Effective 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020, the Ontario government ordered the closure of “non-essential” workplaces. The list of “essential” workplaces included “health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists”.
The College of Chiropractors of Ontario (“CCO”) interprets this list as including chiropractors, and we agree.
So the question becomes – what is “emergency care”?
The CCO’s website has helpful information and ongoing updates as to the CCO’s interpretation of what constitutes “emergency care”. We expect that, within reason, the province would defer to the CCO in interpreting “emergency care” as it relates to chiropractic practice.
Currently, the CCO has defined “emergency care” as including the following:
The CCO also notes generally that the member needs to weigh the value of treatment against the risk when deciding to treat a patient.
In terms of risk assessment, you need to consider the risks of treatment not only to the patient and yourself, but also to other patients, staff and - at this time of collective physical distancing - the public at large.
Before deciding to treat, in addition to determining whether the proposed treatment constitutes “emergency care”, perform active screening of the patient for COVID-19 risk factors in advance and over the phone before scheduling the in-person treatment sessions. Do not treat if you yourself have travelled in the previous 14 days, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have come into contact with individuals who have been diagnosed with or deemed to be a presumptive case of COVID-19.
If you do decide to treat, manage your risk by doing the following:
NOTE: This blog was written on March 25, 2020, and was current as of that date. A blog post is never a substitute for legal advice specific to your situation, and that is particularly so when circumstances are changing so rapidly.Wise Health Law is deemed by the province to be an “essential” service. While we are working remotely, we are diligently monitoring email and voicemail, and remain available to assist our clients.
In December 2019, Ontario’s Attorney General introduced Bill 161, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act (the “Act”), which became law on July 8, 2020. The Act hopes to simplify a complex and outdated justice system by bringing changes to how legal aid services are delivered, how class actions are handled, and how court processes are administered.
Of note, the Act has amended the Judicial Review Procedures Act (JRPA) to establish new rules as to when an application for judicial review may be brought.
Any decisions made on or after July 8, 2020 are now subject to a 30-day limit for bringing an application for judicial review unless another Act provides otherwise. Courts, however, retain powers to extend the time for making an application for judicial review if satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that no prejudice or hardship will be incurred by the delay. Before these amendments, the JRPA did not set out any time limits for bringing an application, but courts had powers to extend the time to bring an application if another Act prescribed the limit.
In early August 2020, the Federal Minister of Health granted an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to four terminally ill Canadians to use psilocybin in their end of life care.
Psilocybin is one of the active ingredients/chemicals in “magic mushrooms,” the other is psilocin. Both psilocybin and psilocin are controlled substances under Schedule III of the CDSA. The sale, possession, production, etc. are prohibited unless authorized for clinical trial or research purposes under Part J of the Food and Drug Regulations. Both have been illegal in Canada since 1974. According to Health Canada, there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada. However, the purified active ingredient, i.e. psilocybin, is being studied in supervised clinical settings for its potential to treat various conditions such as anxiety and depression.