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Revised Standards for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse in effect August 1, 2018

July 16, 2018
Over the past year there have been significant changes to the Regulated Health Professional Act, 1991 (RHPA) related to the sexual abuse of patients by regulated health professionals. As a result, the College has reviewed and revised the Standards for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse to ensure they are consistent with the legislation and clearly describe the College’s position and expectations with regards to sexual abuse.

Thank you to all the OTs who provided feedback during the public consultation on the Standards. Your comments were very helpful and led to substantive changes to the Standards.

Key changes to the Standards for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse include:

  • Emphasis on the College’s position of zero tolerance to sexual abuse of clients by OTs.
  • The definition of patient, for the purpose of sexual abuse, as defined in the new legislation and regulations.
  • Change to the minimum time that must elapse following the end of occupational therapy service delivery before an OT can consider entering into a personal relationship with a client.
  • Addition of a standard related to OTs’ obligation to make a mandatory report if they believe a regulated health professional has sexually abused a client.
  • Addition of a standard related to the treatment of spouses that reminds OTs that they are not permitted to provide occupational therapy to their spouse except in an emergency.
  • Removal of content related to the responsibilities of the College and Committees regarding sexual abuse.
  • Removal of references to funding for therapy and counselling, and, liability insurance as these topics are addressed through other College documents and processes.

Every OT is fully responsible to manage and maintain professional boundaries with clients at all times. Maintaining a professional relationship with a client is the only way an OT can remain objective when providing service and is necessary for the OT to ensure clients receive safe, effective, ethical care.

Check out the revised Standards to make sure you know the rules for the prevention of sexual abuse.