All Regulated Health Professionals in Ontario Must Now Publicly Disclose Information
The Regulated Health Professions Act (“RHPA”) governs all regulated health professions in Ontario by establishing regulatory colleges, which provide oversight and guidance to each profession in service of the public interest. A new regulation to the RHPA (O.Reg. 261/18) came into force on May 1st, 2018, modifying the information required to be recorded in each professions’ public register per paragraph 19, subsection 23 (2) of the Health Professions Procedural Code (“HPPC”). The content of each register is governed by ss. 23(2) of the code. Paragraph 19 states that the register of each college must include information in accordance with regulations made under section 43(1) of the RHPA. O. Reg. 261/18 is such a regulation. The HPPC is deemed to be a part of each regulated health profession’s governing legislation.
What Kind of Information Must Now be Included?
- The fact that a member has been charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada (“CC“) or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”), and if the charge is outstanding, the facts and contents with respect to the charge;
- The fact that a member has been found guilty of a charge under the CC or the CDSA followed by a brief summary of the finding, the sentence and whether it is under appeal unless:
- The Parole Board of Canada has ordered a record suspension in respect of the conviction;
- A pardon in respect of the conviction has been obtained;
- The conviction has been overturned on appeal;
- The fact that a member has had any conditions of release imposed following a charge under the CC or the CDSA, or after a finding of guilt, and any appeal or subsequent variations of those conditions;
- The fact that a member has been the subject of a disciplinary finding or a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence by another regulatory or licensing body in any jurisdiction, including the fact of the finding, the date, the jurisdiction and the existence and status of any appeal.
The RHPA requires members to self-report any findings of guilt made against them under the CC or the CDSA and as well any findings made against the member for professional negligence or malpractice. Members are also obligated to update their regulatory college if there are changes to their status following their initial report.
The Registrar of each college has some prescribed discretion about whether to record such information under section 23 of the HPPC. They can do so where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure may lead to harm for an individual or where the information is outdated and no longer relevant to the member’s ability to practice. Reasonable grounds does not mean proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather that there is enough evidence to suggest that the conclusion reached is more likely than not.
When publication bans are imposed in criminal trials, it is most often done to protect the victim(s). In such cases, the HPPC recognizes that such bans need to be respected despite the mandatory reporting requirements. Registrars must make enquiries to determine the purpose and scope of the publication ban before deciding what can, or should, be posted.
How an Experienced Health Law Lawyer Can Help
Obviously, members of the health professions will not likely be happy with the posting of these findings. There are means within the HPPC to have them removed under certain conditions as set out above. These steps will require legal assistance to ensure they are achieved and meet the statutory requirements for exclusion or expulsion.
At Wise Health Law, we rely on our significant experience before discipline panels of various regulatory colleges to provide our clients with exceptional guidance and representation through the often-overwhelming discipline process. To find out more about how we can help, contact us online, or at 416-915-4234 for a consultation.