On April 11, 2022, the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 (FLTCA) was proclaimed into force to regulate Ontario’s long-term care home sector. On the same day, the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (LTCHA) was repealed. The new legislation does not change the mandatory requirements applicable to all members. The main changes address requirements related to staffing and care, accountability and transparency, enforcement, and licensing which may be relevant to members who work for or operate Long-Term Care Homes.
Members of the College must have sufficient familiarity with the FLTCA to understand their mandatory reporting requirements in situations where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that any of the prescribed matters have occurred. The reportable matters, which remain unchanged, can be found in S.28 of the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021:
Reporting certain matters to Director
28 (1) A person who has reasonable grounds to suspect that any of the following has occurred or may occur shall immediately report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to the Director:
- Improper or incompetent treatment or care of a resident that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to the resident.
- Abuse of a resident by anyone or neglect of a resident by the licensee or staff that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to the resident.
- Unlawful conduct that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to a resident.
- Misuse or misappropriation of a resident’s money.
- Misuse or misappropriation of funding provided to a licensee under this Act, the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 or the Connecting Care Act, 2019.
The new Act continues to specify that College members do not require consent to report information that would otherwise be considered confidential:
Duty on practitioners and others
(4) Even if the information on which a report may be based is confidential or privileged, subsection (1) also applies to a person mentioned in paragraph 1 or 2, and no action or other proceeding for making the report shall be commenced against a person who acts in accordance with subsection (1) unless that person acts maliciously or without reasonable grounds for the suspicion:
- A physician or any other person who is a member of a College as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
- A member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Ontario Regulation 246/22: GENERAL under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 sets out definitions for abuse and neglect.
Section 28(1) of the FLTCA requires that members of the College who have reasonable grounds to suspect concerns, as set out in that section, must report the concern to the Director at the Ministry of Long-Term Care. This can be done directly by calling the toll-free Long-Term Care ACTION Line at 1-866-434-0144 (7 days a week, 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.).