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Ontario Strengthens Laws to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Patients

Archived News Release

Ontario Strengthens Laws to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Patients

Protecting Patients Act Ensures Health and Safety of Patients and Families

Ministry of Health

Ontario has reinforced its zero tolerance policy on the sexual abuse of patients by any regulated health professional, and implemented new programs and policies to keep people healthy. 

The province passed the Protecting Patients Act today, which includes legislative amendments to:

  • Expand the list of acts of sexual abuse that will result in the mandatory revocation of a regulated health professional's certificate of registration
  • Remove the ability of a health regulatory college to impose restrictions that would allow a regulated health professional to continue practising on patients of a specific gender
  • Ensure more timely access to therapy and counselling for patients who make a complaint of sexual abuse by a regulated health professional to a health regulatory college
  • Require that more information regarding the current and past conduct of regulated health professionals is available to the public in an easy-to-access and transparent way
  • Incorporate feedback from stakeholders, including establishing a higher threshold for when third-party records may be ordered to be produced in discipline hearings involving sexual abuse.

Additional amendments passed today to help people in Ontario stay healthy and safe include:    

  • Improving the way immunizations are reported, which will help prevent children from being suspended from school for required school immunizations
  • Helping parents make informed decisions about immunizing their children if they are considering a non-medical exemption
  • Improving and modernizing Elderly Persons Centres to help seniors stay healthy, active and engaged
  • Making it easier and more convenient for people to receive coverage under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program for prescriptions that are written by nurse practitioners, and in the future, other authorized prescribers for products such as diabetes testing strips and nutritional products
  • Continuing to ensure that community laboratory services are safe and effective by updating inspection provisions and streamlining licensing requirements.

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare - protecting health care today and into the future.

Quick Facts

  • With the passage of the Protecting Patients Act, the government is able to make legislative amendments to several statutes that will ensure that patients in Ontario are healthy and safe.
  • Ontario’s health care budget will total $53.8 billion in 2017–18 — a 3.8 per cent increase from the previous year.
  • As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is providing $8 million over the next three years to allow for an additional 40 new Elderly Persons Centres by 2018–19, to meet the growing needs of seniors and help support some of Ontario’s most vulnerable populations.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Today marks an important milestone for our government. The passage of this legislation reinforces our commitment to putting patients first and protecting Ontario’s health care system for generations to come. The Protecting Patients Act will help ensure that people in Ontario remain healthy and safe.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“We commend the government on the passage of the Protecting Patients Act. This legislation is an important step in protecting patients and supporting survivors of sexual abuse. We look forward to working with the government to implement recommendations from To Zero: Independent Report of the Minister's Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Patients and the Regulated Health Professions Act.”

Farrah Khan and Sly Castaldi, co-chairs of Ontario's Roundtable on Violence Against Women

and Sheila Macdonald, member of Ontario’s Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Patients and the Regulated Health Professions Act



Government Health and Wellness