An essential element of safe, competent and ethical care requires Respiratory Therapists (RT) to place patient/client interests above their own personal and financial interests. The patient/client and RT relationship is fiduciary (duty of loyalty, good faith and diligence) in nature and is built on trust. This trust is very important and should not be undermined by a conflict of interest or even the perception of a conflict of interest.
The Conflict of Interest regulation, which is within the General Ontario Regulation (O. Reg. 596/94) established under the Respiratory Therapy Act (RTA), was approved in 2013. This regulation clearly states that “a Member shall not practice the profession while in a conflict of interest”. Practising the profession while in a conflict of interest is considered to be professional misconduct under the Professional Misconduct regulation (O. Reg. 753/93). Therefore, ideally RTs should not place themselves (or allow themselves to be placed) in any situation where there is an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest. However, every scenario is unique, making it difficult to clearly define every possible set of circumstances where a conflict of interest might exist in advance. The intent of this Professional Practice Guideline (PPG) is therefore to provide Members with key factors to consider when determining if a conflict of interest is present, and then apply these factors to their specific situation.
Please note that words and phrases in bold lettering are cross-referenced in the Glossary at the end of the document.
This guideline is divided into three primary sections:
2. Identifying a Conflict of Interest
3. Preventing a Conflict of Interest