Rethinking Our Role In Education

Posted On: November 7, 2022

Although the College of Naturopaths of Ontario has only been in existence since July 1, 2015, the work leading up to its formation and the support of the other health regulatory Colleges was formative to what we do and how we do it. Through this process, one of the limits that was developed is that the College should not be providing education to the profession it is regulating.

There are several reasons why we’ve been resisting the idea of providing education for the Registrants:

  • It opens a potential conflict in a complaint investigation or discipline case when the Registrant indicates that they are following the education we provide.
  • It may appear to the public that we’re working in the interests of the profession we are intending to regulate.
  • It opens us up to taxation issues when we charge Registrants for education and training.

More recently, new thinking has emerged to challenge some of this rationale:

  • How education is delivered differs from how it is received and implemented. Provided that our education is sound, the investigative or discipline issue remains how the education was implemented by the individual Registrant. Therefore, there may not be a potential for conflict, especially if we can document what was provided in the educational sessions.
  • The development of the College Performance Measurement Framework by the Ministry of Health has informed the Colleges and the public that there is an obligation on the part of the Colleges to ensure that Registrants are informed of the regulations and standards by which the profession is governed. By extension, the argument is that there is a strong public interest mandate in the College providing information to the profession about the regulations and standards as it increases compliance with the rules and enhances safe practice.
  • The tax issue is one that revolves around how we earn our revenues and how we spend them. This could be easily resolved by simply not charging for education sessions.

We have been steadily moving towards providing educational information to the profession and the public, first with the launch of the In Conversation With (ICW) series, and more recently with the launch of the Mentoring Education Program (MEP). While the MEP is still new and in its formative stage, ICW has certainly hit its stride with increases in registrations, attendance and the level of interaction in the sessions.

Over the next few months, the College Council will be engaging in strategic planning where this question may become top of mind. Should we be providing education to Registrants about the legislation, regulations, standards, and policies by which they are governed? Is this a role that we should be playing in support of ensuring safe, ethical and competent naturopathic care to Ontarians?

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