This issue of ex.press contains important new information on a variety of topics to assist you to better serve your patients as a self-regulated health professional.
This is our third newsletter since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since our last issue, provincewide measures have continued to be updated as the pandemic evolves. In this newsletter, you will find more valuable information on how to keep on top of useful and accurate resources concerning practice advice relating to the pandemic. It continues to be vitally important to stay engaged with the College. Continue to access our website’s COVID-19 Information and ‘Providing Patient Care in a Pandemic’ pages.
As well, you will find an article on the College’s new 4 year Strategic Plan. And see the College’s new Vision, Mission, and Values statements.
Recently, the Ministry of Health published its summary report on the first year of the College Performance Measure Framework (CPMF). The report highlights six top commendable regulatory practices described by Colleges, including the work of CASLPO in Public Awareness and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Access the Summary Report.
CASLPO has continued to make progress on Diversity Equity and Inclusion as it relates to health care. In June 2021, CASLPO held a successful e-forum on the topic of Unconscious Bias and Cultural Competency in Health Care with Dr. Nafeesa Jalal. If you missed it, view the recording on-line. Also, please see how the College recognized the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Learn how your fees are at work protecting the public interest by reviewing the Your Fees at Work infographic within CASLPO’s 2020 Annual Report …
How do recent changes to the College’s Registration Regulation Impact You? Learn about what has changed.
The newly introduced ‘Virtual’ Peer Assessment Pilot has proven to be a huge success. Find out why.
Watch for invitations to attend upcoming CASLPO e-Forums, including one that features the new Code of Ethics relating to registrant practice. Also, watch for information on the new standard for Audiological Assessments.
In addition, you will find in this issue of ex.press a valuable article on Answers to Your Questions about “Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Programs (SCERPs).”
Finally, let me extend my thank you to all registrants for your continued outstanding service to your patients during this continuing very difficult pandemic period.
As always, be sure to visit CASLPO’s website often, - it’s your main source of the latest information.
Keep up-to-date with the latest information, resources, advice & answers to your practice FAQs during the pandemic by accessing our website’s COVID-19 Information and ‘Providing Patient Care in a Pandemic’ web pages.
Over this past winter and spring, the Council reviewed and updated our foundational statements, the Vision, Mission and Values, and used these as their springboard to develop a new Strategic Plan, which will span 4 years from 2021 to 2025.
At the last Council meeting on October 1, 2021, all Council members unanimously agreed to adopt a set of goals, tactics (the ‘how’), and projects, which make up the ‘Strategic Plan 2021 to 2025’.
Here’s what CASLPO’s future looks like:
Goal #1: CASLPO will pursue regulatory excellence in a collaborative and responsive way. This will be accomplished using the following tactics:
Here are some of the projects related to Goal #1 that will impact the public and you:
Goal #2: CASLPO will enhance public trust through direct engagement. This will be accomplished using the following tactics:
Here are some of the projects related to Goal #2 that will impact the public and you:
Goal #3: CASLPO will embody and promote the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This will be accomplished using the following tactics:
Here are some of the projects related to Goal #3 that will impact the public and you:
These are highlights of the new Strategic Plan 2021-2025. A full report may be found on our website in the coming weeks.
Director of Professional Conduct and General Counsel & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer (Acting)
CASLPO has continued to make progress on DEI as it relates to health care. In June 2021, CASLPO held a successful e-forum on the topic of Unconscious Bias and Cultural Competency in Health Care with Dr. Nafeesa Jalal. To watch the video, visit https://caslpo.com/events/e-forums. You can also find some answers to registrant questions that Dr. Jalal did not have time to get to on the CASLPO DEI page.
National Day For Truth And Reconciliation
September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by Parliament. On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent. Learn More, visit the Government of Canada's website.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - CASLPO President's Message to Council (September 30, 2021)
Learn how your fees are at work protecting the public interest by reviewing the Your Fees at Work infographic within CASLPO’s 2020 Annual Report.
