facilities
- Maternal-Neonatal COVID-19 General Guideline
- Ministry of Health
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Public Health Ontario
Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
- COVID-19 – Directive #1 for Health Care Providers and Health Care Entities
- COVID 19 – Directive #2 for Health Care Providers
- COVID-19 – Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes
- COVID-19 – Directive #4 for Ambulance Services and Paramedics
- COVID-19 – Directive #5 PPE in Hospitals
If you have any questions about meeting the Professional Standards or other College requirements, please contact the College at firstname.lastname@example.org.