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Shenda Tanchak
Registrar and CEO
College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Oct 16, 2017
    Just the latest in a dispiriting parade of powerful figures who use their position to exploit others sexually. And in case the shortening days aren’t making you gloomy enough, consider this: there were 22 incidents of sexual assault for every 1,000 Canadians aged 15 and older in 2014.**

    Your odds of being subject to unwanted sexual attention are unacceptable. These are terrible crimes. Anyone with authority might try to contain the damage in whatever way they could.   

    In our tiny corner of harm prevention—the corner of health regulation—the authority is the government. At the end of May, the government passed new legislation to address sexual abuse of patients by health professionals.

    As you likely already know, if you have a sexual relationship with a patient (and are found out), the College has no option but to revoke your Certificate of Registration. The new legislation expanded the list of activities that would lead to this outcome and is considering establishing a minimum of one year from the end of treatment before a health professional and a patient can begin dating.

    What does that mean to you? 

    If you saw someone once for an assessment, does that mean they were a patient? What if you treated a sprained ankle when volunteering at a marathon? These are hard questions to answer. The definition of “patient” is now being explored by regulators and government and we expect a regulation that will spell it out in more detail.

    Another element of the legislation makes changes to the funding for therapy available for sexual abuse survivors. There is no longer any requirement of proof of abuse to access this funding. Patients won’t have to wait for a Committee decision: they can receive funding as soon as it is brought forward to the College.  

    This doesn’t mean that the physiotherapist will automatically be found guilty of sexual abuse—funding awards cannot be considered as evidence that abuse occurred. To me, this is a good example of attempting to address harm without needing to be certain of the cause. It is another way that the profession can contribute to the public good.

    The other big change that occurred as a result of the legislation is what appears on the public record. This change goes beyond sexual abuse issues. The College will not be permitted to remove things like Cautions or a Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program from the Public Register. The government felt that patients should be entitled to find this information for the duration of the professional’s career.

    Any way that we can contribute to preventing sexual abuse or mitigating harm that it has caused is a good thing.    

    But the most important thing of all is to remember that it not permissible ever to have a sexual relationship with a patient.  

    The law does not recognize consent so it does not matter if the patient is agreeable. Just ask the physiotherapist who lost her license this summer after a brief consensual relationship with a patient. The College has no choice but to revoke your Certificate.

    And on a final note, we know that many of you have the reverse experience: patients make inappropriate advances, through words, glances, gestures or touch every day. You mustn’t hesitate to speak up and to record the interaction in the patient’s chart. If there is one message that we can take away from the whole Harvey Weinstein debacle it is that we help each other by calling out bad behaviour. This applies even if the bad actors are your patients.
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  • The Common Denominator: Billing, Registration, Professional Identity

    Sep 07, 2017
    Jamie G. Dockx, PT Student Clinical placement at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario   I have had the privilege of spending 5 weeks at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario for my final student placement. After 4 clinical placements, it was time to learn the ins and outs at the College. Learning about the […]
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  • What’s Your Ism?

    Aug 09, 2017
    How do your conscious or unconscious biases affect your ability to provide safe and effective care for patients? If you work in a private practice setting, think about your office for a minute. Do you have posters for promotion or décor?  Do you have gym equipment?  Is there any chance that these décor elements might […]
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  • In It Together

    Apr 25, 2017
    You run a clinic. Your receptionist is rude. Your physiotherapist assistant bills for services not provided. Your brand-new PT burns a patient with a heating pad. Whose responsibility is all this? If you guess that you’re on the hook for behavior by those you employ or supervise, you are right. You work for a clinic. […]
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  • Doing The Right Thing – Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy

    Feb 03, 2017
    Have you heard of convicted serial killer Harold Shipman? He was a UK doctor found guilty of killing 15 of his patients. After his conviction, a two-year inquiry spearheaded by the British government revealed that he had in fact killed an upward of 250 patients throughout a 23 year span. Shipman’s killing spree began to […]
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  • How to Make Yourself COMPLAINT-PROOF!

    Nov 21, 2016
    Do you ever wonder who gets complained about? Look around at your colleagues and play a little game of detective with yourself. One way to start is to find someone who is rude—in writing or in person. A very high percentage of our complaints stem from inappropriate lapses in what you might call “customer service” […]
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  • My Big Fat Deal of the Day

    Oct 21, 2016
    Don’t you love the deals you can get on Groupon or WagJag? Great restaurant discounts! Cheap Go-Cart rides! Spin classes! Paint Nites! And have you ever tried the miracle noodles? What about when health professionals use these on-line ‘deal of the day’ marketing sites? Can anything go wrong? Maybe yes, maybe no. The problem is, […]
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  • Backstage Pass: So, What’s the College Really Like?

    Sep 12, 2016
    Having spent the last five weeks at the College doing my final clinical placement, I was able to gain insight into processes that, as a physiotherapy student, most are not exposed to. Going in I was aware (as I’m sure my peers are) of things like the complaints process and practice assessments when I thought […]
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  • You’re 10 times better than the clinic next door and twice as good looking!

    Jul 25, 2016
    Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you will also have noticed that our Advertising Standard is up for review. Do you know that it is likely our most breached Standard? And I’m sure that you did not know that as soon as the new Standard is finalized, we will begin to actively […]
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  • Let’s Get Strategic

    May 25, 2016
    Whoever first said ‘time flies’ could have been talking about the strategic planning cycle. Four years ago—a month after I had started working at the College― Council met to develop a strategic plan. They set three goals that we’ve been working hard to achieve, goals to ensure that physiotherapy regulation in Ontario focussed on things […]
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