Public protection means that you can rest assured that if you schedule an appointment with a Regulated Health Professional you will obtain safe and effective health care.
The Ontario government protects your right to receive safe, competent, ethical and compassionate health care services for your health needs through the regulation of health professionals.
More information is now provided about the province’s health care professionals, specifically when it comes to their conduct and practice issues.
There are specific functions in place to protect you to receive safe and effective health care in Ontario, these are:
- Government legislation and regulations that Regulatory Colleges must follow
- Standards of practice, policies and guidelines as well as codes of ethics that must be carried out
- Registration requirements from those applying to the profession
- Quality Assurance Programs
- Public registrars so that you can check to see if the health care professional is qualified to practice
- A Complaints Process whereby the College will investigate your complaint or concern
- A continuous increase in transparency of College processes and decision-making, so that more information is available to you
It is only regulated health care professionals that have to answer to a regulatory body for the quality of the care they provide. This means protection for your life and health.
Unregulated care providers do not have the same mandatory measures to make sure their professionals have the proper training, education or standards. Your complaint or concern can only be dealt with by their employer or through the court system.
Under the Regulatory Bodies / Professional Associations section on our healthcare profiles you will find links that direct you to the appropriate Regulatory College and Professional Association websites of the health professional profile you are viewing. On these websites you will be able to find information on the latest Public Protection initiatives put on by the College.
The goal of “quality assurance” is to maintain a high quality of healthcare for individuals in Ontario. It is a commitment to the public by those within the various health disciplines, that they will work towards the objective of obtaining a degree of excellence in the services that they provide to every patient.
Ontarians’ have a right to safe and ethical healthcare. Quality assurance aims to improve the quality of the service delivered by practitioners at every level.
It ensures sure that:
- A health service meets specific and outlined requirements by the Regulated College
- The public has confidence that the requirements, rules and regulations are being followed
This involves a clear understanding of what is meant by “quality.” It also includes a credible and reliable mechanism for evaluating the care that is given.
It basically means doing those things necessary to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of those being served and doing those things right, every time.
By constantly measuring the effectiveness of the health professionals/organizations that provide treatments/services.
Evaluating the quality of healthcare includes:
- Assessing the quality of care
- Identifying problems or weaknesses in the delivery of care
- Designing actions that will overcome these deficiencies
- A follow-up audit to confirm that the corrective steps have been effective.
Colleges in Ontario have quality assurance programs that are established by Government requirements. These programs work to:
- Develop, establish and maintain programs and standards of practice to assure the quality of practice of the profession
- Develop, establish and maintain standards of knowledge and skill
- Develop programs to promote continuing evaluation, competence and improvement among the College members.
The end result of quality assurance programs is always to improve patient care.
Transparency means making sure that the processes and information related to a regulated profession/service in Ontario can be easily accessed by applicants, the public and those in the profession.
Most people don’t know the cost of their care until after they receive it. They are usually more concerned about getting the care that they need immediately, then think about the cost afterwards. They also don’t always realize that the the price and quality of a particular service can be different for each provider.
They don’t know until it is too late – that a higher price does not necessarily mean a higher quality of service.
The goal of transparency allows the healthcare consumer to have detailed information regarding the cost and quality of care before choosing where to receive healthcare and who will provide the care. It enables them to make smarter healthcare choices.
Providing more information to the public has benefits, it:
- Allows the public to have the ability to make more fully informed choices about their health plans, health care professionals and treatments.
- Enhances public confidence and/or safety.
- Increases accountability for Regulators.
The public needs to understand how and why the Regulator makes the decisions it does and be able to evaluate its performance.
Regulated colleges must not only protect the public but their work of protection must be actively seen by the public.
What is a Professional Association?
A voice for the Professional Association’s members, so the public can know who they are and what they do. They promote the profession.
- Associations are not supervised by a government authority.
- They are self-governing with a Board of Directors that is made up of members of the association.
- Most associations will promote the profession they represent.
- Membership in an association is voluntary.
- Members pay membership dues and volunteer for association tasks to carry out the needs of the association.
- Often, members of an association are also members of a Regulated College.
- Provides a voice to the general public, referring health professionals, the media, the insurance industry, the government and other organizations on a regular and consistent basis regarding their scope of practice and the benefits of their professional services.
- Up-to-date Information for its members: Readily available information and trends that will affect their members’ practice, ie; changes in billing practices.
- Actively markets their profession: Pushes the value of the profession and counters any negative press that may harm it through multimedia venues.
- Creates Opportunities: Builds on current research that allows doors to open for their profession. Builds alliances to enhance their credibility and position.
- Professional Development:
- Associations are constantly creating and providing professional development opportunities for their members. This may be done through other institutes, associations, conferences and workshops with industry leaders. – in order for their members to maintain their membership privileges.
- They support their members in the achievement of competent and ethical practices by providing and promoting ongoing professional development and training in ethical practices.
- They work to ensure fair compensation for their members and continuously elevate their professional image across Ontario.
Each Association has requirements that members must meet yearly to maintain their certification. Professional development credits, hours performing the services under their scope of practice etc..
In Ontario, Regulated Health Professions are governed under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, SO. 1991, c.18 Scroll down to “section 23(1) Register”
This Act introduced major changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. It’s an important piece of legislation that strengthens the protection of and response to patient sexual abuse by health professionals.
What is a Public Register?
A Public Register = Protection & Accountability for the Public
The main intention of a public register is to confirm to the public that a particular health professional is accepted as a regulated and licensed practitioner of good standing.
