As a part of our mandate, the College develops or revises regulations, policies, standards and practice guidelines necessary to regulate the profession.
This process often includes an amount of time where we consult with the public, members of the profession, other health regulatory colleges, professional associations and educators.
The College carefully considers all feedback. Your input helps us understand the effectiveness and impact of proposed changes, and helps ensure decisions are being made in the public interest
Consultation on Proposed Bylaw Amendments
At its January 26, 2017 meeting, Council approved for circulation proposed amendments to the College bylaws.
If approved, these amendments would have a direct impact on Ontario’s occupational therapists (OTs).
Overview of Amendments
The proposed amendments contain fundamental changes such as:
- Expanding information OTs are required to provide to the College to include:
- information about any mental or physical condition or disorder which might affect their ability to practise occupational therapy safely
- information about any existing charges laid against them for any offence
- Making additional information publicly available about OTs, such as:
- information about existing charges for all criminal offences or other offences, such as provincial offences, if relevant to their suitability to practice
- Deleting the removal provisions relating to the following Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee decision outcomes:
- Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Programs (SCERPs)
- Revising the professional liability insurance requirements
- Adjusting the College’s registration year and fee structure
At the January 26, 2017 meeting, Council also approved bylaw amendments that were the result of a scheduled bylaw review. Those amendments do not require circulation and have been incorporated into the current bylaws that are posted on the website.
Proposed Amendments & Rationale
All proposed amendments and the rationale for the changes are available in PDF format in English
Read more about proposed bylaw amendments to Part 16 – Information to be Provided by Registrants
Clarification of Proposed Bylaw Amendments
Part 16 Information to be Provided by Registrants
On March 21, 2017, the College launched a consultation on proposed bylaw amendments. We have had a tremendous response to the consultation and thank all who have taken the time to share their thoughts.
We have received many questions and comments regarding the proposed amendment to Part 16 - Information to Be Provided by Registrants and realize we need to provide clarification about the proposed changes, which would:
allow the College to expressly ask for information about mental or physical conditions or disorders which may affect their ability to practise occupational therapy safely.
require OTs to report any change to this information within 30 days of the occurrence.
The intention of this proposed amendment is not to require OTs to report information relating to their health status that has no impact on their ability to practise safely.
The intention of this amendment is to help the College fulfill its public protection mandate. The onus to ensure that OTs put appropriate safeguards in place respecting their practice should they have a mental or physical condition or disorder that may affect their ability to practise safely has been, and will remain, on every OT.
As regulated health professionals, OTs have self-reporting obligations. Employers and colleagues of OTs have mandatory reporting obligations. These are all requirements under the College’s governing legislation (the RHPA and Occupational Therapy Act, 1991). When an OT self-reports with respect to health issues, invariably such self-report demonstrates that the OT has insight into the condition. In the vast majority of cases, the OT has already fulfilled their professional responsibility by putting in place necessary safeguards and therefore, regulatory action is not required. However, when the information is received from a third-party source (likely because it has started to impact the OT’s practice), the College is often required to take some action to ensure the public is protected.
Requesting information from OTs is not intended to be punitive. Any information obtained by the College respecting an OT’s health status is confidential and will remain so until there is a referral made to the Fitness to Practise Committee. If the Fitness to Practise Committee, after a hearing, makes a finding of incapacity and subsequently imposes an Order (usually terms, conditions and limitations requiring treatment and monitoring), then minimal information relating to the terms, conditions and limitations will become publicly available on that OT’s profile in the public register. It is worth noting that in the history of the College, there has never been a Fitness to Practise hearing.
The primary concern of the College is the impact a particular physical or mental condition or disorder has on the OT’s ability to safely practise occupational therapy. We understand that the same condition or disorder can affect one person differently than another. If an applicant or OT provides information to the College that they have a physical or mental condition or disorder which may affect their ability to practise safely, but at the same time provides information to demonstrate they are managing their health appropriately (such that it is not or will not affect client safety and their ability to provide competent care), then there is unlikely to be any regulatory impact. When dealing with this type of information, the College always endeavours to be respectful and fair.
The College’s role is different than the role of an employer and under the RHPA, the College has the right to seek and obtain information about registrants’ health conditions that goes beyond what an employer is entitled to know. The reason for this is because of the public protection mandate on the College. A regulator’s authority and obligations to protect the public under the RHPA also takes precedence over the confidentiality of health records.
Role of College
The College regulates the practice of occupational therapy and in carrying out that function, it has a duty to serve and protect the public interest. One of the ways we fulfil this mandate is by assessing all applicants to ensure they meet registration requirements. Once registered with us, we have an ongoing duty to ensure the public interest is protected and that OTs continue to meet the College’s standards and expectations.
The College’s governing legislation provides that if the Registrar believes an OT may be “incapacitated” then the Registrar must make appropriate inquiries the results of which must be reported to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). The legislation defines “incapacitated” as follows:
“incapacitated” means, in relation to a member, that the member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that the member’s certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the member no longer be permitted to practise
You can learn more about College processes, Committees and referrals at https://www.coto.org/quality-practice/professional-conduct.
Or download our clarification document about proposed bylaw amendments to Part 16 – Information to be Provided by Registrants
Your input is important.
Please review the proposed amendments to parts 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 of the College bylaws in English or French and tell us what you think. We are interested in hearing from everyone: OTs, the public, other health professionals, stakeholders. All opinions are welcome.
There are 4 ways to submit your comments:
Mail: Tim Mbugua, Policy Analyst
College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
20 Bay Street, Suite 900, P.O Box 78
Toronto, ON M5J 2N8
The deadline for submission of the feedback is midnight on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Following the consultation phase, the Executive Committee will review and consider all submissions and provide Council with a feedback summary and any resulting amendments to the proposed bylaws. We anticipate presenting the proposed amendments to Council for final review and/or approval at the College Council Meeting on June 27, 2017.
An update will be posted at www.coto.org
following the meeting.
We welcome feedback on this and future consultations. If you would like to join our mailing list to receive information directly from the College, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Standards for Consent Consultation
Our consultation on the revised Standards for Consent closed August 12, 2016. Revisions to the Standards were intended to address the frequently asked questions and clarify expectations for occupational therapy practice. Revised Standards for Consent are in effect as of March 1, 2017.
On March 31, 2016 Council passed the proposed bylaw amendments to publish more information on the public register under Find an Occupational Therapist
. The revised bylaws will be effective as of January 1, 2017. Thank you for your feedback and contributions on this important initiative. You can access the amended bylaw text in PDF format in English
In 2015, the College consulted with the public, registrants and other stakeholders about further steps to improve transparency and help people make informed decisions about choosing a health professional. Read more about these initiatives on the College’s transparency