Patients and clients have a unique relationship with their health professionals, one that is based on trust. A power imbalance exists because we rely on the unique knowledge, skill and judgment of these practitioners, and we may not feel comfortable asking questions or fully understand the dynamics of the professional relationship.
In Ontario, several health professionals, such as dentists, physiotherapists, midwives, registered psychotherapists, and others are regulated by 26 organizations called “colleges.” The colleges are not schools or associations that represent the interests of healthcare professionals. These colleges protect the public by:
- setting the requirements for becoming a regulated health professional in Ontario, permitting only those qualified to practise.
- setting and enforcing practice standards so that you and your family receive safe, ethical, and competent healthcare.
- requiring regulated health professionals to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date so they can provide safe, ethical, and competent care throughout their careers.
When you see a regulated health professional in Ontario, either in-person or virtually, you can expect that:
- They will clearly explain any proposed treatment or procedure.
- They will indicate any applicable fees or costs for services.
- You can accept or refuse any treatment or procedure.
- You can ask questions and express concerns.
- You will be treated as a partner in making decisions about your healthcare.
- You will be given the right treatment for your condition.
- Your treatment will be given safely. During the pandemic they will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep you both safe.
- You will be treated with respect and understanding.
- You will have information about what to do if your health changes.
- Your personal information will remain confidential.
If you have a concern or complaint about the care you received from a regulated health professional, the colleges can help. Each college also has a listing of registered practitioners on their website, called a public register, that gives you the latest information about a practitioner’s registration.
Ontario’s health regulators exist to support your right to competent, safe and ethical care from regulated health professionals. To learn more, you can always visit ontariohealthregulators.ca