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Key Bylaw Changes

July 10, 2017
The College received 500 responses to the March to May 2017 consultation on proposed bylaw amendments. Some of the proposed revisions were in response to the public demand for greater transparency and accountability. Revisions were also consistent with government requirements for transparency and certain proposals in the Protecting Patients Act, 2017, formerly known as Bill 87.

Council carefully considered the reasons for the proposed amendments and the concerns expressed through the consultation. Significant changes were made to some of the language initially proposed and Council subsequently passed all bylaw amendments.

Other health regulatory Colleges in Ontario are implementing similar changes or have already done so.

All the materials Council considered are available online in the June 27, 2017 Council meeting package.

Changes Affecting OTs

Self-Reporting


The proposed amendment requiring OTs to report information relating to any mental or physical condition or disorder (which could include an impairment caused by alcohol and/or substance abuse) that might affect their ability to practise occupational therapy safely received a great deal of feedback.

The language of the amendment was revised to improve clarity and address concerns. The bylaws now require an OT to "report information of an event or circumstance that would provide reasonable grounds for the belief that the OT will not or is not able to practice occupational therapy in a safe and professional manner".

OTs will be asked this question at annual renewal and be required to update this information if a change occurs.

Watch for more information on this change, including details about the types of information OTs will be required to report in response to this question.

Annual Renewal Date Change

Prior to the bylaw change, OTs were required to renew by June 1. Beginning 2018, OTs will be required to renew their registration by May 31 of each year. The College will highlight this change for OTs in next year’s annual renewal materials.

Collection of Information About Charges


Commencing November 1, 2017, if charges are laid against an OT, the OT will be required to report details of those charges to the College. In deciding to approve this change, Council were mindful of a recent amendment to provincial legislation, which will require all regulated health professionals to self-report information about charges to their regulatory body at some point in the future1. Council determined that having this information available to the College will help it to prepare for the upcoming amendment.

Publication of Information About Charges

Also commencing November 1, 2017, the College will publish on Find an Occupational Therapist details about any criminal charges laid against an OT. The College will also publish information about non-criminal charges laid against an OT, provided the non-criminal charges are relevant to the OT’s suitability to practise occupational therapy. Council decided to adopt this change in the interest of helping the public make informed choices about their health care providers.

Watch for more information about this change, including details about:

  • how this information should be reported to the College,
  • the process employed by the Registrar when determining whether to publish details of non-criminal charges laid against an OT,
  • what factors are considered when assessing if the charge is relevant to the OT’s suitability to practise occupational therapy.

Publication of All Court Imposed Conditions or Restrictions


Up until June 27, 2017, the College published information (on the public register at Find an Occupational Therapist) about existing conditions or restrictions (such as bail conditions) imposed by courts or other lawful authorities against OTs, provided the conditions or restrictions related to, or otherwise impacted, the OT’s practice.

Council approved a change that removes this relevancy requirement and now requires the College to publish details of all existing conditions or restrictions imposed against OTs by a court or other lawful authority, unless the publication of this information would violate a publication ban known to the College. This change takes immediate effect.

Altered Publishing Requirements for Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee Outcomes

For complaints and reports received on or after January 1, 2017 that result in the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) issuing an undertaking, specified continuing education or remedial program (SCERP), and/or cautions-in-person, the College publishes information about the outcome on the public register at Find an Occupational Therapist. The bylaws that allowed the College to publish this information allowed for its removal from Find an Occupational Therapist after the passing of 24 months, provided certain other conditions were met. This requirement has now changed.

On May 30, 2017, the Protecting Patients Act, 2017, (formerly known as Bill 87), was passed. This new law requires ICRC outcomes to stay on the public register at Find an Occupational Therapist indefinitely. There is an exception for undertakings (agreements between an OT and the College) which will be removed from the public register once the agreement is complete. Note: information related to capacity concerns are generally not made public.

View the full text of the current bylaws online.

Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact Aoife Coghlan, Manager, Investigations & Resolutions, at acoghlan@coto.org or 1.800.890.6570/416.214.1177 x223.


1. [See subsections 85.6.4(1), (2), (3), and (4) of the Health Professions Procedural Code, which is schedule 2 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.]