All regulatory health professionals are subject to mandatory reporting. The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 legislates mandatory reporting in the following circumstances:
- By employers for terminations (or resignations) for professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.
- By facility operators (including employers) on reasonable and probable grounds for sexual abuse of a patient, incompetence or incapacity.
- By regulated health professionals on reasonable grounds, obtained in the course of practice, that a member of a College has sexually abused a patient.
- By regulated health professionals on an incident of unsafe practice or unethical conduct by a healthcare provider if the matter is not reported to the employer.
- Self-report by regulated health professionals of findings of guilt of an offence (limited to findings under the Criminal Code, the Food and Drugs Act, the Controlled Substances Act and provincial offences that could result in jail time).
- Self-report by regulated health professionals of findings of professional negligence or malpractice made against the member.
Generally, the report must be filed within 30 days after the obligation to report arises unless the person who is required to file the report has reasonable grounds to believe that the member will continue to sexually abuse the patient or will sexually abuse other patients, or that the incompetence or the incapacity of the member is likely to expose a patient to harm or injury and there is urgent need for intervention, in which case the report must be filed forthwith.
The name of a patient who may have been sexually abused must not be included in a report unless the patient, or if the patient is incapable, the patient’s representative, consents in writing to the inclusion of the patient’s name.
Not every report will require the applicable regulatory college to commence a formal investigation and hold a hearing. For example, an investigation may not be necessary if the facility has imposed ongoing monitoring and restrictions on the regulated health professional’s practice, and these measures provide sufficient public protection.
Employers of regulated health professionals and operators of a long-term care homes, health clinics or other medical facilities must be aware of their mandatory reporting obligations under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. It is important to note that the Act gives immunity to those filing reports so that no action or other proceeding shall be instituted against a person for filing a report in good faith.