COMMITTEE REPORTS

PROTECTING THE PUBLIC AND ENSURING QUALITY CARE

Council has several statutory committees, which are mandated for all Colleges by the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). These committees are: Executive; Inquiries, Complaints and Reports; Discipline; Fitness to Practice; Quality Assurance; Registration; and, Patient Relations. Several years ago, Council established two special advisory committees to give focus to member-specific concerns arising from professional practice issues and the application of College standards. And so, on the following pages, in addition to reports from the committees listed above, you will also find reports from the practice advisory committees on Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Council also established a Finance Committee to review and evaluate risks facing the College, review and make recommendations on the annual budget, work with the external auditor and ensure systems are in place to comply with laws, regulations and standards.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Executive Committee monitors and coordinates the work of the committees of Council and ensures that Council has all the pertinent information that it requires prior to making decisions. The Committee sets the agenda for the quarterly meetings of the College Council and ensures that all Council meeting dates and materials are posted publicly on the College website. It also regularly reviews the results of Council meeting evaluation survey responses, and makes adjustments to meetings, as required.

The Committee recommends the composition of all committees for the upcoming cycle of Council meetings and develops the schedule of Council meeting dates.

The Committee deals extensively with matters concerning external relations involving the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA), Canadian Alliance of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Regulators (CAASPR) and the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO). The Committee develops program concepts for Council learning development enhancements, and has a particular focus on governance matters and transparency and accountability initiatives.

In 2016, the Committee developed a revised Governance Manual, which was approved by Council. The Committee also formally monitors, the implementation of the College's 3-year Strategic Plan, and advises Council of any concerns and plans to address them. As a result of a matter arising from the resolution of an internal personnel concern involving a member of staff and a member of Council, the Committee directed the Registrar to present for Council's approval a set of improved and updated Internal Workplace policies governing Council members and staff, along with a "Diversity Statement" and Council Member Code of Conduct.

The Committee completes a formal annual performance appraisal of the Registrar.

As mandated by the By-laws of Council, an election for membership on the Committee was held in June of 2016.

INQUIRIES, COMPLAINTS, AND REPORTS COMMITTEE

The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) is a committee created by law. Under the RHPA, the Committee is required to consider all complaints made to the College regarding members. The ICRC is also responsible for all investigations regarding members.

The ICRC acts as a screening committee, which means that the members of the Committee have the responsibility to conduct a preliminary review of the information collected to determine whether or not allegations of professional misconduct and/or incompetence warrant a referral to the Discipline Committee for a formal hearing. If a referral is not warranted to protect the public, the ICRC may make other decisions in accordance with the RHPA.

These options include:

  • ordering the member to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP);
  • referring the member to the Fitness to Practice Committee for incapacity proceedings;
  • issuing a written warning, advice or reminder;
  • requiring the member to appear before the ICRC to receive a caution in person;
  • taking any other action it considers appropriate that is not inconsistent with the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Act, 1991, the Code, the regulations or the by-laws of the College; and
  • taking no action.

FROM OCTOBER 1, 2015 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

NEW CASES 2015-2016

 

CARRIED FORWARD CASES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS TO 2015-2016

Changes to the ICRC

The ICRC implemented several initiatives between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 to improve the efficiency of the investigative process to better fulfill their public protection mandate.

These included:

  • increasing the number of ICRC panel meetings;
  • utilizing technology to facilitate a quicker method of investigative appointment; and
  • re-evaluating the intake process for complaints and mandatory reports.

The ICRC continues to work towards its commitment to complete all its investigations in a timely manner. The Committee must balance this commitment with the member's right to participate in the complaints and investigative process. As a result of the above initiatives, the ICRC has increased the number of cases it completed in the fiscal year as well as the number of cases completed within the statutory timelines.

The College also made changes to the Bylaws relating to the public register which impact ICRC decisions. The results of a complaint or report investigation (begun on or after January 1, 2016) will be posted on the public register when the ICRC directs a SCERP and/ or requires a member to appear before it to be cautioned. These changes were made in response to requests from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to all regulatory colleges to make more information available to the public about their health care providers.

ICRC Decisions Reviewed by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB)

The Health Professions Appeal and Review Board is an adjudicative body tasked with reviewing complaint decisions rendered by the ICRC. The reviews are conducted upon request of either party (the complainant or the member). While HPARB was established by the RHPA, it is a separate body from the College.

Decisions in the two matters reviewed by HPARB last year were confirmed in this year. Four matters were appealed to HPARB during this year, however, the complainant withdrew their request in one matter. The remaining three matters are expected to proceed before HPARB in the next year.

 

 

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE

The mandate of this statutory Committee is to hold hearings respecting allegations of incompetence and/or professional misconduct referred to it from the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).

The acts of professional misconduct are set out under the RHPA and the College's Professional Misconduct Regulation, O. Reg. 749/93. Incompetence is defined under section 52(1) in the the Code.

During October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016, the Discipline Committee received one referral of specified allegations regarding the conduct of Craig Thomas (AUD). No hearings took place during this time period.

Update: Brenda Berge (Audiologist)
Brenda Berge was found to have engaged in professional misconduct for using the doctor title by a panel of the Discipline Committee on March 31, 2015. Ms. Berge appealed the decision to the Ontario Divisional Court and the appeal was heard on June 8, 2016. Submissions were made by counsel for the member, by the Attorney General's Office as well as College counsel. The day was concluded by the panel of judges reserving judgement, to be provided in their written decision.

FITNESS TO PRACTISE COMMITTEE

The mandate of this Committee is to hold hearings on referrals of incapacity made by the ICRC. If a panel of this Committee finds a member is incapacitated, it will make an appropriate order.

"Incapacitated" is defined in the Code as follows:

Section 1 (1): … the member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that the member's certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the member no longer be permitted to practise.

No Fitness to Practise hearings were held in between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.

© 2018 CASLPO - Annual Report 2016

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