Note: This article was originally posted in our August 2017 newsletter, and has not been updated.
The College of Midwives of Ontario committed to reshaping our approach to regulation in 2016. Instead of prescriptive, “rules-based” regulation, we are moving towards risk-based regulation.
As part of our move towards risk-based regulation, we developed a rigorous approach to policy making to ensure that policy decisions are based on a proper evaluation of risk, solid evidence, and a thorough analysis of options and impacts.
This process ensures that regulatory tools are not adopted as the default solution but rather introduced to mitigate risk when other nonregulatory options are unable to deliver the desired results.
The College has a number of different forms of authority to regulate and guide the profession, including acts or statutes, regulations, by-laws, standards of practice and policies.
We also have non-regulatory tools available to use; information and education instruments developed with a simple objective of providing information or raising awareness of a particular issue. These instruments are often introduced to reinforce regulatory measures. Unlike regulatory tools, information and education instruments do not impose any requirements or restrictions; rather, information is available for practitioners to use if they find it relevant and useful.
We have defined all of our regulatory tools and non-regulatory tools, to help us determine which tool is best for which end result.You can read the definitions of these tools here.
Our Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Statement is our new tool for policy development.
Our regulatory impact assessment is an assessment of the expected impact of each regulatory or policy initiative that must be done before any regulatory measure is introduced or revised. The results of this analysis are, in effect, a justification of the need for regulation. Regulatory impact assessment is designed to help decision-makers (e.g. staff, Committees):
1. Understand the impact of decisions;
2. Structure ideas,
3. Test assumptions; and
4. Think beyond a regulation-based solution as the default.
Every policy proposal designed to introduce a regulatory tool must be accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) statement. This tool is designed to encourage rigour and better policy outcomes from the beginning and addresses the following questions:
1. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Is it about risk of harm?
2. Are the risks you have identified currently managed?
3. Are there any alternatives to regulation that mitigate identified risks? Can the issue be resolved locally?
4. Will the burden imposed by regulation be greater than the benefits of regulation?
5. What regulatory measures are you recommending to introduce?
6. How are you planning to implement and evaluate your proposed policy option?