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Transparency Initiative

On October 1, 2014, the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care reached out to all regulatory health colleges, urging them to make transparency a key priority in their strategic plans and to take concrete measures to improve transparency in all college processes. In our response to the Minister, the College of Opticians advised that we are committed to strengthening existing processes and implementing new measures to support transparency, one of our four core values.

Parallel to the Minister's directive, a group of health regulatory colleges known as AGRE (Advisory Group of Regulatory Excellence) began developing a multi-stage policy recommendation initiative aimed at strengthening public confidence in self-regulation. The group developed a set of eight transparency principles, which were adopted by our Council in December 2014:

  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. For information to be helpful to the public, it must:
    • be timely, easy to find, and easy to 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.

The College has made transparency a priority over the past year. In May and September 2015, after reviewing feedback from stakeholders, Council adopted new by-laws requiring additional information about Ontario opticians to be posted on the College’s public register. The public register is accessible by clicking on Optician Search.

The following additional information about Ontario opticians is now available to the public:

  • The status of a matter referred to Discipline, including any hearing dates
  • The complete Notice of Hearing in discipline matters
  • Notation of and date of referral to Fitness to Practise
  • Bail conditions relevant to a Member’s suitability to practise
  • Criminal findings of guilt relevant to a Member’s suitability to practise
  • Names of former members (including fact and date of death, if known)
  • Professional misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity findings made by other professional regulatory bodies, both inside and outside of Ontario.  

Transparency is not just about making more information public – it is also about making the information we share accessible and easy to understand. To achieve this objective, we are in the process of creating a new, improved website as well as a new public register, both of which are expected to launch in late 2016. Until then, while most of the above information is currently posted in the public register or on the Discipline page, the following member information is available by request at 416-368-3616 or at mail@coptont.org:

  • Bail conditions relevant to a Member’s suitability to practise
  • Criminal findings of guilt relevant to a Member’s suitability to practise
  • Names of former members (including fact and date of death, if known)

 

 

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