Professionalism when Interacting with the College

(August 27, 2015) As self-regulated health care professionals, members of the College are to demonstrate ethical conduct and integrity, whether in professional practice or their personal conduct. That is stated explicitly in the Standard of Practice for Core Competencies. The same standard says that the competent ND must understand and comply with the regulations governing the profession, as well as all rules of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

There is a simple way to describe how NDs should behave, be it with patients or in any dealings as an ND – with professionalism. This advisory is to remind members of that expectation regarding their contact with the College.

On July 1, 2015, the Naturopathy Act, 2007 was fully proclaimed and the College of Naturopaths of Ontario became the regulatory authority for the profession. Also at that time, the profession’s regulatory framework moved from the Drugless Practitioners Act to the Regulated Health Professions Act.

The College regulates the profession in the public interest. It is the College’s responsibility to ensure that Ontarians have access to safe, ethical, competent care from members of the profession. In so doing, the College performs four key functions:

  1. Ensure that individuals entering the practice of the profession meet the entry-to-practise requirements.
  2. Develop, monitor and maintain standards of practice of the profession, which are the rules by which naturopaths practice.
  3. Help naturopaths remain current in their competency through the Quality Assurance program, a program of continuing education, professional development and peer assessment.
  4. Hold naturopaths accountable for their conduct by receiving and investigating complaints or concerns surrounding their competence, capacity and compliance with the standards of practice of the profession.

To meet this mandate, the staff of the College will often be in contact with members of the profession. Most members of the profession are respectful in their interactions with the College and its staff. However, a small number of members have not been.

Therefore, all members are advised that all interactions with the College and its staff must remain professional, respectful and courteous. At no time is it acceptable to disparage, swear at, or be rude to staff, either by phone, in person or in any written form.

The Professional Misconduct Regulation, Ontario Regulation 17/14, further relates to the topic of this advisory. It identifies the conduct of a naturopath that would be considered unprofessional and includes the following provisions:

  • It would be professional misconduct to engage in conduct which, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional (section 46); and
  • It would be professional misconduct to engage in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members as conduct unbecoming a member of the profession (section 47).

Members should also be aware that it is professional misconduct to fail to reply appropriately and within 30 days to a written inquiry or request from the College (section 44).

The need to send an advisory of this nature is extremely concerning to the College. We understand that with the new regulatory framework, members have faced much change. That can cause strain and frustration. While the College is sympathetic, this is not and cannot be a rationale for denigrating, insulting or otherwise demeaning the staff at the College.

The staff can and will be understanding of your situations. However, they are obligated to apply the rules established in the legislation, regulations, policies and by-laws – which form the regulatory framework – in a manner that is fair, objective, transparent and impartial. The College and its staff strive to perform their roles in the most professional way possible; members of the College should and must act professionally in turn.