Red Tape Reduction

"Red Tape"

Council is taking the opportunity of the government’s upcoming governance modernization consultation to provide suggestions to reduce red tape.

Council provided the strategies in the event the provincial government was willing to consider CPSO’s input as part of its broader modernization effort. The strategies intersect with or are restricted by the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) and Medicine Act. The two acts are being opened up in government’s effort towards governance modernization.

Below are CPSO’s recommendations:

1. Allow CPSO to make rules relating to its core functions

Enabling CPSO to utilize internal tools (e.g., by-law and policy) to address matters relating to its core functions would avoid the inefficient regulation approval process, and enable both government and the College to be more agile and responsive in serving the public interest.

Updating and maintaining regulations under the RHPA /Health Professions Procedural Code is onerous on government and health colleges. Many matters that fall within CPSO’s core regulatory mandate must be addressed through regulation change. This process is duplicative, time-consuming and inefficient.

CPSO recommends the College’s regulation-making powers under the code — including, but not limited to, registration, promotion and advertising, standards of practices, and quality assurance — be moved to either College by-law authority or another instrument at the discretion of Council.

2. Expand CPSO’s discretion to investigate complaints

CPSO requires greater discretion to manage complaints unrelated to patient care and professional conduct to focus regulatory actions on the most serious patient safety concerns.

By narrowly defining the definition of a complaint, matters that fall outside the definition are considered “reports” and the Registrar must exercise discretion as to whether the matters warrant investigation.

CPSO recommends changes are needed to the definition of complaint to direct resources to investigations that serve the public interest.

3. Streamline the handling of frivolous, vexatious complaints

The process by which the Inquiries Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) is required to give notice if it intends to take no action on the basis that a complaint is frivolous, vexatious, etc., is lengthy and requires at least two ICRC meetings.

CPSO proposes this process be simplified so that either the Registrar or Committee can give the initial notice (currently only the Committee can provide that notice). If neither party responds, the matter shall be at an end. If one or both parties respond, it would go back to the Committee to decide whether the matter is indeed frivolous or vexatious.

The right to appeal the Committee’s final decision to the Health Professionals Appeal and Review Board would remain.

4. Enable CPSO to share information with hospitals

Council is supporting a call for amendments to enable better information sharing with hospitals.

In most circumstances, CPSO is circumscribed in sharing information regarding an investigation with a doctor’s privileging hospital(s). The Public Hospitals Act is not listed as an act that is exempted from our confidentiality requirements.

This unnecessary barrier poses a threat to patient safety and can lead to duplicative investigations and result in delayed action on a systemic issue.

5. Clarify the application of the Mental Health Act in CPSO hearings

The Mental Health Act contains language that acts as a significant barrier to College discipline proceedings. The legislation has the potential to shield physicians working in a mental health facility from having their quality of care and conduct reviewed in the same way as physicians working in other settings.

Although the College can review the records in an investigation, it cannot proceed to a hearing without making separate applications to the Divisional Court or notifying each patient whose records were reviewed to gain their permission.

CPSO proposes the legislation be amended to clarify the Mental Health Act’s application to College proceedings.