Dear Mr. Trottier,
It has been over a year now since the Ontario Court of Appeal rendered its decision in the case of Leering v. The College of Chiropractors of Ontario. With this decision, every health care practitioner governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act who provides treatment to his or her spouse would be found guilty of sexual abuse . Such a finding of guilt would garner automatic revocation of the practitioner’s certificate of registration for five years.
Dentists across Ontario are very concerned about the unintended consequences of this decision and the tremendous negative impact it is having.
The key points regarding this issue are:
· Pre-Leering, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) had the ability to exercise discretion regarding spousal treatment and the zero tolerance provision.
· Colleges have the ability to exercise discretion on many matters related to governing health professionals. The RCDSO has had an impeccable track record of exercising this discretion for over 15 years.
· It is extremely offensive to both a provider and a spouse/partner in a consensual relationship to equate, for example, the placement of a filling, as sexual abuse.
· Not all health professions are the same.
· Courts often encourage governments to provide clarification where laws may not be entirely clear.
· The Hon. Ruth Grier introduced Bill 100 to add the zero tolerance provisions to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). On behalf of the same Minister, an Assistant Deputy Minister wrote to the RCDSO in 1995 to clarify that the intent of the zero tolerance provisions was not to prevent a dentist from treating a spouse or intimate partner; indeed, the letter expressly permits it. This is a powerful statement on exactly which circumstances the legislation is not intended to capture.
Dentists are fully supportive of the principle of zero tolerance as it concerns true sexual abuse. The solution proposed is fully supportive of that principle and in no way derogates from it. I am asking for your support in rectifying this situation.
Please write a letter to the Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, stating your support for allowing dentists to once again be allowed to provide treatment to their spouses/partners.
As a dentist and constituent practicing in Toronto, I would appreciate your support.
Thank you for your inquiry into this and for contacting the Green Party of Ontario.
The Green Party of Ontario supports the zero tolerance to the Regulated Health Professions Act on the whole, but we agree that it should not apply to those who are married or in a long-term relationship. As this is a complicated case, leaving it to a
case-by-case judicial process would not be feasible, and rather, it is a clear case for a revision of legislation.
Green MPPs would support a full study of the issue, and based on recommendations would support amendments to the legislation. The Green Party believes in a government that engages and empowers individuals to creating long-term solutions for our communities.
Thank you for your inquiry. If you have any other questions, please contact us at (416) 977-7476 or toll free at 1 (888) 647-3366. You can also visit itstimeforgreen.ca to read our five-point plan for Ontario’s future or visit our website, www.gpo.ca.