Legislative Roundup April 2021: New Oversight Authority for Personal Support Workers, New Regulated
by Simmie Palter
The Ontario government introduced Bill 283 on April 27th, the Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario‘s Health System Act 2021. The bill:
· creates an oversight body for quasi-regulation of personal support and other care workers
· regulates physician assistants
· regulates applied behaviour analysts (who treat individuals with autism)
· creates the new Covid-19 Vaccination Reporting Act.
Health and Supportive Care Providers Oversight Authority
The Act creates the oversight authority which will create and maintain a registry of personal support workers that may be expanded to other health care workers. Registration, however, is voluntary. One goal is to create consistency in education and practice standards and thereby, accountability for registrants. Registrants would be identifiable to members of the public by a visual symbol or mark. The authority would be able to resolve disputes and investigate registrants and would be subject to review by the Auditor-General.
Regulation of Physician Assistants and Applied Behaviour Analysts
Physician assistants will be regulated under the Medicine Act, by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and the title “physician assistant” will be protected. However physician assistants will be excluded from the definitions, used across many statutes, of “legally qualified medical practitioner” and “physician”.
Applied Behaviour Analysts will be regulated with their own scope of practice under a new Psychology and Applied Behaviour Analysis Act, 2021. While the framework for regulating the profession of psychology remains the same, the governing council of the College of Psychologists will be reconstituted to include equal representation for behaviour analysts.
The regulation of applied behaviour analysts was recommended by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) in early 2018, the advisory body to the Minister of Health regarding the regulation of health professions. That report was released to the public in June of 2019 and is available here https://www.hprac.org/en/applied-behaviour-analysis.asp.
The government is now consulting on the proposed dissolution of HPRAC, the rationale being that there are no appointees, no referrals from the Minister and future issues can be referred for third-party independent advice to ad hoc bodies to be set up as needed. Submission are being accepted until May 30, 2021. For more information see https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=37050&language=en
This consolidation of different professions within a single regulator, along with the proposed dissolution of the long-standing council, could be a foreshadowing of times to come. Recently, British Columbia accepted recommendations from its own steering committee arising from the Cayton Report (where Cayton investigated the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. and recommended a significant overhaul of health profession regulation). That report and the steering committee recommended reducing the number of health regulatory colleges from 20 to 6. B.C. has since passed legislation permitting the amalgamation of these colleges.
Covid Vaccination Reporting
The proposed law requires any person or entity that administers the Covid vaccine to disclose to the ministry the vaccine related data collected from individuals who consent to this disclosure. Such data includes name, date of birth, email address, sex, health card number and any information prescribed in the regulations. While the Act states that the ministry is required to use and disclose the information collected in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), it also indicates that despite PHIPA, the ministry may use and disclose data identified in a regulation under the Act in accordance with any such regulation. This Act takes effect upon Royal Assent but does not appear to be retroactive.
Bill 283 is available here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-283