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Q&As: Self-reporting criminal charges to the College
The following questions and answers provide clarification on nurses' self-reporting obligations when they are charged with an offence.
Is the obligation for nurses to self-report charges new?
No, since January 1, 2013, nurses have been required to self-report charges against them to the College. This obligation was part of changes made to College regulations.
Should nurses inform the College about every kind of charge?
Nurses must self-report the following charges:
- An offence under the Criminal Code of Canada
- An offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
- Other offences that could be relevant to practice. For example, if a nurse is charged with a provincial offence under the Personal Health Information Protection Act for inappropriately accessing personal health information.
Do nurses have to tell the College if they get a speeding or parking ticket?
Speeding or parking tickets do not have to be reported to the College. As accountable professionals, nurses should use their judgment and knowledge of the nursing profession and the practice standards when considering whether a charge may be relevant to suitability to practice nursing and therefore should be reported.
Does the College investigate every self-report?
No, the College does not investigate every self-report that is received. The College’s Executive Director reviews the self-report, determines what level of risk may be posed to the public, and makes a decision about an appropriate response. There are many options available to the Executive Director that do not involve an investigation. For example, a nurse may be advised to review practice standards and in some cases, may be asked to meet with a representative from the College’s professional conduct department to discuss the matter.
Does the College learn about charges only through self-reporting?
No, the College receives information from a wide variety of sources. Some of these sources include employers, the police, the public, and the news media.
What happens if a nurse does not self-report a charge?
A nurse who does not meet his or her self-reporting obligation could be investigated and may face professional conduct allegations.
Will the College make the charges public?
Charges that are assessed as being relevant to a nurse’s suitability to practise will be posted on the nurse’s profile on Find a Nurse, the College’s public register.
Visit the Transparency section of the website for more information.
Do other professionals have a similar obligation to self-report to their governing bodies?
Yes, nurses are just one group of health professionals who have mandatory self-reporting obligations. Physicians, for example, must also report charges to their regulator, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
For assistance or more information on the self-reporting process, email the College at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416 928-0900 ext. 6988 (toll-free in Ontario 1 800 387-5526).