For the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, a big part of being accountable to the public is transparency.
Transparency means being open about our processes and the reasons behind them, and providing as much information as possible about the professionals we regulate. Transparency helps people understand and be confident in our work and they can use that understanding to make informed decisions about their health care.
In 2014, the College’s Council adopted eight principles of transparency, posted below.
The College’s 2014-2017 Strategic Framework also recognizes the need for open communication and transparency in all that we do.
Helping Inform Choices
We provide information about OTs through an online list (also called a public register) at Find an Occupational Therapist
In 2015 and 2016, following three consultations with the public, OTs and other stakeholders, the College’s Council approved proposed amendments to the College’s bylaws that allow for additional information about OTs to be published
on Find an Occupational Therapist
Information now available includes a summary of any relevant bail conditions, criminal convictions, and cautions, undertakings, or specified continuing education or remedial programs issued by the College Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee
. For a full list of information that is (and is not) publicly available about OTs see How to Find an Occupational Therapist
The College continues to take steps to enhance transparency, and make information easily available to the public. Being open and honest about how we work is important
to the self-regulation of health care professionals, and in the best interests of the people we serve.
Bill 87, Protecting Patients Act, 2017
In December 2016, the Ontario government introduced Bill 87, which proposes significant changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991
. Bill 87 includes three main policy initiatives related to the public protection role of the College:
- Help improve the response of regulated health Colleges to sexual abuse complaints and mandatory reports
- Increase transparency in the operations of regulated health Colleges
- Improve the complaints and discipline processes of regulated health Colleges
The College is well placed to respond to these changes and has already implemented most of the proposed amendments which will require additional information about OTs to be placed on the College’s public register at Find an Occupational Therapist. Bill 87 is an important piece of legislation which contains amendments that will strengthen the existing protections in place for Ontario patients.
The College supports the overall objectives and intent of the bill. The College, together with its Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario partners has made submissions on this bill highlighting areas where Bill 87 could go further to protect the public and support the effectiveness of College complaints, investigations, and discipline processes.
Read the Bill 87 submission from the Federation of Health Regulatory College of Ontario.
Council Meetings Materials
Council meetings are open to the public. To arrange to attend a meeting, please contact Andjelina Stanier, Executive Assistant - Executive Office
At their October 29, 2015 meeting, Council approved publication of Council agendas, highlights and detailed minutes on the College website. At their January 26, 2017 meeting, Council took another step toward becoming more transparent and approved publication of Council meeting packages on the College website in advance of their meetings. View the meeting schedule and latest meeting information under Council Meeting Materials
Background to Transparency Initiative
In October 2014, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care asked each health regulatory College to describe how its information is and will be provided to the public. That request and our response are posted below:
The following Transparency Principles were developed by the Advisory Group for Regulatory Excellence, a working group of health regulators. These principles provide a framework for future decisions by the College.
- The mandate of regulators is public protection and safety. The public needs access to appropriate information in order to trust that this system of self-regulation works effectively.
- Providing more information to the public has benefits, including improved patient choice and increased accountability for regulators.
- Any information provided should enhance the public’s ability to make decisions or hold the regulator accountable. This information needs to be relevant, credible and accurate.
- In order for information to be helpful to the public, it must:
- be timely
- easy to find and understand; and
- include context and explanation.
- Certain regulatory processes intended to improve competence may lead to better outcomes for the public if they happen confidentially.
- Transparency discussions should balance the principles of public protection and accountability, with fairness and privacy.
- The greater the potential risk to the public, the more important transparency becomes.
- Information available from Colleges about members and processes should be similar.