8 Things You’re Entitled to at Your Health-Care Appointments


When it comes to your health care, how do you view yourself? You’re not just a patient or client but a health consumer. For any consumer, it’s important to understand and exercise your rights.

In Ontario, you can expect certain standards of care and service when dealing with regulated health professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic has in some cases led to an increase in virtual care and services provided by health professionals, and your rights still apply to virtual care. Here are eight things you’re entitled to:

1. Competent, safe and ethical care that meets professional standards. In Ontario, there are 26 health regulatory colleges that oversee more than 350,000 health professionals. The colleges are not schools. They are regulators that set the requirements for entering the profession, create practice standards, require practitioners to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date, and enforce standards of practice and conduct. This helps ensure you receive a high quality of care.

2. Participation in your care. It’s your right to ask questions, and get clear explanations of your health issues and treatment options. This includes discussions about whether or not care or service should be provided virtually. That’s a fundamental part of being involved in your healthcare.

3. Informed consent. It means that after receiving an explanation, you can agree to or refuse any proposed procedure, for any reason, at any time. You must also consent to receiving care and services virtually, and your health professional must explain the benefits and risks to receiving care or service virtually.

4. A second opinion. You have the right to seek advice from another health professional.

5. Your health professional’s record. You can easily access information about their registration with a health regulatory college. Each college has a public register that lists health professionals’ qualifications, special designations, restrictions on their practice (if any), professional misconduct findings, and more. For a link to the colleges, visit ontariohealthregulators.ca

6. Privacy. You can be assured that your personal health information remains confidential. At the same time, you have the right to view and get a copy of that information.

7. An open discussion of costs and fees. Your healthcare provider should explain anything you’re paying for. It should also be clear on invoices that care or service was provided virtually.

8. Voice any concerns about the care you have received. Through a regulatory health college, you can raise any issues about your care, and formally complain if desired. The colleges protect the public by holding regulated health professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.

Learn more by visiting the ontariohealthregulators.ca website, which represents the 26 health regulatory colleges that collectively oversee more than 350,000 healthcare professionals in Ontario. Learn. Find. Get help. Be heard.