Alleged Acts of Sexual Abuse Pre-Bill 87: Will Bill 87 Apply?
Bill 87 (the “Bill”), which contains significant amendments to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (“RHPA”), passed first reading in the Ontario legislature in December 2016. Although the Bill is not yet law, if and when it is enacted, there will be some important changes to the way in which RHPA Colleges deal with allegations of sexual abuse.
Under the Bill, a broader scope of conduct will be considered sexual abuse, and more acts of sexual abuse will result in mandatory revocation. This raises the question: how should Colleges deal with allegations of sexual abuse when the events in question pre-dated these new amendments? Is the member subject to the old RHPA provisions, or might the new provisions apply to the allegations?
The answer? It depends. The law on the application of new legislative provisions to prior conduct is complex and often inconsistent. This bulletin outlines two situations in which this question is likely to arise but it is impossible to give an answer that encompasses every situation, and the discussion below will not apply to all scenarios. As always, Colleges would be wise to consult with legal counsel to determine the appropriate way to proceed in any particular case.