By Carol Bock, Deputy Registrar
You have likely heard a lot about the new exam requirement for new applicants to CASLPO and you may be wondering, ‘does that apply to me?’. If you hold a general certificate, then, no, it does not.
However, the CETP Exam was not the only change to CASLPO’s Registration Regulation . Although all proposed changes to our Registration Regulation were circulated to all registrants for feedback, you may not have noted the changes that could apply to you.
As of April 1, 2021, the amended Registration Regulation also includes the following changes that all registrants should be aware of:
1. You must clarify your non-practicing status when using your professional title.
Under the Non-Practicing Certificate, paragraph 3:
“The member shall not use any title or designation respecting the professions unless it includes “(Non-practising)”.
Consequently, if you are a holder of a non-practicing certificate, you must include “non-practicing” following any use of your title as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist.
How does this protect the public?
It will be clear to the public that you are not able to practice.
2. If you are changing your status from non-practicing or academic to general, you may be required to successfully write the Canadian Entry To Practice (CETP) Exam.
Under the Non-Practicing Certificate, paragraph 14:
If you do not have 750 hours of patient care or related work in the previous 3 years, prior to changing your status from non-practicing or academic to general, the Registration Regulation now allows the registration panel to require that:
“ii. the member has successfully completed any further education, training or examinations, or any combination of them, that was specified by a panel of the Registration Committee.”
All holders of the initial certificate should also note that if they do not complete their mentorship within 24 months, they must re-apply, and the new CETP Exam requirement would then need to be met.
How does this protect the public?
This allows the Registration Panel to ensure that a registrant who has not practiced a sufficient amount of time will never-the-less provide competent care.
3. The “teaching” certificate has been eliminated.
This was a certificate that had not been used or requested by any applicant for over 15 years. Consequently, it was removed as an option.
How does this protect the public?
This was not a change to enhance public-protection, rather it was an administrative improvement.
4. Two additional provisions for suspensions of a license to practice in Ontario.
Each of the following conditions will result in a 30-day notice to suspend. Each has conditions for reinstatement which can be viewed in the cited sections of the Registration Regulation:
How does this protect the public?
Professional liability insurance is required to protect any member of the public who may have experienced malpractice.
The initial practice certificate is the period in which it is determined if a registrant is ready to be granted a general certificate, which is determined by the mentor. Practicing without a mentor therefore poses a risk to the public.
By Brian O'Riordan, Registrar
CASLPO’s President, Shari Wilson presented this message to Council at its September 30th meeting.
By Dana Prutschi, Director of Professional Practice & Quality Assurance
Early in the pandemic, CASLPO created two web pages dedicated to COVID-19 information – the COVID-19 Information page and Providing Patient Care in a Pandemic. As announcements continue to flow from the provincial and federal governments, we continually update the postings, including the Pandemic Practice Advice articles.
On the COVID-19 Information page, geared to the public with general information, you will also see updates to the various Ministry of Health Directives, including Directive #6. The page has been updated as recently as September 1st and 7th, with guidance regarding the requirement for proof of vaccination in select settings.
We have accompanied important updates with e-blasts to all registrants. In case you missed one, all current COVID-19 related CASLPO group emails are found on the COVID-19 Information page , while “out of date” emails, such as vaccination rollouts, are listed under the “Archived Emails” section.
You will also find a separate page, Providing Patient Care in a Pandemic, which is written primarily for registrants practicing at this time and includes:
We have seen over the past nineteen months that the official guidance and recommendations are constantly changing. We encourage you to check the CASLPO website often for updates.
The CASLPO Practice Advice team is eager to answer calls and emails from the public and registrants about all areas of practice, including seeing patients during COVID-19 – in-person or through a virtual care appointment. As we reflect on more recent pandemic changes, questions have moved away from where/when/how to get vaccinations to expectations for employee and patient vaccinations, as well as significant changes to screening questions.
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions recently received that may be of interest.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directive #6 for Public Hospitals within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act, Service Providers in accordance with the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994 mandates that vaccination policies be put in place for employees who work in hospitals, home care provision and paramedic services (“Covered Organizations”), with:
a) “proof of full vaccination”
b) “written proof of a medical reason…”
c) “proof of completion of an educational session… about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination”.
