Two weeks ago, CCO successfully concluded the 2021 Elections for Council and CCO Executive. After having served on Council and Executive for many years as a government appointed public member, it is an honour to have been named CCO President at this challenging but opportune time for regulating chiropractic in the public interest in Ontario.
As the first public member to lead the CCO since its inception, I am proud to be a part of establishing this historic first. I would be remiss if I did not also note that fellow public appointees now chair several of CCO’s statutory committees. Together with our elected professional member colleagues, we will continue to ensure the public interest remains front and centre in all our activities.
The challenges we face are readily apparent as the province is again experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases and related impacts on the provincial health care system, which necessitate public health measures that affect all Ontarians as well as the practice of chiropractic care in the province.
Throughout the pandemic response, CCO has provided guidance to members in support of Ministry of Health directives and specific instruction with respect to requirements for the provision of safe chiropractic care.
Emergency Management Update
On April 22, 2021 Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health wrote to all Health Care Regulators and system partners in the province outlining new measures to alleviate the pressure on hospitals and critical care providers. Specifically, the new emergency order authorizes regulated health care professionals to provide patient care services outside their regular scope of practice and enables hospitals to employ or otherwise engage regulated health professionals from out-of-province.
It is important to stress that this pertains only to duties that are assigned, or privileges that are granted, by a hospital, and are necessary only to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19.
CCO continues to engage with the Ministry to determine what specific role, if any, CCO members might play in conjunction with this new order. I share this now to avoid any confusion among the public or CCO membership, as there has been media coverage of the new measures. Rest assured we will communicate further on this latest directive if, and as, required.
COVID-19 Relevant Provisions
I have been impressed with the overall response of the profession and the professional behaviour demonstrated by so many during what is an unprecedented time for all of us. CCO supports the government’s efforts to address the global health crises. I know the vast majority of members are focused on continuing to provide high quality, patient centered care. CCO members are reminded about the relevant standards of practice, policies and guidelines which rise to a higher level of importance at this time, including CCO’s Professional Advisory on Vaccination and Immunization
, standards of practice S-001: Scope of Practice
and S-016: Advertising
, and guidelines G-016 Advertising
, and G-012: Use of Social Media
. CCO has received some inquiries relating to the posting of vaccine ‘selfies’ which some vaccination sites are encouraging. Please know that the disclosure of vaccination status for COVID-19 is personal health information, so disclosure is voluntary. If posting any information on social media, please exercise caution, be mindful of CCO’s provisions, and do not imply or suggest that your vaccination status gives you superiority in terms of patient treatment or care.
CCO’s review of all matters is through the lens of public protection, including of course a review of any complaints or concerns brought to CCO’s attention. All complaints include a consideration of submissions from the member and complainant, the context and circumstances of the complaint and the applicability of CCO standards of practice, position statement, policies and guidelines.
As part of CCO’s annual review of all standards of practice, policies and guidelines, every committee will be considering recommendations for amendments to existing provisions to ensure public interest protection, particularly in view of the events of the past several months. As always, members are expected to uphold the highest standards of professional conduct, and to use sound judgement in line with the relevant provisions when using social media.
I have been remarkably encouraged by the professionalism of the vast majority of members throughout the pandemic. Please continue to monitor the website for the most recent COVID-19 related information, including relevant Government orders and directives.
I noted earlier that this was both a challenging and opportune time to assume the CCO presidency. This is an important moment for all health regulatory colleges in the province, owing to the transition to a new College Performance Measurement Framework reporting standard. Having just submitted CCO’s inaugural benchmarking report to the Ministry of Health, we are now in a good position to further reinforce those aspects of CCO’s operations that currently meet or exceed the ministry’s performance standard, and to move aggressively on those aspects identified for further improvement.
I look forward to engaging with you all as we drive this evolution forward, and to sharing some of my additional aspirations for my term as CCO President in future.