Note: This article was originally posted in our April 2018 newsletter, and has not been updated.
Dear midwives, stakeholders, and members of the public,
This March, your College of Midwives of Ontario Council proposed a registration fee increase. If approved, this increase would bring the fees to $2150 for general class of registration and $1075 for inactive class of registration, effective for this year’s renewal. We would then move to increasing the annual fees by inflation, at 2% per year. While this was not an easy decision, it is necessary in order for the College to continue fulfilling its mandate of public protection and meeting the cost of regulation.
Twenty-five years ago, this December, midwifery first became regulated in Ontario as a result of a public campaign by midwives and their clients. Since then, the College has been protecting the integrity of our profession, ensuring that all midwives in Ontario are skilled, qualified and competent to provide safe, client-centred, accountable and ethical care.
As midwives, we have the privilege of self-regulation that recognizes that we are in the best position to determine standards of education and practice, and to take action when these standards are not met. Midwives serving on our Council, along with public members, make sure that policy and other decisions are made in the public interest, but with an understanding of how midwives practise in Ontario. Your Council makes decisions that affect the way midwives work and influences public policy.
At this moment, the College has submitted proposals to the government to amend the Designated Drugs Regulation and the Laboratories Regulation to allow midwives to prescribe drugs and order all relevant labs within their scope of practice. Recently, we put forward changes that have resulted in midwives being able to perform ultrasounds. We have submitted changes to the Quality Assurance Regulation to be able to better support midwives to maintain their knowledge and skills throughout their careers. At its March meeting, the Council approved the Professional Standards for Midwives that will reduce regulatory barriers and will give midwives the autonomy to organize their practice in a way that better meets the needs of their clients considering their practice size and their client base. In addition to revising the College’s prescriptive standards, we will be proposing significant changes to our Registration Regulation to revoke active practice requirements and to focus on maintaining midwifery competence instead. These are some of the concrete ways that self-regulation is in our interest.
Our fees cover the work that the College does; setting standards for the profession; registering new midwives and renewing existing members; administering the quality assurance program; and handling complaints and discipline cases; among other functions. These all work together to create a system of professional regulation, where Ontario families know that when they opt for a midwife, they are getting a professional that they can trust.
For the College to continue being able to do this work, your Council has decided that member fees must increase this year. While we know a fee increase is not anyone’s first choice, the College must be able to continue to fulfill our duties effectively. The College’s mandate and the scope of its work is set by our governing legislation and we must ensure we have the necessary resources in place to support our core functions to be able to govern the profession in the public interest.
Tiffany Haidon RM
College of Midwives of Ontario