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At a glance: Ontario’s College Performance Measurement Framework defines new regulatory reporting standards

In 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, which oversees the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), introduced the College Performance Measurement Framework (CPMF). The purpose of the new tool is to improve public protection with a new set of standardized reporting requirements for the twenty-six health regulatory Colleges that oversee twenty-eight professions.

The CPFM has seven measurement domains: governance, resources, system partner, information management, regulatory policies, suitability to practice, and measurement, reporting and improvement.

Bill Campbell, media relations representative from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s communication division, says the CPMF was created collaboratively by the Ministry, the Colleges, members of the public, and subject matter experts.

“The CPMF has supported the collection of baseline data to better respond to the question ‘How do we know that Colleges are executing their mandate to act in the public interest?’” Campbell adds. It provides for continuous improvement by “identifying and reporting on commendable practices among peers,” according to the Ontario’s health website.

The website also outlines the following components of CPMF:

• Measurement domains: Critical attributes of an excellent health regulator in Ontario.

• Standards: Performance-based activities that a College is expected to achieve and against which a College will be measured.

• Measures: More specific requirements to demonstrate and enable the assessment of how a College achieves a Standard.

• Evidence: Decisions, activities, processes, or the quantifiable results that are being used to demonstrate and assess a College’s achievement of a standard.

• Context Measures: Statistical data Colleges report that will provide context about a College’s performance related to a Standard.

• Planned Improvement Activities: Initiatives a College commits to implement over the next reporting period to improve its performance on one or more standards, where appropriate.

Erin Tilley, manager of regulatory policy and research at The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), says system partner has been instrumental in addressing public interest and patient safety by working with other partners in the system.

“We collaborated with the Ministry of Long-Term Care to address staffing issues in long-term care,” Tilley said. “We also partnered with employers for the Supervised Practice Experience [Partnership], to support internationally educated nurses who are applying to register in the province who don’t already meet registration requirements.”

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) have also made strides in the implementation of the CPMF. Daniel Faulkner, registrar and CEO of the RCDSO, says the CPMF gave the College a comprehensive picture of their regulatory performance, along with a baseline to evaluate improvements overtime.

Faulkner says that virtually every area of the College’s regulatory performance became subject to public reporting. He says this led to areas of interest to not only be identified for continuous improvement, but the development of solutions to meet these challenges head-on.

“The implementation helped identify areas in need of attention, such as timelines for processing complaints and Registrar’s investigations,” Faulkner said. “There were also specific ways to improve our governance, such as clear conflict of interest declarations and training for Council members,” Faulkner said.

“A big change between the CPMF in 2020 compared to 2021, in relation to changing public expectations, are more standards and measures related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,”

Both Tilley and Faulkner say that as public expectations for regulators evolve, the CPMF will as well. One of the central focuses of the CPMF going into the future is to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion measures, Faulkner says.

“A big change between the CPMF in 2020 compared to 2021, in relation to changing public expectations, are more standards and measures related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Tilley said.

Faulkner says the CPMF remains critical for the RCDSO’s operations, as it’s become part of how meaningful, public-interest progress is focused on every day. He says that, in terms of overall importance, the CPFM allows for more transparency in Ontario’s health-care system, and, by extension, enhances public protection.

As for the long-term viability of the framework, Campbell says future reporting cycles will identify practice-based frameworks within the CPMF that will be used to measure and assess regulatory excellence.

Colleges that use the CPMF to identify opportunities will be able to sustain their operations and ensure areas of accountability and transparency to the public remain clear. Tilley says that, for example, the 2020 report showcased how commendable practices could lead to regulators continuously learning from each other to meet their own, respective mandate.

“I feel like those commendable practices are a real opportunity to be inspired,” Tilley said. “It [ the CPMF] really feels like a gift at your fingertips since you know exactly where consistent and transparent information will be found. You can always identify what’s happening across the province and learn and potentially collaborate with one another.”