“Unlike the five health professions authorized to use the “Doctor” title, no class of audiologist certificate required an applicant to have passed a licensing examination. Furthermore, unlike the other professions, audiologists were not entitled to communicate a diagnosis as the cause of an individual’s symptoms”.This decision was largely based on provisions within the Regulated Health Professions Act (‘RHPA’), including a provision which states:
It might seem unfair, illogical even. But this can be a harsh reality and a source of confusion for some who believe they are entitled to use the abbreviation ‘Dr.’, including some holders of doctorate degrees who can find themselves prevented at law (by the RHPA and The Medicine Act, among others) from using this abbreviation or the title ‘Doctor’. The reason has less to do with verifying those using the title ‘doctor’ (or a variation, abbreviation or equivalent in another language) have appropriate qualifications and training, and everything to do with the various Colleges’ mandate of protecting the public through regulation in Ontario. First, you have to be a member of one of the groups of health professionals with prima facie entitlement to use the title (see section 33(2) of the RHPA). Second, even if you are a member of one of those professions, if you are not registered with the relevant regulatory College in Ontario, say the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, or the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, you cannot use the title ‘while providing or offering to provide healthcare in Ontario’. A primary objective for the Colleges seems to be preventing confusion among members of the public. Among others, a problem can arise for:
Restriction of title “doctor”33(1) Except as allowed in the regulations under this Act, no person shall use the title “doctor”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language in the course of providing or offering to provide, in Ontario, health care to individuals. 1991, c. 18, s. 33 (1).
The test for the standard of care in medical negligence cases has remained untouched since the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1995 decision in ter Neuzen v. Korn.
On January 18, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeal in Armstrong v. Ward. Their unanimous decision maintains the status quo with respect to the standard of care in medical negligence cases.
Like other professionals, pharmacists have been adjusting to an expanded scope of practice as all health professionals work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We wrote about some of these changes in our previous blog posts.
Last week, the Minister of Health made additional changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act relevant to pharmacy professionals. Now, members of the Ontario College of Pharmacists — including pharmacists, interns, registered pharmacy students, or pharmacy technicians — can administer coronavirus vaccines by injection. These individuals must be certified to administer vaccines and must do so while being engaged by an organization that has an agreement with the Minister governing the administration of the vaccine (e.g., a hospital).