Announcement Impacting Your Scope of Practice

On April 22, 2021 the Ontario Government enacted an additional declaration under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that impacts all Regulated Health Professionals’ scope of practice when working in hospitals, including Respiratory Therapists (O. Reg. 305/21). The declaration states:

“Regulated health professionals, either from Ontario or out-of-province, are now authorized to provide care and engage outside of their regular scope of practice, provided that it is necessary in response to the pandemic and is consistent with the duties that are assigned or the privileges that are granted by the hospital, and the professional acts in a manner that is consistent with any measures taken by a hospital as part of its efforts to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19. Hospitals are responsible to ensure that staff members are only assigned tasks or asked to deliver services that they are reasonably qualified to provide.

Under the EMCPA health professionals acting under the Act or the authority of an order issued under the Act will not be subject to any action or other proceedings for actions they take or perform under the Act, or an order made under the Act, or for neglect or default in performance of these acts, where they are done in good faith”

What does this mean for you?

As a Respiratory Therapist working in a hospital, you could now be asked to perform duties that are outside your scope of practice. Both the CRTO and the RTSO advise that all RTs remain vigilant when performing tasks and fulfilling roles to ensure patient safety. Any requested task/role outside of scope must meet the following criteria:

  1. It is necessary in response to the pandemic,
  2. It is consistent with the duties that are assigned or the privileges that have been granted by the hospital in response to the pandemic, and
  3. The RT acts in a manner that is consistent with any measures taken by a hospital as part of its efforts to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19.

As per the CRTO, an RT administering care under this emergency declaration will not be penalized in the fulfillment of such acts. Read the CRTO notice here.

What does this mean for tasks/roles under the Controlled Act of the Regulated Health Professionals Act?

While the declaration is enacted, RTs can now perform tasks/roles using the following forms of energy without delegation:

  • Use ultrasound as a procedural adjunct (i.e., inserting arterial/venous lines),
  • Defibrillation, and
  • Peripheral electro-neuro stimulation (i.e., train of four)

Cut-off Date: Under this new EMPCA Regulation for Regulated Health Professionals this declaration is set to expire on May 5, 2021, but it is reasonable to expect that extensions may be made based on current COVID health data and projections. RTSO will continue to update you as changes and extensions are made.