As regulated health professionals under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), NDs, and those who employ or work with NDs, have two mandatory obligations to report.
1) They must report certain information to the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (the College).
2) They must report patient privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
Mandatory Reporting is one of the ways in which the College’s mandate of protecting the public interest is achieved. It ensures that the College becomes aware of and can investigate incidents of possible professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of its Members.
By making reporting mandatory under certain circumstances, the RHPA and the accompanying Health Professions Procedural Code (HPPC) clarifies the duties of employers, facility operators and members, and ensures that the College receives all pertinent information about members who may not be practicing safely. The College’s aim is to investigate appropriate matters and ultimately protect the welfare and safety of the public. When reporting information as per the reporting obligations under the RHPA, an employer, facility operator or ND should not be concerned about getting a Member into trouble; rather, they are providing information that the College will act on accordingly in the public interest.
Who is required to report
There are three groups of individuals that the HPPC specifies are required to make mandatory reports in certain situations. These are:
- facility operators;
- employers; and
- Members of the College (naturopathic doctors).
What must be reported
Self-Reporting: A Member must report to the College when they are:
- Guilty of an offence;
- Have a finding of professional negligence or malpractice against them;
- Have a finding or proceeding in another jurisdiction.
- Conduct of Others: A Member must report to the relevant health regulatory College on another person when they have reason to believe the Member:
- May have committed sexual abuse of a patient;
- May be incompetent;
- May be incapacitated.
- Patient Privacy Breaches:
- Members have been legally required to report patient privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario as of October 1, 2017.
- They must also report certain privacy breaches to the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
- Members have also been required to start tracking patient privacy breaches as of January 1, 2018 and report annually to the Commissioner starting in 2019.
How and when to report
- Self-reporting: for all self-reporting obligations listed above, the member must report either upon application for registration with the College or, if the individual is already a member, within 30 days of the member receiving notice of the finding.
- Sexual abuse, incompetence and incapacity: these reports must be filed with the applicable College within 30 days of the finding, or immediately if the reporter has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the member is an ongoing threat to patients.
- Privacy breaches: must be reported via the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s online Privacy Breach Report Form. The report must be filed as soon as the Member, employer or operator is aware of a breach having occurred.
Failure to report
It is considered professional misconduct if a member fails to comply with any of the above applicable reporting obligations. If the College becomes aware of such a failure, the College can investigate the matter. Failure to make a mandatory report as a member, employer or facility operator is an offence as outlined in section 93 of the Health Professions Procedural Code, punishable with a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence.
Any facility operator, employer or member who makes a report in good faith under the requirements of the HPPC will have immunity against any action or proceeding, even if the report is subsequently deemed to be unfounded.
Click here for the College’s Mandatory Reporting Guideline or visit the Resources section of the website.
Click here for details about situations that must be reported as privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.