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Gélinas worried unregistered health workers might abuse system

NDP health care critic said there are too many unanswered concerns about government’s proposed bill to speed up surgeries and reduce wait times
NDP official opposition health critic France Gélinas spoke out against Ontario Bill 60 at a news conference at Queen's Park Friday. (Ontario Parliamentary Channel)

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas is continuing her fight against the proposed Bill 60, the plan by the Ontario government to reduce wait times for surgeries and also to recognize the credentials of health care workers registered in other provinces and territories.

Speaking at the Queen's Park media studio on Friday, Gélinas said there is a serious problem in that one section of the bill could allow for professional health care titles to be misused by those who might not be registered or qualified to hold those titles. 

Gélinas was referring to Schedule-2 of Bill 60.

“Currently the titles of physician, nurse, registered practical nurse, respiratory therapist, laboratory technician are all protected titles for health professionals that are supervised by a health college," Gélinas told reporters.

Gélinas said the professional health colleges ensure that the registered health-care worker has achieved a prescribed level of education and experience. 

She said by removing that requirement, there is the possibility that certain titles can be used by people who are not registered, and possibly not qualified.

"The college ensures that the title is held by a professional with prescribed level of education, experience and is registered’’ Gélinas said. 

“Schedule 2 of Bill 60 allows these titles to be used by people who are not registered members of a regulatory health college," she added.

Gélinas said the danger that exists is that a for-profit health clinic might decide to use an unregistered health worker to perform duties that should only be done by registered health workers. The difference she said is in the rate of pay. It can be a lot cheaper to use an unregistered health worker than a fully qualified Registered Nurse, for example. 

The other concern is that the definition of a physician, according to Schedule-2, means a legally qualified medical practitioner who is lawfully entitled to practice medicine in Ontario, or "another prescribed person," said the NDP news release. The concern is that so far there is no description of another prescribed person.  

In order for people to receive quality care they need to trust that the physician or the nurse or the respiratory therapist in front of them have the knowledge and the skills of that profession, said Gelinas.

Bill 60 has passed second reading and will be brought before the Ontario Legislature’s Social Policy Committee for public comment on March 20 and 21.


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