The Ontario government authorizes all Regulatory Colleges in Ontario to maintain a Public Register.
- Ontarians have the right to safe, ethical and competent care. One of the ways that a Regulatory College fulfills its mandate of public protection is by providing a Register to the public.
- The public’s choice of a health practitioner should go hand-in-hand with their ability to check a College Register for information on the practitioner’s good standing.
- Each Regulatory College keeps its own Public Register up-to-date with accurate and reliable information.
- The information on the Public Register contains specific information required by the “ACT” and each College’s bylaws. (The main purpose of the “ACT” is to protect the public by providing registration of health professionals, investigating into professional conduct and professional performance).
Only registered professionals may use the protected title of his/her College. A member using the protected title makes sure he/she provides safe, effective and quality care to his/her clients.
Only qualified professionals can become registered members of a specific Regulated College. This means they must:
- Meet the required education standards
- Pass the College’s Competency Exam
- Satisfy and obey all professional obligations which include the Standards of Practise and the Code of Ethics
- Continually prove that he/she is competent through ongoing reporting to the College
- It is a list of all the professional members that each Regulatory College manages and supervises.
- It includes profiles of every health practitioner, specific to that professional College, in Ontario, as well as every professional corporation, specific to that professional College.
- It is information about the health professional that is gathered when she/he first registers with a Regulatory College. This information may also be obtained when the member renews her/his licence, when the professional updates her/his information or when there is a result of a hearing.
- Information on a member or past member can change from time to time, it is therefore important to verify your health professional’s profile regularly.
You will find the following health professional information on a public register listing:
- Name of the Member, including any former names, if know by the College
- Previous name(s) – if known to the College
- Name of business address & business telephone number
- Name of every health profession corporation of which the member is a shareholder
- Licence/Registration number – Member’s current status of their licence & specialist status
- Education – Class of certificate of registration
- Terms, conditions and limitations that are in effect on each certificate of registration
- Professional Activities
- Notations (e.g. every caution, suspension, cancellation or revocation of a member’s certificate of registration)
- Every result of a disciplinary or incapacity proceeding
- A notation of every revocation or suspension of a certificate of registration
- Other information in accordance with the College’s bylaws
Each one of Health Locator's professional profiles has a View License – Public Register link that directs you to the appropriate Public Register so you can review the licensing information of the healthcare professional in question with ease. It’s never been easier to review licensing and regulatory information. Each Public Register is slightly different, so follow the prompts on the screen to access the healthcare professional’s information you wish to review.
What is a Regulatory College?
It is a set of rules established by the Government to protect the public from harm and to make sure that they get the highest possible standard of services. A regulation provides boundaries.
For many professions in Canada, these regulations (rules) are enforced by regulatory bodies or Colleges.
- They are not institutions for teaching.
- They are under the authority of the provincial government and are granted specific powers and responsibilities to make sure they are serving the public interest. They do this through regulations and standards that are necessary, to make sure the rules are being followed for safe, competent and ethical healthcare that is provided to every person that goes to their professional members.
In short, they exist to protect the public.
- Registration with the college is mandatory for a member to obtain a licence to practice.
- Set the requirements for becoming a member of the profession.
- Make sure that only qualified and licensed professionals use their title.
- Keep up-to-date a publicly available registry of its members.
- Determine their scope of practise (boundaries for conduct and procedures).
- Provide guidelines for their professional practice.
- Monitor members participation in their ongoing professional development.
- Make available a procedure for the public to address their complaints of a professional who may have acted in a unprofessional, incompetent or unethical way.
- Manage a disciplinary process for their professional practitioners who do not meet the established standards of professional practice.
Rules and regulations make sure you are treated in a fair manner and that you are protected from risk of harm. This is done through their “code of ethics” and “standards of practice”.
A regulated health professional is governed by a scope of practise which protects the public and they are overseen by their Regulatory College. The health regulators exist to support your right to competent, safe and ethical care from regulated health professionals. Why? Because every Ontarian has rights regarding his/her healthcare.
You can always find up-to-date information about your health professional on his/her listing here at Health Locator. (ie, if he/she is still an active member of his/her Regulatory College, what services he/she provides, what payment methods are accepted, etc.)
What I can expect from my health care professional?
- Your healthcare professional will clearly outline all fees or costs of treatments/services before commencing therapy.
- Your healthcare professional will communicate and explain clearly any proposed treatment plan or procedure.
- You will be considered an active partner in making decisions about your healthcare.
- You can accept or refuse any treatment or procedure.
- You can ask questions or express concerns.
- You will be given the best treatment for your condition.
- Your treatment will be given to you safely.
- You will be treated with respect and understanding.
- You will be given information about what to do if your health changes or gets worse.
- Your personal information will always be confidential.
- You can contact your healthcare professional’s Regulatory College to talk about a concern or to make a complaint.
Every College has a standard procedure for filing a complaint. This makes sure that all parties have access to the same complete information.
Usually on the homepage of the College, you will find a tab with the word “Public” on it or a tab entitled “Filing a Complaint”. Under these tabs you will see how to “File a Complaint”.
A complaint must be received by the Registrar in writing, recorded on audio tape or on video, or other medium. The complaint should include the name of the Health Practitioner, as well as the time, place, date(s) and details of the event(s).
There are 26 Regulatory Colleges in Ontario that regulate 29 distinct professions – Visit the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO) website for more details.