Health care is often about asking good questions and gathering important information. Health professionals such as doctors, nurses and dentists gather certain details about their patients/clients to help provide them with the best care possible. But you can access details about them, too. This information is readily available online through Ontario’s health regulatory colleges and can help inform your decisions around which provider is the best for you and your family.
Health regulatory colleges aren’t schools. They are regulators that license and set the requirements for anyone wishing to practise a certain profession. They also run programs to help ensure professionals maintain their knowledge and skills, and hold these professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.
In Ontario there are 26 colleges that together oversee more than 400,000 regulated health professionals in the province. These colleges maintain profiles of all practitioners on a public register on their website. These online lists are sometimes called “find a …” or “search for …”. Here are four things you can find about a regulated health professional on a public register:
- Confirm if they’re permitted to practice. Registration means the professional has met and upholds the qualifications to practise in Ontario. Only people registered with a college can legally use titles like “doctor”, “nurse”, or “physiotherapist”. If someone isn’t listed, they might have practised elsewhere but aren’t registered in Ontario, or their registration in the province may have lapsed. In either case, they can’t practise in Ontario. In rare cases, there are imposters – people holding themselves up as a regulated professional without the required qualifications.
- Get basic contact information and look up professional credentials, special designations and languages spoken.
- Discover if there are any restrictions around how a health professional can practise (called “terms, conditions or limitations”), due to a disciplinary hearing or other reason.
- Learn about upcoming disciplinary proceedings or outcomes of a hearing.
If you can’t find the regulated health professional you’re looking for, contact their regulatory health college. You can find the full list of regulated health professions at www.ontariohealthregulators.ca. The ontariohealthregulators.ca website represents the 26 health regulatory colleges which collectively oversee more than 400,000 healthcare professionals in Ontario. Learn. Find. Get help. Be heard.