Mandatory Training Program for Bill 21: An Act to Protect Patients

In 2018, the Alberta government introduced Bill 21: An Act to Protect Patients to amend the Health Professions Act (HPA). Bill 21 speaks specifically to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by regulated health professionals and introduced a number of new requirements for regulatory health colleges and its regulated members, ensuring consistent penalties are applied to all health professionals regulated under the HPA for findings of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Bill 21 received Royal Assent on November 19, 2018 and came into force on April 1, 2019.

What are the changes in Bill 21?

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 both colleges and all regulated health professionals.

For a detailed summary of the changes to the Health Professions Act introduced in Bill 21, please review the posted document, “Summary of Changes in Bill 21: An Act to Protect Patients”.

What is sexual abuse and sexual misconduct?

Bill 21 introduces new definitions to the HPA for “patient”, “sexual abuse”, “sexual misconduct”, and “sexual nature”. You can read the definitions by accessing the Alberta Government’s website at https://www.alberta.ca/protecting-patients-against-sexual-abuse.aspx.

Standards of Practice

Each College was required to implement a Standard of Practice which defined who a patient is for the purposes of that profession. The College of Dietitians of Alberta’s Standards of Practice: Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Prevention came into effect April 1, 2019.

Patient Relations Program

The College implemented a Patient Relations Program which increased transparency by posting health professionals’ discipline history on our public website, provided information for the public on the Complaints process, and set-up a counselling fund for patients who have alleged unprofessional conduct in the forms of sexual abuse and/or sexual misconduct against a regulated member.

Mandatory Training

Within Bill 21 amendments to the Health Professions Act (HPA), all colleges were required to establish a patient relations program which included measures for preventing and addressing sexual abuse of and sexual misconduct towards patients by regulated members through education, training and public information.

The Alberta Federation of Regulated Health Professionals has developed online mandatory training programs for all regulated health professionals as well as for all staff, council and hearing tribunal members. Completion of the training programs are mandatory, as required under legislation, and submission of certificates received at the conclusion of training demonstrate completion to the College. Failure to submit the certificate to the College will require registrants to complete the training program again.

The “Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct” Training Program consists of 3 modules, to be completed by all regulated members:

  • Module 1: Introduction to An Act to Protect Patients
  • Module 2: Preventing Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct
  • Module 3: When Sexual Abuse or Sexual Misconduct has Occurred

You can access the training program at the following link: http://afrhp.org/bill21-protecting-patients/#/

The “Trauma Informed Training for Regulatory Organizations” Training Program consists of 5 modules, to be completed by all staff, council and hearing tribunal members:

  • Module 1: Introduction to An Act to Protect Patients
  • Module 2: Receiving and Investigating Complaints
  • Module 3: Adjudicating Complaints of Sexual Abuse/Sexual Misconduct
  • Module 4: Assessing Credibility
  • Module 5: Sanctions

Access to the training program is granted by the College office.

The protection of Albertans is of paramount importance to all health professionals, and to Albertans. The legislation and mandatory training programs give all colleges and regulated members new tools to address sexual misconduct and sexual abuse while also raising awareness and education around the power imbalance between health professionals and patients.

Important Resources