Apologies in the Healing Process: The Apology Act, 2008
Submission on Bill 108 to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy
February 17, 2009
RNAO Submission on Bill 108
Summary of Recommendations
RNAO recommends that the Committee members support Bill 108, the Apology Act, without amendment.
RNAO recommends that education programs for health-care professionals be implemented that include how to best to effect an apology when a medical error or adverse incident has occurred and the legal, ethical and professional obligations that may apply.
RNAO recommends that the Government implement the recommendation of the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) that all regulated health professionals be required to have and maintain professional liability insurance so as to ensure health care providers can speak freely and openly without the uncertainty that open communication in the patients’ interest might impact negatively on coverage.
RNAO recommends that the Government give priority to measures that increase access to the civil justice system, with full consideration given to the factors leading to inequitable access.
RNAO recommends that the protection of apologies in civil proceedings not be allowed to trivialize or otherwise lessen the value of formal apologies to Aboriginal people for past injustice.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional organization for registered nurses who practise in all roles and sectors across this province. Our mandate is to advocate for healthy public policy and for the role of registered nurses in enhancing the health of Ontarians. We welcome this opportunity to present this submission on Bill 108, the Apology Act, 108, to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.
Registered nurses join many in the health professions in applauding apology legislation that allows people to freely apologize for a mistake or wrongdoing without the uncertainty or fear that the apology could be used in a lawsuit against them or that an insurer will use the apology to withhold coverage.
The RNAO appreciates the initiative of David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, who introduced the Apology Act as a private member’s bill, and the support of the Attorney General, the Hon. Chris Bentley, who brought forward the legislation in its present form.
See the full submission  including references.