Training: Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct

Bill 21: An Act to Protect Patients received Royal Assent on November 18, 2018, and introduced significant amendments to the Health Professions Act (HPA), providing specific guidance and requirements to regulated health professions for preventing and addressing sexual abuse and/or sexual misconduct towards patients by regulated members. These amendments, along with the College’s Standards of Practice (see Standard Area 5.0) and Code of Ethics, provide specific direction to regulated members for professional conduct and establishing and maintaining professional boundaries with patients.

The Alberta Federation of Regulated Health Professions (AFRHP) is a group of 29 health regulatory Colleges that work together to fulfill the same mandate – “to regulate our respective professions in the public interest.” The AFRHP has launched a new educational course to help regulated health professionals understand and comply with Bill 21.

The course is broken down into three modules:

Module 1: Introduction to An Act to Protect Patients
This module will help familiarize you with Alberta’s legislation to address sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.

Module 2: Preventing Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct
This module focuses on maintaining the patient-professional relationship by providing tips on recognizing risk factors, obtaining consent, non-verbal communication, physical contact and exposure, record keeping, and avoiding crossing boundaries.

Module 3: When Sexual Abuse or Sexual Misconduct has Occurred
This interactive module discusses reporting requirements, which include reporting that is mandatory: employer, self and reporting other members. The complaint process and types of penalties are also reviewed.

The Continuing Competence Committee considers this learning essential for members and has determined this course and its quizzes may be counted for up to 4 hours per CCP cycle. At the end of the course, you may print/upload the resulting certificate as part of your records. This government-funded course replaces the interim step the College had taken through the learning module that you have seen on our website so far.

The AFRHP has also created a comprehensive module, Trauma Informed Training for Regulatory Organizations, that provides organizations like ours tools for taking a trauma-informed approach when dealing with complaints of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct against a regulated health professional. The College has made this training mandatory for all current and future members of the Council, staff, the complaints director, investigators, the hearings director, the hearings tribunal and any other individual/body with regulatory responsibilities.