Note: This article was originally posted in our Autumn 2018 newsletter, and has not been updated.
Clients and the public recognize professional titles because they indicate competence and fitness to practise and mean belonging to a profession. There is a risk to client safety and public protection when unqualified individuals hold themselves out as registered professionals. Health professional regulators, including the College of Midwives of Ontario, have a duty to ensure protection for clients and the public, and tackling title misuse is an important part of this. The College will take action, including legal action, to protect the use of professional titles in situations where title misuse has been identified.
The Midwifery Act, 1991 (Act) restricts the use of both professional titles and representation of midwifery qualifications.
The Act states: “No person other than a member shall use the title “midwife”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language.”
The above provision means that only those who hold a certificate of registration issued by the College, i.e. College members, are permitted to use the restricted titles, such as “midwife” or “RM”.
Representation of Qualifications
The Act also states that: “No person other than a member shall hold himself or herself out as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as a midwife or in a specialty of midwifery.”
This provision means that only those who hold a certificate of registration issued by the College, i.e. College members, and midwifery students are permitted to hold themselves out as people who can to practise in Ontario.
It is important to note that while students are permitted to provide care within the midwifery scope of practice before they become registered with the College, they are not permitted to use the restricted title “midwife” or “RM” or any other variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language. Acceptable alternatives are “midwifery student” or “student of midwifery”.
Exception for Indigenous Midwives
The only exception under the Act is an Indigenous person who provides traditional midwifery services. Pursuant to the Act, they may use the title “Aboriginal Midwife” or a variation, abbreviation or an equivalent in another language, and may hold themselves out as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as an Aboriginal Midwife.