The Ontario Ministry of Health is encouraging organizations that are not covered by Directive 6, such as private practices and school boards, to implement vaccination policies that are similar to the Directive. You may find the Directive #6 - Resource Guide useful in the development of a policy. Both the policy and resource guide outline minimum requirements.
To screen coworkers who are not vaccinated, audiologists and speech-language pathologists may choose to enroll in the province’s rapid antigen screening program. More information is here: Provincial Antigen Screening Program | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario.
Patients are to be seen regardless of vaccination status. Appropriate precautions are needed in all circumstances and include COVID-19 screenings, Point of Care Risk Assessment (PCRA), and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Continue to use your professional judgement for the most appropriate service delivery – providing virtual care or in-person services. As above, refer to the Pandemic Practice Advisories for additional guidance.
You do need to record the result of the screening in the patient record. You could write “A COVID-19 screening was completed; results were negative” or have a check box indicating the result of the COVID-19 screening. The completed form does not need to be saved as it is not a legal document. Screening tools are guides, intended to screen out individuals who are positive for COVID-19.
It is important to treat the screening as part of the Point Of Care Risk Of Assessment. A “failed” screening is not a reason to refuse service. Instead, be sure to use your clinical judgement: Do you need to use more PPE or different types of PPE? Can the session be moved to a virtual appointment?
On August 26, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Health published new questions to be part of screenings. Adults who are fully vaccinated are able to leave Canada, and children with runny noses are no longer sent home from school for two weeks. Please see CASLPO’s Pandemic Practice Advice 3: COVID-19 Screening for details.
The same requirements are in place for active COVID-19 screening as were there last year, where families complete daily COVID-19 screenings before sending their children to school.
If you can obtain the results from the school’s active COVID-19 screener prior to your session, parents or Substitute Decision Makers (“SDM”) are not required to complete an additional active screener. A screening may be completed and submitted to the school electronically or in paper form:
In CASLPO’s Pandemic Practice Advice 3: COVID-19 Screening, it says it is preferable that screening should take place over the telephone or through virtual care before the in-person appointment. Some options are:
As above, the screening results and date need to be documented in the patient record. The results of the COVID-19 screen along with the point of care risk assessment (PCRA) will help you to determine appropriate PPE to use and precautions to take.
The Practice Advice team can be reached through email or telephone. Find out how to reach us on the CASLPO Practice Advice page.
Director of Registration Services
If you are one of the 4,511 CASLPO registrants who renewed before the annual October 1st deadline, thank you!
A benefit of renewing your registration annually, is that you help to ensure that your information on CASLPO’s public register of Ontario’s audiologists and speech-language pathologists is accurate and up-to-date. But more importantly, it signals to the public that you continue to be a regulated health professional, who is entitled to call themself an audiologist, or a speech-language pathologist or speech-therapist.
In addition, each year at renewal, the College collects basic demographic, geographic, education and employment information, and provides this information to the Ministry of Health (in anonymous form), to assist with evidence-based health human resources planning in Ontario.
We are often asked, ‘How do I demonstrate that I am currently registered?’. The most effective method to confirm your registration status is through the College's Public Register of Ontario’s audiologists and speech-language pathologists, where the information is current and accurate.
It you need to show proof of your registration:
If you are looking for your Tax Receipt for 2021, it will be available to download in your registrant portal account on February 1, 2022.
To avoid suspension, CASLPO registrants who have not yet completed their annual renewal for 2021/2022 must do so before December 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EST, or submit a written request to resign from the College by this date. Please share this with your colleagues!
If your certificate of registration is suspended, you will no longer be authorized to practice audiology or speech-language pathology or use the title(s) “audiologist”, “speech-language pathologist”, or “speech therapist” in Ontario.
A suspension for non-payment of your annual fee may be lifted after payment of a 50% reinstatement fee ($390) along with completion of the renewal online form and payment of the annual fee owed.
