At its December 7, 2015 meeting, Council passed the proposed changes (with some minor amendments) to By-Law No. 8 – The Register and Registrant Information, to become effective January 1, 2016.
Prior to passing the By-Law, the draft amendments were shared for consultation: Two hundred stakeholders completed the by-law feedback survey and 36 submitted additional comments. Sixty-five percent of stakeholders who completed the survey were in favour of the proposed amendments.
The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) would like to thank everyone who completed the survey.
Council gave serious consideration to the comments received from registrants and other stakeholders. After reviewing these comments, Council directed that the comments/concerns be summarized and addressed.
First, it’s worth reiterating that the purpose of posting registrant information on the public register is to help members of the public and potential clients make informed decisions when selecting a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) to provide care. This is part of our response to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s directive to Ontario’s health regulatory Colleges to be more transparent. The information that will be made available on CMTO’s public register is consistent with what other health regulatory Colleges in the province are posting about their registrants.
Posting of Prior Legal Names
Some stakeholder comments related to concerns about posting previous legal names on the public register. As a result, Council amended this section of the by-laws to clarify that it refers to only those former legal names of the registrant under which the registrant has practised as a Registered Massage Therapist. The reason this information is needed is to ensure that the public or other stakeholders, e.g. insurance companies, can easily identify the RMT who provided the treatment in question – even in cases where the person’s name has changed since the treatment was rendered.
The College recognizes that this may be a sensitive issue for some registrants. In cases where a registrant feels that the disclosure of their former name(s) may jeopardize their safety, they have an opportunity to make a submission to the Office of the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org) as to why their former name(s) should not be included on the public register. The Registrar has the authority to withhold information from the public register in certain limited circumstances.
Posting Criminal Finding, Charges and Bail Conditions
Some stakeholders were concerned that criminal charges and bail conditions would be posted on the public register, and that this would be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). CMTO will not be posting criminal charges on the public register. However, criminal findings (i.e., where a criminal court has found the registrant guilty of a criminal offence) and bail conditions will be posted. Council felt that, if the charges warranted bail conditions (which are not always imposed when criminal charges are laid) and/or the charge resulted in a guilty finding, these circumstances were serious enough that the public and other stakeholders had a right to know of the finding or the conditions. This is not contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). In fact, this information is publicly available through the court system, but is difficult for the average person to find.
CMTO’s current practice is to negotiate an Undertaking with a registrant who has been charged with a criminal offence and is subject to bail conditions. Part of this Undertaking is an agreement to post the bail conditions on the CMTO website. So the addition of this requirement in the by-laws, detailed above, will serve to strengthen what is already CMTO’s current practice.
Please note: Only criminal findings will be posted on the public register. Other, non-criminal findings, such as minor traffic offences, will not be posted on the public register.
It’s also important to note that the information about criminal findings will be removed from the public register if the finding and penalty are overturned, or if the registrant is pardoned, unless the registrant wishes the summary and fact of successful appeal to be maintained on the register.
Outcomes of Inquiries Complaints and Report Committee (ICRC)
Certain outcomes from ICRC– i.e., cautions, Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Programs (SCERPs) and referrals to Discipline and Fitness to Practise – will be posted on the public register. Registrants will only receive cautions and SCERPS when their conduct has been assessed as moderate or high risk, not low risk.
Information is not posted on the register prior to the completion of the investigation. For example, the fact that there is an ongoing investigation is not posted on the public register, although the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) allows the College to confirm that an investigation is ongoing if there is a compelling public interest in the disclosure of that information.
The length of time that information about cautions and SCERPs remains on the register is consistent with other health professions. For cautions, this is two years for written cautions and three years for oral cautions. For SCERPs, it is two years.
Some registrants were concerned that when a registrant has been referred to Discipline or Fitness to Practise to a hearing, the allegations against them would be posted on the public register. However, for discipline proceedings, this is already mandated by the RHPA and already occurs.
Timing of Changes to the Public Register
With the exception of the information relating to ICRC and electoral districts, the additional registrant information outlined in the by-law will be posted on the public register effective January 1, 2016. The information will not be retroactive. For example, if a registrant was found guilty of an offence prior to January 1, 2016, this will not be posted on the website, although this is information that will have been disclosed to CMTO through the application and renewal process.
The information about outcomes from the ICRC will be posted on the public register effective March 1, 2016 and will not be retroactive. To accommodate the upcoming Council elections, electoral districts have already been posted on the public register.
Publication of Email Addresses
Please note that only business, not personal, email addresses will be posted on the public register. Stakeholders also raised some concerns that emails sent to a registrant may be read by persons other than the registrant. Registrants should ensure that their clients are aware that email is not a confidential way to communicate – if, indeed, other persons have access to the registrant’s email. Registrants must also be sure to obtain their clients’ consent to correspond via email, if the registrant wishes to correspond with clients via email.
To review the material previously forwarded to stakeholders for comment, please refer to http://www.cmto.com//proposed-law-changes. The updated version of By-law No. 8 will be posted to the website in January.