Removing Information from the OCP Public Register

All Ontario health Colleges, including the Ontario College of Pharmacists (“OCP”), are required by the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Health Professions Procedural Code to maintain a public register of its members. 

The legislation, regulations, and OCP bylaws set out the information which must be included in the public register. In addition to basic information such as name and practice location, the public register with respect to each pharmacist must now include: 

  • cautions ordered by the College’s ICRC as a result of a complaint or investigation; 
  • Specified Continuing Education of Remediation Program (“SCERP”) ordered by the College’s ICRC as a result of a complaint or investigation; 
  • results of any disciplinary or incapacity proceeding; 
  • undertakings or acknowledgements that the Member has entered into with the College; 
  • revocations or suspensions; 
  • resignation in the face of a complaint; 
  • findings of any professional negligence or malpractice against the member; 
  • any findings of guilt made against the member under the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The above information remains on the public register unless its removal is authorized pursuant to the Act or the Code. 

There are two main ways in which information can be removed from the OCP public register: under section 23(7) of the Code and under section 23(11) of the Code. 

The first route to remove information from the public register is under section 23(7) of the Code. This section provides that the Registrar may remove information from the OCP public register if that information “is obsolete and no longer relevant to the member’s suitability to practise.” The member makes such an application directly to the registrar. In this application, the member must describe why the information in question is obsolete and why it is in the public interest to remove that information from the register. Important factors in an application to remove information from the OCP public register under section 23(7) of the Code may include: how much time has passed since the incident, the member’s record since the incident, whether laws or standards of practice have changed since the incident, etc. The College’s current policy is that it will not remove information which has been posted on the public register within the last 10 years. However, it is important to note that College policies are not directly legislated and may be subject to challenge in an appropriate case.   

The second route to remove information from the public register is under section 23(11) of the Code. The section applies only to a member who: 

  1. has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Discipline Committee and the order made was only a reprimand or only a fine; or
  1. has been found to be incapacitated by the Fitness to Practice Committee. 

In addition to the above, in order to have information removed from the public register under this section, at least 6 years must have elapsed since the order in question.  The information subject to removal under this section also cannot relate to a finding of sexual abuse of a patient. 

Similar to an application under section 23(8) of the Code, the member applying to have the information removed from the public register under section 23(11) of the Code must demonstrate why removing the information is in the public interest. Once again, relevant factors to the member’s argument may be: how much time has passed since the incident, the Member’s record since the incident, whether laws or standards of practice have changed since the incident, etc.

Pharmacists who are subject to any kind of legal proceeding may face public exposure through the public register, and should consider seeking legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

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