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Bill 21 Update: An Act to Protect Patients Now Partially in Force
Professional Regulatory Alert

In our November 5, 2018 Professional Regulatory Alert we provided a brief summary of Bill 21, “An Act to Protect Patients” and addressed some of the implementation steps required of Colleges. By way of update, on November 19, 2018 the Bill received Royal Assent which means that it is now in force except for specified sections that come into effect April 1, 2018.

Section 28 of Bill 21 specifies the sections of the Bill that come into force on April 1, 2018. This means that the sections not listed in section 28 came into force on November 19, 2018, particularly:

  • Section 5: Additional information is required from applicants for registration
    • A criminal records check
    • Whether an applicant is currently an investigated person under the HPA or the equivalent in another jurisdiction
    • Whether any conduct of the applicant has previously constituted unprofessional conduct
    • Evidence of whether the applicant has ever had conditions imposed on their practice permit or equivalent
    • Evidence of whether there has ever been a judgment in a civil action against the applicant with respect to their practice
    • Readers are advised to consult Bill 21 for the precise wording
  • Section 6: A regulated member may request correction of information on the register that is inaccurate or incomplete
  • Section 12: Clarification of the timing of interim suspensions and conditions. These can be imposed any time after a complaint is made up to the time that a Hearing Tribunal makes orders
  • Sections 16 and 17: Complaints Director can appeal decision of Council to Court of Appeal
  • Section 21: Health information and personal information may be disclosed by Minister to College in certain circumstances
  • Section 23: Council can pass Bylaws respecting information that can be published on a College’s website in addition to the information in s. 135.92(1)
  • Section 24: Standards of Practice: Council must develop standards of practice on subjects identified in section 133.1(1):
    • The subjects of the Standards of Practice:
      • Setting out who is considered to be a patient for the purposes of the College’s regulated members
      • Respecting when a sexual relationship may occur between a regulated member or former member and a patient
      • Respecting when a person who is a spouse of or in an interdependent relationship with a regulated member may also be a patient
    • College must consult with members and Minister and any other persons Council considers necessary
    • Standards of Practice require approval of Minister
    • Standards of Practice must come into effect on or before March 31, 2019
  • Section 25: Lieutenant Governor can by order upon recommendation of Minister establish the standards of practice required by Bill 21 if Minister is of the opinion that the College’s standards are not in the best interests of the public
  • Section 27: Transitional provisions

Bill 21 represents by far the most significant set of amendments to the Health Professions Act in its 20 year history. The amendments are complex and far-reaching and require careful attention by Colleges to implement. On November 27 we will be presenting a workshop for the Alberta Federation of Regulated Health Professions on “Understanding and Implementing Bill 21” which will include a detailed analysis of “An Act to Protect Patients”, along with suggestions to help Colleges develop an implementation plan.