Audiology Advisor and Manager of Mentorship
Learn what mentors & mentees have to say about using CASLPO’s Clinical Reasoning Tool to support competency development in new clinicians
As part of its registration requirements, audiologists and speech-language pathologists who hold initial practice certificates (mentees), must complete a mentorship program under the guidance of an experienced colleague (mentor).
For the past year CASLPO mentors and mentees have been using the Clinical Reasoning Tool (CRT) for clinical case discussions as part of the Mentorship Program process. The CRT helps a mentor and mentee to target and improve on clinical reasoning, an important practice-related competency. When surveyed, both groups gave the Tool an overwhelming ‘thumb’s-up’! Below is a summary of the feedback received from 30 mentors and 18 mentees who responded.
The CRT was easy to use
Strongly agree or agree - 96%
I can use the Tool with confidence
Great confidence or confidence -100%
The CRT helped me determine my mentee’s clinical reasoning skills
Strongly agree or agree - 82%
The CRT was easy to use
Strongly agree or agree - 86%
The CRT helped me determine my own clinical reasoning skills
Definitely or mostly yes - 73%
Using the CRT helped me improve my clinical reasoning
All or some parts of the CRT helped- 86%
Insightful comments were received from mentors and mentees about using the Clinical Reasoning Tool:
“I like the framework - it assisted in structuring discussions and setting goals with my mentee”.
“It helped me to highlight for my mentee and build her own confidence in herself and in her clinical reasoning which is so important as a young clinician.”
“…it provided structure to help guide the conversation with the mentee and also ensured that I was approaching these discussions in a standardized way that is comparable to what other mentors are also doing.
“It really helped me as the mentor to not jump in to provide solutions and suggestions but encouraged me instead to listen and allow the mentee to work through the process and provide guidance only as necessary. It supported me in being a better mentor and encouraged more engagement with the mentee. It also helped me to see the mentees progress throughout the mentorship period”.
“It helped me to zero in and pin-point what I wanted to focus on because it asked specific questions”.
“It helped give me a framework to think through cases- and to think about how I think through cases- and help me identify what aspects I could do more of, work on, or improve”.
“The clinical reasoning tools provided me with personal goals to continue my development during the mentorship process”.
The College is committed to promoting consistency in the Mentorship Program by providing training and support for mentors and mentees. A second survey asking about training topics for mentors indicated a high level of interest from mentors in clinical reasoning remediation, which will be the topic of a training module in the fall of 2021.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our mentors for the valuable contribution they make to our professions through the commitment to supporting their newly practicing peers. The College is always looking for new mentors. To learn if you are eligible to be a CASLPO mentor, review the Mentor Criteria.
Director of Professional
Practice & Quality Assurance
Advisor, Professional Practice and Quality Assurance
Why does CASLPO Peer Assess Registrants Annually?
Simple! It’s in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 which makes it mandatory for ALL health colleges to have peer and practice assessments.
Virtual Peer Assessments
In August 2020, the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) of the College Council, approved the piloting of virtual peer assessments, in lieu of annual in-person assessments, for the following reasons:
Eighty-one registrants were randomly selected for peer assessment in 2021 compared to sixty in 2020. There are currently 24 peer assessors (4 audiologists and 20 speech-language pathologists). Sixty-eight peer assessments have been completed so far in 2021.
The virtual peer assessment process in 2021 included the following:
Registrants and peer assessors must first agree on the preferred virtual platform for the peer assessment. Registrants uploaded evidence for 24+ professional standard indicators, including documentation from at least 5 patient records, photographs or videos of equipment, assessment tools, therapy resources prior to the virtual interview or they shared their evidence live (e.g., the registrant gave a tour of the office during the assessment).
Individual anonymous surveys were sent to the registrants (#=37) and the peer assessors (#=14) once the registrants had successfully completed the quality assurance program.
