Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest exists when an RT is in a position where their professional judgement, or duty to their patient/client could be compromised, or could be perceived to be compromised, by a personal relationship, commercial interest or financial benefit. A conflict of interest may be actual, potential or perceived.


Actual Conflict of Interest – means that something has happened to influence an RT’s professional judgment during their practice.


Potential Conflict of Interest – occurs when a reasonable person, would conclude that an RT might fail to fulfill their professional obligation to act in the best interest of the client.


Perceived Conflict of Interest – where a reasonable person may conclude that the RT’s professional judgment has been improperly influenced, even if that is not actually the case.


A benefit may be described as a financial or non-financial consideration that might directly or indirectly influence, or appear to influence, an RT’s professional judgment and/or objectivity.


Financial Benefit – considered a tangible conflict because it can be seen and measured (e.g., rebate, credit, gift, profit, business interests).

Example… Being offered a commission for every patient that is added to a company’s roster.


Non-Financial Benefit – may include a personal gain or advantage that may influence treatment decisions or clinical activities (e.g., a patient/client provides an RT with a letter of reference for a research grant application).

A conflict of interest cannot be avoided by moving the benefit to a related person or a related company. In other words, in considering whether or not an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest exists, an RT must acknowledge that benefits to a related person or a related company are also benefits to them.


Agreement: a revenue, fee or income sharing arrangement.

Fiduciary: a relationship based on trust and confidence

Member: refers to a Respiratory Therapist (RT) who is registered with the CRTO as either a Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT), Practical (limited) Respiratory Therapist (PRT) or Graduate Respiratory Therapists (GRT).

Professional misconduct: as defined in the Professional Misconduct Regulation (O. Reg. 753/93), which was established under the Respiratory Therapy Act.

Reasonable person: an individual who is neutral and informed

Relationship: in the course of their practice, RTs engage in therapeutic (patient/client) and professional relationships (students, colleagues, coworkers) .

Related person: means any person connected with a member by blood relationship, marriage, common-law or adoption, and

    • persons are connected by blood relationship if one is the child or other descendant of the other or one is the brother or sister of the other;
    • persons are connected by marriage if one is married to the other or to a person who is connected by blood relationship to the other;
    • persons are connected by common-law if the persons have, for a period of not less than three years, cohabited in a relationship of some permanence; and
    • persons are connected by adoption if one has been adopted, either legally or in fact, as the child of the other or as the child of a person who is so connected by blood relationship.

Related company: means a company, corporation or business partnership or entity that is owned or controlled, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by a person or another person related to the person.


  1. College of Nurses of Ontario. Professional Conduct (2019). Retrieved from:
  2. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Physicians’ Relationship with Industry:  Practice, Education and Research (2014). Retrieved from:
  3. General, O Reg 596/94, retrieved on October 20, 2021. Retrieved from  
  4. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice; Lo B, Field MJ, editors. Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009. Summary. Retrieved from: