Professional Standards for Midwives
NOTE: The Professional Standards for Midwives came into effect on June 1, 2018.
Introducing the Professional Standards for Midwives
Overview of the Professional Standards
The Professional Standards for Midwives (“Professional Standards”) describes what is expected of all midwives registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario (“College”). The Professional Standards sets out the College’s minimum requirements regarding your practice and conduct and helps you achieve the best outcomes for your clients and the public.
All midwives involved in client care hold the role of a trusted professional. There are duties arising from this role and obligations owed to others, including your clients, the public, your peers, other health care providers and your regulator.
It is your responsibility to be familiar with and comply with the Professional Standards. You must use your judgment in applying the principles to the various situations you will face as a midwife. While no standard can foresee or address every issue or ethical dilemma which may arise throughout your professional career, your decisions and actions must be justifiable.
You must always act in accordance with the law. The Professional Standards is not a substitute for legislation and regulations that govern the midwifery profession in Ontario. If there is any conflict between the Professional Standards and the law, the law prevails.
Midwives provide care in a variety of settings including homes, clinics, hospitals, and birth centres, so you must also be aware of, and work in accordance with, the rules set by each of the locations where you practise, including institutional policies and procedures, and community standards. When those institutional policies and procedures in your community standards are less stringent than, or contradict the Professional Standards, you must comply with the Professional Standards. While many standards are compiled, written down, and formally approved by the College, other standards are not documented and are unwritten expectations that describe the generally accepted practice of midwives who work in similar contexts in Ontario. In addition to the Professional Standards, the College has approved other written standards, which are available on the College’s website.
Five (5) mandatory principles form the Professional Standards. These principles define the fundamental ethical and professional standards that the College expects all practices and individual midwives to meet when providing midwifery services. The standards are not negotiable or discretionary. You must be able to demonstrate at all times that you work in accordance with the principles and standards set out in the Professional Standards. A failure to maintain a standard of practice of the profession may amount to professional misconduct.
You must practise according to the standards expected of you by:
- Demonstrating professional knowledge and practice
- Providing person-centred care
- Demonstrating leadership and collaboration
- Acting with integrity
- Being committed to self-regulation
Structure of the Professional Standards
The Professional Standards is divided into five (5) principles. Each principle includes a definition of the principle and a set of standards. The standards describe what midwives must achieve for compliance with the relevant principle. For midwives who are practice owners, there are additional standards at the end of each section that apply to you.
Underlined words are defined in the Glossary, and a definition can be found by hovering your mouse over the words.
The Five Principles
Professional Knowledge and Practice
Professional Knowledge and Practice focuses on developing and maintaining the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to provide high quality care to clients. All midwives practising in Ontario must possess the knowledge, skills, and judgment relevant to their professional practice. They must exercise good clinical and professional judgment to provide safe and effective care. Midwives must be committed to an ongoing process of learning, self-assessment, evaluation, and identifying ways to best meet client needs.
To demonstrate Professional Knowledge and Practice, you must meet the following standards:
Person-centred care is focused on the client and their life context. Person-centred care recognizes the central role the client has in their own health care, and responds to their unique needs, values and preferences. Working with individuals in partnership, person-centred care offers high-quality care provided with compassion, respect, and trust.
To achieve Person-Centred care, you must meet the following standards:
Leadership and Collaboration
Leadership and Collaboration requires that you work both independently and together with midwives, and other regulated and unregulated health care providers in relationships of reciprocal trust. Leadership and Collaboration demands that midwives work with clearly defined roles and responsibilities in all health care settings and when in health care teams. Communication, cooperation, and coordination are integral to the principle of Leadership and Collaboration.
To demonstrate Leadership and Collaboration, you must meet the following standards:
Integrity is a fundamental quality of any member of the midwifery profession. Every midwife has a duty to practise truthfully and honestly with the best interest of their clients as paramount. Integrity demands that midwives consistently model appropriate behaviour, recognize the power imbalance inherent in the midwife-client relationship, and maintain the reputation and values of the profession.
To demonstrate Integrity, you must meet the following standards:
Commitment to Self-Regulation
Self-regulation is the authority, delegated from the government to the members of the profession, to govern their profession. Commitment to self-regulation demands that midwives demonstrate personal responsibility by diligently fulfilling their duties owed to others, including their clients and the public, other midwives, midwifery students, and the College. As self-regulated professionals, midwives must uphold the standards and reputation of the profession, protect and promote the best interests of clients and the public, and collectively act in a manner that reflects well on the profession.
To demonstrate Commitment to Self-Regulation, you must meet the following standards:
- Confidentiality and Privacy
- Conflict of interest
- Controlled acts authorized to midwives
- Early postpartum
- Mandatory reporting obligations
- Midwifery Act
- Most responsible provider
- Notification requirements
- Practice owner
- Quality improvement systems
- Scope of Practice
- Second birth attendant
Click here for a PDF version of the Professional Standards document.
Normes Professionnelles des Sages-Femmes
Vous pouvez accéder les Normes Professionnelles des Sages-Femmes ici.
Professional Standards for Midwives
Approved by the College of Midwives of Ontario Council
Approval Date: March 21 2018
Implementation Date: June 1, 2018