Dialogue Volume 12 Issue 3 2016 - Page 5

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear Colleagues: I photo: D.W. Dorken Joel Kirsh, MD College President We simply do not believe that the creation of a new agency will result in a better experience for patients or in better outcomes for the public. n my time as a member of Council, I have been impressed with the strength of the College’s commitment to doing all that can be done to support patients and protect them from sexual abuse. Thus, it was welcome news to all of us around the Council table to learn of the government of Ontario’s announcement to give priority to modernizing the RHPA to achieve this goal. Over the past two years, we have made substantial improvements to our processes and practices to ensure that individual patients and the broader public are protected. The work is ongoing. We have also asked for changes to the legislation that will strengthen penalties, make sexual misconduct investigations and prosecutions more effective and efficient, and better empower and support patients involved in the discipline process. If the government agrees to our proposed legislative changes – and given the details in the Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like we are indeed on the same page – it would make penal- ties for sexual abuse in Ontario the toughest in any jurisdiction. While we fully support, or support in principle many of the recommendations in the Ministry’s Sexual Abuse Task Force report, we do oppose a couple of recommendations. Most significantly, we oppose the report’s recommendation to remove from all health regulatory colleges the jurisdiction over all responses to sexual abuse of their members, and move to a new centralized agency/ independent body for public education, complaints investigations and disciplinary hearings. We believe that the College’s extensive experience, grounded in many years of investigating and holding hearings into physician sexual abuse, is too valuable to be abandoned. We have the clinical and investigative expertise that is critical for the best possible outcome for the public. Clinical expertise (understanding the context) helps to parse out the clinical and sexual abuse issues throughout the process. For example, it is absolutely essential to understand the clinical indicaIssue 3, 2016 Dialogue 5