About the College
Self-Regulation and the Practice of Medicine
Doctors in Ontario have been granted a degree of authority for self-regulation under provincial law. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is the body that regulates the practice of medicine to protect and serve the public interest.
This system of self-regulation is based on the premise that the College must act first and foremost in the interest of the public. All doctors in Ontario must be members of the College in order to practise medicine. The duties of the College include:
- issuing certificates of registration to doctors to allow them to practise medicine
- monitoring and maintaining standards of practice through peer assessment and remediation
- investigating complaints about doctors on behalf of the public, and
- conducting discipline hearings when doctors may have committed an act of professional misconduct or may be incompetent.
The role of the College and its authority and powers are set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), the Health Professions Procedural Code under the RHPA and the Medicine Act.
Important College Functions
Physicians must be members of the College to practise medicine in Ontario. The College’s Registration Department handles all inquiries regarding the registration process.
The College has a legislated mandate to continuously improve the quality of care provided by physicians. One key way in which this is achieved is through peer assessment.
Educational tools, guidelines and courses are available through the College to assist physicians in their practice.
The mandate of the patient relations program is to prevent and deal with sexual abuse of patients, by educating doctors and providing information to the public. The College also administers a fund for therapy and counselling for patients whom a physician has sexually abused.
One important responsibility of the College is to respond to concerns and to investigate complaints from members of the public about doctors licensed to practise medicine in Ontario.
College staff investigates on behalf of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee if a patient's concerns should not or cannot be resolved.
Cases are referred to the Discipline Committee when a physician appears to have shown a deliberate disregard for patient welfare, engaged in reprehensible behaviour, or demonstrated extreme substandard care that does not appear capable of remediation.
Government Programs Management
The College manages a number of government programs including:
Independent Health Facilities
The College is contracted by the government of Ontario to carry out quality assurance assessments in all Independent Health Facilities (IHFs), which provide OHIP insured services. More information about IHF Quality Assessment.
To prescribe methadone for analgesia or for the treatment of opioid dependence, physicians must be exempted under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. More information about the Methadone Program.