CRPO has been monitoring the novel coronavirus pandemic closely and providing information and resources, which you can access from our page
Advice to RPs & FAQs re: COVID-19
. We will continue to update this regularly with new resources as the situation evolves.
We are sending this update to ensure that registrants are aware that today, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a
requiring that all non-essential and elective health care services stop or be reduced to minimal levels until further notice. Allowable exceptions are possible to avert negative patient outcomes or avoid situations that would have a negative impact on patient safety.
As such, CRPO advises RPs to use your clinical judgement to determine where your care is essential to clients. CRPO advises that, in situations where RPs choose to continue to practice, you move to electronic practice (providing care via phone, email or videoconferencing technology) wherever possible.
We have a number of resources to support RPs moving to electronic practice:
Regardless of your choices (whether to continue to see clients in person, electronically, or to cease practicing), you must communicate your plans to your clients and let them know what to expect. Remember that supervision can take place electronically, and CRPO encourages supervisors and supervisees to set this up.
For clients who need to be seen and cannot access your services through electronic practice (either due to lack of access to technology, or because of the nature of their mental health needs), you may need to consider facilitating connections to other services. We recognize that this will likely be difficult during the pandemic and so would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the resources that are available in your community.
For clients whose care needs are acute, be aware that emergency services through the hospital will likely be slow; however, if there is a risk of harm or self-harm, clients will need to access hospital services.
CRPO is aware that, during the pandemic, decisions to discontinue services and / or to refer to other services or providers will be made considering the need to social distance, self-isolate or because of directives from public health officials, rather than the typical reasons. While the usual approaches to discontinuing services or making referrals may not be practical or possible, we would encourage registrants to look to the standards of practice (
standard 1.9, Referral
standard 6.3, Discontinuing Services
for general guidance on steps that could be taken to help ensure the client's best interest are protected.
If you work in a hospital, residential treatment facility or any other health care facility, please be aware of and adhere to your employer's policies and requirements. It is possible that RPs will be re-deployed to assist with tasks that are not typically part of their role or scope of practice. If this happens, registrants should work with their employers and other team members to ensure that this is done safely, ethically and competently. Registrants may also contact the CRPO's
Practice Advisory Service
CRPO urges all applicants and registrants to practice social distancing. If you have recently travelled, it is crucially important to self-isolate and follow the advice of the chief medical officers of health for your municipality, Ontario and Canada.
We know that the healthcare system is already facing extraordinary demands and that this is likely to increase as the pandemic continues. We also know that RPs are dedicated professionals whose contributions to the health and well-being of Ontarians will be critical to getting through the next weeks and months. CRPO is looking at how we can adjust regulatory programs and requirements to support registrants as they continue to strive to provide safe, ethical and competent care.
Please feel free to reach out to the
Practice Advisory Service
if you have questions. Staff are here working and available to provide support.