Here’s what the registrants said:
Registrants’ evaluations of their peer assessment were extremely positive:
Registrants commented on some minor technological challenges that were resolved and about the stress they felt preparing for and going into the peer assessment. However, all registrants felt the virtual experience was valuable.
Here's what the Peer Assessors said:
Peer assessors, who have completed both in-person and virtual peer assessments over the years, provided valuable insight into their experiences. Although it was noted that it was a very stressful year to undergo a peer assessment, comments were significantly positive, underscoring the effectiveness of the virtual approach.
The survey results from the pilot of ‘virtual’ annual peer assessments in 2021 indicated the following:
Thank you to the registrants and peer assessors who completed the surveys and provided valuable feedback. Improvements to CASLPO’s Quality Assurance Program take place on an annual basis to ensure that registrants are meeting the professional standards, maintaining their professional development, and providing quality patient centered care.
Do you want to know more on why CASLPO has annual peer assessments?
The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 states that all health professional Colleges are required to have an annual quality assurance program that includes peer assessments of a portion of the registrant population.
Every year, audiologists and speech-language pathologists enhance their knowledge and skills using a Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), which includes:
In addition, peer assessments are carried out annually as a means to protect the public by ensuring audiologists and speech language pathologists (SLPs) are practising in ways that meet the professional standard requirements set by the regulatory College.
The College randomly selects audiologists and speech-language pathologists for a peer assessment. Historically, an experienced peer assessor visited the registrant’s place of work to ensure they were meeting the standards and to identify areas for improvement. We are so excited to move to virtual peer assessments going forward, following the pilot.
We look forward to any additional feedback you can provide on improving the Peer Assessment component of the Quality Assurance Program. You can contact us at [email protected].
By Dana Prutschi, Director of Professional Practice & Quality Assurance
Topics for upcoming E-Forums include the updated Code of Ethics and Audiological Assessments Standards. Fulsome survey feedback was received from public, registrants and other stakeholders that informed revisions. Watch for e-forum details to get answers to your questions and comments.
We would like to thank the public and our registrants for taking the time to provide their valuable feedback on the documents. There will be two e-forums coming up before the end of 2021 on each of the documents to address questions and provide information on how the revised Code of Ethics and Audiological Assessments Standards can be applied in practice. Stay tuned!
By Margaret Drent, Director of Professional Conduct and General Counsel & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer (Acting)
Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program (SCERP) – things you need to know
Registrants have approached CASLPO’s Professional Conduct staff with questions about Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Programs (SCERPs). A SCERP may be ordered by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) of the College Council to address significant practice concerns relating to a Registrant by using non-disciplinary means. In making this decision, the ICRC will design a SCERP that is responsive to the particular issues raised in the complaint or report concerning the Registrant.
SCERPs can include the following components:
A SCERP can relate to any area of non-compliance with the College’s requirements by a registrant, such as:
The SCERP must also be completed within a specific timeframe -- for example, six months.
The cost of a SCERP is borne by the registrant.
The name of the practice monitor, if one is involved, and their hourly rate, will be provided to the registrant. The practice monitor provides a report to CASLPO about the registrant’s progress with the SCERP. The Registrar must be satisfied that the registrant has successfully completed the SCERP in order for the matter to be considered closed.
The applicable legislation requires CASLPO to post SCERPs on the CASLPO Public Register of audiologists and speech-language pathologists. The notation will include the name of the Registrant, the date of the ICRC decision, and a brief summary of the concerns.
If the SCERP involves workplace practice monitoring, it is the Registrant’s responsibility to notify the employer that the practice monitor will be visiting the workplace. This is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping Your Information Current in the Public Register
During its review of complaint and report files, the ICRC has noticed that in some cases registrants have not updated CASLPO’s Public Register to include their most recent practice information or have not removed information about practice locations at which they no longer work.
Registrants are responsible for keeping their information current. This is important to ensure public protection, as the public needs to know where a registrant practises. The requirement to keep your practice address(es) information current in the CASLPO Public Register specified in the Health Professions Procedural Code, Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act and CASLPO By-Law 2. You can update your information on CASLPO’s Registrant Portal.