CMTO Wants to Hear from You: Professional Misconduct Regulation Update

Council recently approved proposed amendments to the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO)’s Professional Misconduct Regulation to be circulated to stakeholders for comment. Therefore, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario is seeking your feedback on these proposed amendments. CMTO will carefully consider your comments and suggestions, keeping in mind the College’s public interest mandate.

Professional misconduct is conduct that does not meet the minimum expectations of professional standards of integrity, client-centered care and professionalism, as well as other legal and ethical standards.

All regulated health Colleges in Ontario have a complaints and discipline process in place. Engaging in professional misconduct can lead to disciplinary proceedings that could result in serious orders (e.g. a fine, suspension or even revocation of a registrant’s Certificate of Registration). An overview of the complaints and discipline process is provided as additional information at the end of this update.

Although certain acts are identified as professional misconduct in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), health regulators in Ontario also have the ability to expand these provisions and identify additional acts that are specific to their profession.

CMTO’s current Professional Misconduct Regulation has been in effect since 1999 and defines parameters of professional practice, identifying specific behaviours that constitute misconduct and that could trigger disciplinary action by the College. Provisions cover a wide range of professional activities, from record keeping to billing practices, as well as unacceptable conduct such as abuse of a client and inappropriate use of titles.

Proposed changes to this Regulation aim to:

  • Clarify Registered Massage Therapists’ professional obligations.
  • Correct provisions that are no longer applicable, e.g. role of the (former) Complaints and Executive Committee.
  • Use consistent language that aligns with other existing legislation (in terms of consent, authorized representatives, protection of personal health information, etc.) and with the colleges that regulate other health professions in Ontario.
  • Reduce redundancy by eliminating provisions that are:
    • Repetitive of provisions within the existing regulations,
    • More specifically addressed by other laws, or
    • More appropriately addressed by the College’s by-laws.
  • Group similar provisions together.

With this consultation, you are invited to provide feedback on each of the proposed changes. The changes are summarized in the attached Table Outlining Proposed Changes and Rationales.

Overall, these proposed changes seek to improve transparency and accountability within the profession and to appropriately respond to change.

For questions or concerns about this survey, please email feedback@cmto.com.

We appreciate your feedback and thank you in advance for your time and commitment in completing this survey by July 16, 2019.

Overview of the Complaints and Discipline Process:

Any complaint or other concern about the conduct of a registrant is screened by a single committee, the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). The ICRC sits in panels of at least two professional members and one public member. It investigates the facts and then determines how a complaint or other concern should be dealt with. The ICRC can decide to take no action, take informal action (e.g. caution the registrant or direct the registrant to engage in some remediation activities), or refer the concern to a separate committee, the Discipline Committee, for a full hearing to determine what happened. The ICRC cannot make findings of wrongdoing or professional misconduct; only the Discipline Committee can do that.

The Professional Misconduct Regulation sets out the definition of professional misconduct that is applied first by the ICRC and then, if there is a referral, by the Discipline Committee. The Discipline Committee of the College uses this regulation in its hearings when deciding whether a registrant did anything wrong. The peer element to the complaints and discipline process ensures that language such as “inappropriate”, “unreasonably” or “excessive” is interpreted with an understanding of the professional context. For example, an excessive fee would be one that in all circumstances cannot be justified to a registrant’s peers. The public component to the process ensures that the public perspective is also heard.