Ontario Strengthens Laws to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Patients
On May 30, 2017, the Ontario government passed Bill 87: The Protecting Patients Act, 2017, which amends several pieces of legislation including the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. Please see the following link for the Ontario Government’s news release on the passage of the Protecting Patients Act, 2017.
The amendments reinforce Ontario’s zero tolerance policy on the sexual abuse of patients by any regulated health professional, and implement new programs and policies to keep people healthy.
The Protecting Patients Act, 2017 includes legislative amendments to:
- Expand the list of acts of sexual abuse that will result in the mandatory revocation of a regulated health professional’s certificate of registration
- Remove the ability of a health regulatory college to impose restrictions that would allow a regulated health professional to continue practising on patients of a specific gender
- Ensure more timely access to therapy and counselling for patients who make a complaint of sexual abuse by a regulated health professional to a health regulatory college
- Define a patient to include a former patient to remain a “patient” for the purposes of the sexual misconduct provisions for a period of one year from when the person would otherwise cease to be a patient (comes into force upon proclamation)
- Require that more information regarding the current and past conduct of regulated health professionals is available to the public in an easy-to-access and transparent way
- Incorporate feedback from stakeholders, including establishing a higher threshold for when third-party records may be ordered to be produced in discipline hearings involving sexual abuse.
Please look out for future CCO communiques, circulations and newsletters for more information on the impact of the passing of the Protecting Patients Act, 2017.