Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 1 2017 - Page 9

FEATURE Targeting sexual abuse Bill 87 includes provisions to better protect patients photo: masterfile Bill 87 – the Protecting Patients Act – is the government’s response to the recommendations made by the Minister’s Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF). The wide-ranging Bill also includes the government’s response to transparency and the recommendations made by Hon. Stephen Goudge in his review of the physician complaint process. If passed, the Bill will amend the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and four other healthrelated Acts. Throughout its Sexual Abuse Initiative and its efforts to support the SATF, the College has expressed its commitment to protect patients from sexual abuse by physicians, to review and improve our processes and practices, and to ensure patients have the support and information they need. Over the past several years, Council has advanced a number of recommendations for legislative change to help strengthen the existing legislative framework, particularly as it pertains to protecting patients from sexual abuse. Council has also advocated for legislative change Bill 87 to ensure the effectiveness and integrity of College processes. Several legislative proposals advanced by the College to strengthen the provisions to protect patients from sexual abuse are incorporated in the Bill. Some of the most significant changes in the Bill relate to sexual abuse. The following are the sexual abuse provisions proposed: a) College Processes, Functions and Duties Bill 87 allows the Minister to develop regulations specifying how colleges are to perform its functions dealing with complaints, reports, discipline and incapacity matters when the matter involves misconduct of a sexual nature. The Minister would also be able to set out additional functions and duties for the colleges. These provisions appear to have been included to address a recommendation by the SATF to improve colleges’ complaints, investigations and discipline processes pertaining to sexual abuse and to ensure consistency in processes amongst the health colleges. The Minister has indicated that an expert advisor will be appointed to Issue 1, 2017 Dialogue 9