For health care regulators, transparency must be at the core of how we work. Being open in our decisions and operations is part of being accountable to the public we serve. Transparency instills confidence and trust among the people of Ontario.
The transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario has already taken a series of steps to support this objective, and remains committed to being as transparent as possible. Among our actions:
- In March 2014, the transitional Council adopted the Transparency Principles developed by the Advisory Group for Regulatory Excellence (a working group of health regulators). These principles provide a framework for future decisions by the Council of the College.
- All meetings of the transitional Council and future Council are, and will be, open to the public. The draft agendas are posted to the website to inform the public and members of the profession of the matters to be discussed. Meeting summaries are also posted to the College’s website for the public to review and download.
- A new section of our website is dedicated to our transparency initiatives. The Transparency Principles have been uploaded there. That section will include information (with links to more details elsewhere on the website) related to everything from Council decisions to meeting dates to requests for proposals.
- A copy of the Letter from the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care received on October 4, 2014 is made available. The transitional Council will prepare a report for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (for December 2014) on how we are making transparency a priority as part of our strategic plan and our day-to-day activities.
The transitional Council and future College will continue to take a lead role in strengthening measures that increase openness around processes and decision-making, and that make even more information available to Ontarians. Such transparency is vital to the self-regulation of health care professionals, and is in the best interests of the public.
The following principles are the framework for future decisions by regulatory colleges (health regulators as established under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991) related to making more information available to the public.
- The mandate of regulators is public protection and safety. The public needs access to appropriate information in order to trust that this system of self-regulation works effectively.
- Providing more information to the public has benefits, including improved patient choice and increased accountability for regulators.
- Any information provided should enhance the public’s ability to make decisions or hold the regulator accountable. This information needs to be relevant, credible and accurate.
- In order for information to be helpful to the public, it must be a) timely, easy to find and understand and b) include context and explanation.
- Certain regulatory processes intended to improve competence may lead to better outcomes for the public if they happen confidentially.
- Transparency discussions should balance the principles of public protection and accountability, with fairness and privacy.
- The greater the potential risk to the public, the more important transparency becomes.
- Information available from Colleges about members and processes should be similar.
In his letter of October 4, 2014, the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care indicated that a follow-up letter would be received from Suzanne McGurn, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Human Resources Strategy Division providing more details of what the health regulatory Colleges should consider with respect to transparency and what should be addressed in a report that the Minister asked be provided no later than December 1, 2014.
A copy of the transitional Council's report is available in the Resources