The Next Step in Combatting Sexual Abuse

The government is consulting on three separate regulations as part of its ongoing efforts to eradicate sexual abuse by health care practitioners. In the first, it includes as part of the definition, for the purpose of the sexual abuse provisions, of a patient a person with whom a practitioner has direct contact and where the person is billed, is the subject of a record entry by the practitioner, provides consent to treatment recommended by the practitioner, or is prescribed a drug by the practitioner. (Keep in mind that the Code itself, when the amendments are in force, will also include a definition of patient that does not “restrict the ordinary meaning of the term” and that will impose a one year “cooling off” period on sexual relationships with former patients.) Excluded from the definition of patient for the purposes of the sexual abuse provisions are persons with whom the practitioner already has a sexual relationship and who is treated only during an emergency.

The second regulation requires the practitioner to be revoked if found guilty of a sexual offence under the Criminal Code.

The third regulation requires the public register to provide information about practitioners: criminal charges and findings, conditions of release after arrest, and registration status and misconduct findings in other jurisdictions.

The consultation period on these regulations is remarkably brief and ends on March 22, 2018. That and the fact that the consultation is upon final legislative language suggests an intention to enact the regulations before the election this June.

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