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Prevention of Sexual Abuse

The College has zero-tolerance for sexual abuse of patients by a member. Sexual conduct is not acceptable even if it would otherwise be consensual. There is an inherent power imbalance in the patient-practitioner relationship in favour of the member. This power comes from the patient’s reliance on the member’s knowledge and skills for their health and should never be exploited. It is always the member’s responsibility to establish and maintain professional boundaries with patients.

The College is committed to preventing sexual abuse by defining the expectations of its members, effectively addressing patient complaints and providing support to patients. If you have questions, or think you have been sexually abused by a member, please call 416-238-7359 ext. 6000 for assistance.

Sexual abuse of a patient is defined as:

  • Sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the member and a patient;
  • Touching, of a sexual nature, of a patient by the member; and or
  • Behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the member towards the patient.

For the purposes of professional misconduct involving sexual abuse, an individual is considered to be a patient while receiving care and for a period of one year following the end of the patient-practitioner relationship. By this definition, members are not permitted to treat their spouses or anyone with which a sexual relationship exists, except in an emergency.

If you have been sexually abused by a member or know of someone who has, please contact the College at 416-238-7359 ext. 6000 or conduct@ctcmpao.on.ca. Our Professional Conduct department will provide assistance or help you file a complaint.

Can my information remain confidential?

While we respect your confidentiality and understand the difficulty in sharing this type of information, there are mandatory duties the College must meet. If you file a complaint, the College is required to notify the member of such and must disclose your name in order to allow them an opportunity to respond. However, if you do not file a complaint and serious concerns are raised, the College continues to have an obligation to investigate and protect the public.

What happens to a complaint or report?

Complaints and reports are reviewed by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) of the College. The ICRC will review all the information before it and determine whether an option available to it is sufficient to address the allegations. Serious concerns will be referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. More information about the complaints process can be found at Filing a Complaint.

Funding is maintained under the Patient Relations Program of the College to assist patients with therapy or counselling costs related to sexual abuse.

Who is eligible for funding?

A person is eligible for funding if it is alleged in a complaint or Registrar’s Report that the person was sexually abused by a member while the person was a patient of the member.

Can I choose any therapist or counsellor?

The Applicant is entitled to choose any Therapist or Counsellor, provided the Therapist/Counsellor:

  1. Does not have a family relationship with the Applicant.
  2. Has not at any time or in any jurisdiction been found guilty of professional misconduct of a sexual nature or been found civilly or criminally liable for an act of a similar nature.
  3. Does not have to be a regulated health professional subject to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. However, if the Applicant chooses a Therapist/Counsellor that is not regulated, that Therapist or Counsellor is not subject to professional discipline.

How much funding is available?

Funding is paid directly to the Therapist or Counsellor chosen by the patient and can only be used to pay for therapy or counselling related to the sexual abuse. Patients can access the funding for more than one therapist if they choose to do so.

The maximum amount of funding that may be provided to a person is equivalent to the amount that Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) would pay for 200 half hour sessions of individual out-patient psychotherapy with a psychiatrist.

The amount of funding provided will be reduced by any amount reimbursed by OHIP or a private insurer during the relevant time period. Patients are required to use other available sources of funding, such as private insurance, first.

To apply for funding, an applicant must complete and submit Form A to the Patient Relations Committee. This Committee is responsible for reviewing applications and determining eligibility for funding. This Form contains the information required to assess an Applicant’s eligibility. For assistance in completing this form, please call 416-238-7359 ext. 6000.

Completed forms should be mailed to:

  • Patient Relations Committee
  • 55 Commerce Valley Drive West, Suite 705
  • Thornhill ON L3T 7V9

Members have a statutory duty to file a report if they have reasonable grounds, obtained in the course of practising the profession, to believe that another regulated health professional of the same or a different college has sexually abused a patient.

In addition, a person who operates a facility where one or more regulated health professionals practise must file a report if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that a regulated health professional who practises at the facility has sexually abused a patient.

What goes into the report?

The report should be provided to the Registrar of the regulated health college of the member named in the report with the following information:

  • Name and information of the person filing the mandatory report;
  • Name of the regulated health professional who is the subject of the mandatory report;
  • An explanation of the alleged sexual abuse; and
  • The name of the patient, only if written consent has been obtained from the patient.

For more information or to file a report, please contact the Professional Conduct department at 416-238-7359 ext. 6000 or conduct@ctcmpao.on.ca.