Many of Ontario’s regulated health professionals have been allowed to resume practising after months of having to reduce or suspend their services to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This change means that you can now see a dentist, audiologist, chiropractor, or massage therapist, among other professionals, for more than just emergency care.
You may feel nervous about booking an appointment during the pandemic and you may have questions about how regulated health professionals are keeping you safe during this time.
As a condition to re-open, Ontario’s more than 400,000 regulated health professionals must follow guidance developed by their regulatory college and Ontario’s Ministry of Health. The colleges are not schools. They are regulatory bodies and they set and enforce standards to keep you and your family safe. Examples of new guidance include stricter cleaning and disinfecting measures, and wearing personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves and masks) to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Here are three things you can do before booking an appointment:
1. View a listing of Ontario’s regulated health professions. From this link, you can access each regulatory college’s website and their guidance for safe return to in-person care/service.
2. Call your practitioner’s office to see what measures they’ve put in place to keep you safe. Ask what’s expected of you before, during and after an appointment. Guidance may differ depending on the profession. You may need to be screened for symptoms when you book your appointment, and again when you arrive. You may be asked to wear a mask (cloth or other) to your appointment and to come alone, if possible.
3. Continue to follow public health advice and recommendations, such as:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water
- Staying home if you’re feeling sick
- Practising physical distancing
Some individual practitioners may make the choice not to return to practice at this time, or may limit the number of appointments they offer. If you are in need of an appointment and want to find another practitioner, you can visit www.ontariohealthregulators.ca to access each college’s listing of registered practitioners. This listing is called a public register, and it provides you with contact information and registration status for practitioners.
As Ontario re-opens, you can be assured that Ontario’s health regulators are helping to keep you and your loved ones safe.