The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way you visit some regulated health professionals, but business has continued for the organizations that oversee them.
Ontario’s 26 health regulatory colleges have continued to operate throughout the pandemic to ensure that regulated health professionals are competent, that new applicants are qualified to practice, and that concerns and complaints are investigated.
More than 400,000 regulated health professionals in Ontario such as opticians, midwives, speech-language pathologists, physiotherapists, and medical laboratory technologists are regulated by 26 health colleges. We are not schools or professional associations.
The colleges protect the public by:
- setting the requirements for becoming a regulated health professional in Ontario. Only qualified health professionals are registered to practise.
- setting and enforcing practice standards so that you and your family can receive safe, ethical and competent healthcare from qualified health professionals. Throughout the pandemic, colleges have been sharing advice and guidance from the Ministry of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health with their practitioners.
- administering quality assurance programs so that regulated health professionals keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date so they can provide safe, ethical, and competent care throughout their careers.
- providing public registers so that you can verify that your health professional is qualified to practise.
- helping when you have a concern and complaint about your health professional.
The colleges also regularly seek the views of the public, health professionals, and others to develop policies, guidelines and documents. These activities continue throughout the pandemic. The feedback received helps fulfill our mandate to protect the public.
When we seek feedback, sometimes called a consultation, we work to achieve transparent, informed and collaborative development of standards and policies that protect you and your loved ones. Your feedback helps us identify and assess the issues we should examine that concern the public.
Consultation topics may include issues like expanding scope of practice (e.g. allowing various professions to have the right to prescribe medications, ordering laboratory tests, or giving injections, etc.), allowing practitioners to offer telemedicine and many more topics.
The health colleges offer many methods to participate in their consultations—online forms, email, and letter mail—so that you can provide your opinions and comments in the most convenient way for you. You are always encouraged to contact the colleges with your questions or concerns, even when they aren’t holding consultations.
From the ontariohealthregulators.ca site, you can access the following services from each college:
- View online information about your healthcare professional.
- Find a regulated healthcare professional.
- Learn your rights as a health consumer.
- Learn how to file a complaint about your healthcare professional.