A special duty under the Regulated Health Professions Act,
and indeed other statutes, is to make mandatory reports to the proper authority for events such as sexual abuse of a client, child abuse, abuse of an elderly person in a long-term care home. If it appears that one of these situations exists, a dietitian should obtain specific advice.
The Long-term Care Homes Act
stipulates that a mandatory report must be made to the Director for:
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 or the Local Health System Integration Act,
Mandatory Reports About the Conduct of Another Dietitian
Cases of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity observed in another dietitian must also be reported to the College in the interest of ensuring safe and competent dietetic services to the public. A dietitian should make a mandatory report within 30 days for:
terminating an employee;
terminating an association (e.g., partnership, contract, professional corporation) with another registered health practitioner for professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity;
ending a group practice because you could no longer tolerate a practitioner's conduct or incompetence, e.g., drinking or repetitive rudeness to clients;
intending to terminate an employee or associate but that person resigned or voluntarily relinquished their privileges.
A mandatory report is not a breach of confidentiality, even where a client does not want a report to be made. A dietitian's duty of confidentiality is subject to other requirements or authority of law.
Consequences for Not Making a Report
Generally, failing to make a mandatory report is considered professional misconduct and carries significant consequences. In some cases, dietitians can be prosecuted and fined up to $50,000 in Provincial Offences Court.
For more details, see Jurisprudence Handbook for Dietitians in Ontario, Chapter 3.