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Bill 87, Protecting Patients Act, 2017

On May 30, 2017, the Ontario government passed the Protecting Patients Act, 2017.  This legislation affects the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and impacts the way our College regulates Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists in Ontario.

The entirety of the legislation and a summary of its impacts can be accessed here.

Some of the major changes to the RHPA include:

Mandatory revocation – The list of acts which would result in the mandatory revocation of a TCM practitioner and/or Acupuncturist’s certificate of registration has been expanded to include touching of a sexual nature of a patient’s genitals, anus, and buttocks.

Information in the College’s public register – The amendments expand the kind of information the College must include on the public register.  The College already posts most of what the RHPA requires. Some information, such as oral cautions or if a TCM practitioner and/or acupuncturist is required to complete education or other remedial activities, will now appear on the public register permanently.

Mandatory Interim Suspension – The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee and its panels may make an order for the interim suspension of a member’s certificate of registration at any time following receipt of a complaint or after the appointment of an investigator, instead of only when a matter is referred for discipline or incapacity proceedings.

Fines for Non-Reporting – Fines for non-reporting of sexual abuse of a patient are now up to $50,000 for an individual and up to $200,000 for a corporation, whether or not it is the first offence.

Definition of Patient – The definition of “patient” is expanded for sexual abuse purposes by setting out a minimum period of one year before a TCM practitioner and/or Acupuncturist can have a sexual relationship with such individuals.

Ministerial Powers – The Minister of Health now has the power to make regulations respecting the composition of College Committees and panels, thereby allowing the Minister to control the role of professional and public members on committees and panels.

These changes to the RHPA affect TCM practitioners, the public, and the way we operate as a College.  Some of our current by-laws, standards and policies may be inconsistent with the changes set out in the Protecting Patients Act.  Members and the public should be aware that the RHPA supersedes our College by-laws, standards and policies, and we will be amending these to ensure they’re consistent.  Our Council and Committees will meet over the next few months to discuss these changes and make decisions around implementation.   We will continue to update members and the public throughout this process.