Sexual Abuse and Mandatory Reporting of Sexual Abuse

The College of Chiropodists of Ontario exists to protect the interests of the public and sees any form of sexual abuse as unacceptable.

Bill 87:  The Protecting Patients Act, 2017

The Protecting Patients Act was given Royal Assent on May 30, 2017. This new legislation makes several important changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), including strengthening and reinforcing Ontario’s zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse of patients by any regulated health professional.

Learn more about the Protecting Patients Act, 2017

Sexual Abuse

The RHPA defines sexual abuse of patients by health care practitioners as:

(a) sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the health care practitioner and the patient,

(b) touching, of a sexual nature, of the patient by the health care practitioner, or

(c) behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the health care practitioner towards the patient.

Professional Boundaries

It is the responsibility of chiropodists and podiatrists to act in the patient’s best interest, including managing boundaries of the patient-practitioner relationship. Situations that are likely inappropriate and could be considered a professional boundary violation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Any unwanted sexual attention or behaviour, for example kissing or hugging in a sexual way.
  • Sexually suggestive or seductive remarks, or sexually offensive comments or jokes.
  • Sexual touching of a patient, in a way that is not necessary for treatment.
  • Touching a patient without obtaining consent.
  • Anything that makes a patient feel uneasy.

Reporting Sexual Abuse

If you think that you or someone you know has been sexually abused by a chiropodist or podiatrist, please contact the College:

Meghan Hoult, D.Pod.M.
Complaints Officer
mhoult@cocoo.on.ca
416-542-1333 ext. 224
Toll-free: 1-877-232-7653 ext. 224

Information for Registering a Complaint Against a Chiropodist or Podiatrist in Ontario

Mandatory Reporting of Sexual Abuse by Regulated Health Professionals

Under the RHPA, if a member of the College has reasonable grounds, based on information received while practising the profession, to believe that another member or a member of another health care regulatory college has sexually abused a patient, the member must submit a report to the registrar of the college of the health care provider who is the subject of the report. Failure to report sexual abuse may result in disciplinary action by the College.

Funding for Therapy and Counselling

The RHPA requires that the College establish a program to provide funding for therapy and counselling for patients who have been sexually abused by members of the College. Patients are eligible for funding when there is a finding by the College’s Discipline Committee that the patient was sexually abused by a member of the College.

The Patient Relations Committee determines eligibility and administers the fund.

Learn more about the College’s Patient Relations Plan