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Protecting Patients Act, 2017 (Bill 87)
Q: How does the Protecting Patients Act, 2017 (Bill 87) affect me in my practice?
A: The Protecting Patients Act, 2017 (Bill 87) is an important piece of legislation that strengthens the protection of, and response to patient sexual abuse by health professionals. Bill 87 introduces significant changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), including:
- Definition of patient: Within the context of sexual abuse, an individual is considered to be a “patient” for a period of one year following the end of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship. This means that any sexual contact between a nurse and a patient or former patient within the one-year time frame is sexual abuse. It does not matter if the patient consented to the sexual acts.
- Additional information on the public register (Find a Nurse): The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) already posts on the public register most of what is required in Bill 87. Additional information to be posted on the public register will now include the self-reporting of all professional licenses and registrations in any jurisdiction.
- Funding eligibility for therapy and counselling for victims of sexual abuse: Patients can immediately apply for funding for therapy and counselling as soon as a complaint of sexual abuse is filed.
- An expanded list of sexual abuse acts and other conduct resulting in mandatory revocation: Prior to the amendments made by the Bill 87, the RHPA provided a list of sexual acts resulting in mandatory revocation of a member’s certificate of registration. This list has been expanded as a result of the new changes to Bill 87.
Q: I was told there were new mandatory self-reporting obligations. What are they?
A: Bill 87 now requires members to self-report to the College all other licences or registrations in any profession in any jurisdiction. For example, if you are a lawyer and are registered with the Law Society in British Columbia, you must now report this to the College. The law also applies to international registrations as well. This means if you have a Real Estate licence in Oregon, USA, you must also report this to the College. When a nurse provides this information to the College it will be made available to the public on our register, Find a Nurse.
Q: Why are these changes being made?
A: The Protecting Patients Act, 2017 (Bill 87) is an important piece of legislation which has a primary focus on strengthening the protection of, and response to, incidences of patient sexual abuse by regulated health care professionals. A key element of the Act is greater transparency related to health care providers’ professional practice. For example, other professional registrations a nurse may hold. Increased information about health care providers is made available to the public so that they are more informed about who they are receiving care from.
Q: What are my accountabilities?
A: Nurses registered in Ontario are accountable for self-reporting to the College all professional licences and registrations in any jurisdiction.
If you are registered as a nurse with any other College or regulatory body, you must report this information. Additionally, if you have a license or registration for any other profession, you must also report this information. This means that if you are registered to practise as a nurse in another province or country, or you are registered as another type of professional you must report this information to the College.
You can report this information at any time in Maintain Your Membership. The information provided will be posted on the public register, Find a Nurse.
Findings of professional misconduct or incompetence, or charges for an offence will be made available to the other regulatory bodies with which the member is registered.