I am pleased to report that after many years of consultation and engagement with stakeholders and the Ministry of Health, the government of Ontario passed the regulation for spousal exception
under the Chiropractic Act, 1991 on October 22, 2021.
The Spousal Exception Regulation permits members to provide chiropractic treatment to their spouses, without triggering the sexual abuse provisions under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA).
Please note that the definition of a “spouse” for the purposes of this regulation is very narrowly defined in the Health Professions Procedural Code of the RHPA, and includes only:
(1) a person who is the member’s spouse as defined in section 1 of the Family Law Act (i.e., a person to whom the member is married), or
(2) a person who has lived with the member in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage continuously for a period of not less than three years.
Chiropractors are thus now permitted to treat their spouses, but only where the member’s spouse actually meets the statutory definition of “spouse” as defined above.
Moreover, while treating a spouse, CCO members must follow all legislation, standards of practice, policies and guidelines that they would for any other patient, while complying with appropriate boundaries and separation between the professional relationship and personal relationship.
It is important to note that treating a sexual partner who does not meet the above definition of a spouse under the RHPA will trigger the sexual abuse provisions under the RHPA.
CCO will continue to publish relevant communications on this and any other policy developments on the “News & Updates”
section of CCO’s website.
Safe, quality and ethical chiropractic care for any Ontarian who seeks it, is in the public interest. The passage of the spousal exception furthers this end – providing all requirements are met.
I would like to thank the Minister, CCO staff, and all who participated in stakeholder consultations for your conscientious efforts to bring about this worthy regulatory change. Your efforts have made a difference.