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Bill 21 – An Act to Protect Alberta Patients

As you may be aware, the government has introduced changes to the Health Professions Act (HPA). This is the most significant change to the HPA since it came into force. Introduced as Bill 21 – An Act to Protect Alberta Patients, Royal Assent was given on November 19, 2018. Some portions of the Bill are in effect as of November 19, 2018 and some will come into force on April 1, 2019.

Bill 21 speaks specifically to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by regulated health professionals and introduces a number of new requirements for regulatory health colleges, including ACSLPA, and its members. The amendments are complex and far-reaching and require careful attention by health colleges to implement.

Some of the requirements/changes coming to regulated health profession colleges include (there are more):

Mandatory Cancellation and Suspension of Practice Permits

  • Cancellation of a practice permit for any health professional whose conduct is deemed to be sexual abuse of a patient with no ability to reapply or be reinstated.
  • Suspension of a practice permit for any health professional whose conduct is deemed to be sexual misconduct toward a patient.

Patient Relations Program

  • Regulatory colleges must provide funding for treatment and counselling for patients who are victims of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct by a regulated professional.
  • Colleges must provide training for health professionals and college staff to prevent and address sexual abuse and misconduct.

Standards of Practice

  • Colleges must create new standards of practice for sexual abuse and sexual misconduct that must be approved by the Minister of Health.
  • Colleges must define who is a “patient” and set rules for when sexual relationships can occur with patients.

Public-facing Register

  • Colleges must post health professionals' discipline history for sexual abuse or misconduct on a public-facing website.

Due to the extremely tight timelines of this Bill, ACSLPA staff efforts will be focused over the coming weeks/months. Please bear with us as we may not be as quick to respond as usual.

You will also see changes coming to the ACSLPA website; some sections may be “under construction” as we work to implement requirements. In the meantime, if you are having difficulty finding information on the website, please contact the office and we’ll do all we can to get you the information you need.

For more information: https://www.alberta.ca/protecting-patients-against-sexual-abuse.aspx

Stay tuned for more communications as we work our way to full compliance.