Feedback for Proposed Changes to the Public Register (By-law No 3)

Ontario Pharmacists Association  ·  Nov. 21, 2014

The Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA or the “Association”) welcomes the opportunity from the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP or the “College”) to comment on the proposed changes to the Public Register under College By-law No. 3.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association is the voice of Ontario’s 16,600 pharmacists and pharmacists-in- training. Our members work in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care, family health teams, and industry. The Association maintains as a key element of its mandate the support for pharmacists in the delivery of the highest quality of care for all Ontarians.

With respect to matters of regulatory transparency, OPA recognizes the public’s growing call for organizations — particularly those with a public interest mandate — to be more open with their decisions and processes. To that end, OPA also acknowledges and respects the efforts of the Advisory Group of Regulatory Excellence (AGRE) and its representatives from pharmacy, medicine, nursing, dentistry, optometry and physiotherapy on this initiative. In the spirit of transparency, the Association trusts that, pending the outcome of this current consultation, changes that are ultimately implemented for the OCP By-laws are mirrored by all other AGRE member colleges.

OPA commentary regarding the proposed changes are based on our perspectives on each of the eight transparency principles agreed to by the AGRE:

  1. The mandate of regulators is public protection and safety. The public needs access to appropriate information in order to trust that this system of self-regulation works effectively.

  2. Providing more information to the public has benefits, including improved patient choice and increased accountability for regulators.

  3. Any information provided should enhance the public’s ability to make decisions or hold the regulator accountable. This information needs to be relevant, credible and accurate.

  4. In order for information to be helpful to the public, it must:

    • Be timely, easy to find and understand.

    • Include context and explanation.

  5. Certain regulatory processes intended to improve competence may lead to better outcomes for the public if they happen confidentially.

  6. Transparency discussions should balance the principles of public protection and accountability, with fairness and privacy.

  7. The greater the potential risk to the public, the more important transparency becomes.

  8. Information available from Colleges about members and processes should be similar.

Moving forward, the Association will be assessing any proposed changes to the public register through this lens to ensure that the information being made public is relevant to practice and are related, either directly or indirectly, to public safety. OPA would certainly express concerns if matters completely unrelated (directly or indirectly) to practice and public safety are included on the register, as such information may unfairly and negatively label the member in the eyes of public and/or other members, which in turn may impact his/her current or future employability.

With respect to the current changes proposed to OCP By-law No.3, OPA is supportive of the language and intent expressed in the consultation document. In particular, with regard to matters related to “Findings of Guilt” and “Custody or Release Conditions”, we are pleased to see that both the intent and the language of the amendment are to only post information to the Public Register if the Registrar believes the information is relevant to the member’s suitability to practice.

There is one additional area on which OPA would like to comment. There appears to be no mention of the disposition of information, such as the finding of guilt, on the Public Register in instances whereby a member has resigned or has had his/her licence revoked. Currently, there is a provision for instances of member resignation, in which case the member’s information is removed from the Public Register after two years (and after six years in cases of licence revocation). OPA would suggest that in situations where there has been a finding of guilt that is related to a matter that may impact the member’s ability to practice, the information ought to remain as part of the Public Register if and when the member’s licence has been reinstated.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments to College By-law No. 3. Should you require any additional information or seek clarification of any of the elements expressed in this submission, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.

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