Bill 87 Gives Government Much More Power over Health Regulators

The changes contained in Bill 87 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 have been presented as relating primarily to addressing sexual abuse by health practitioners. And the Bill does contain some important provisions doing just that. For example, if passed:

  • The sexual abuse provisions will apply to former patients for at least one year.
  • Interim orders could be imposed immediately upon receipt of a complaint or report (previously they could not be imposed until after the investigation had been completed).
  • Gender-based restrictions (e.g., not allowing a practitioner to treat female clients) will not be permitted.
  • The criteria for mandatory revocations will be expanded to include most forms of sexual touching.
  • Eligibility for funding for counselling and therapy and related expenses will be expanded.
  • The penalties for failing to report sexual abuse will be increased.

Significantly, Bill 87 also contains a number of provisions that would increase the powers of the Minister over the regulatory Colleges. The Minister would be able to require Colleges to provide information to the Minster about individual cases (including personal information and personal health information). The Minister would also be able to set the composition, quorum, eligibility and disqualification requirements for all College committees. There would not necessarily have to be a majority, or even any, professional members on the committees. In addition, the Minister would be able to require additional information about practitioners to be placed on the public register. The Minister could also expand the mandate of the patient relations program. Overall, the Minister will have a much larger say in the day-to-day operations of the regulatory bodies.

Bill 87 has only passed first reading and still has to go through the entire legislative process. This Bill may be viewed online: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=4477

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