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A prescription for human rights in medicine

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In 2008, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons created a human rights policy for its members. In doing so, the College applied some of the points raised by the Commission in earlier discussions on its guidelines for starting and ending doctor-patient relationships.

The College asks doctors to make sure their policies, practices and decisions are free of bias and discrimination. This policy does not force doctors to provide services beyond their clinical expertise, but says they can’t choose to provide a service to some people and not others based on Code grounds. Where patients need care that falls outside a doctor’s competence, the OHRC encourages doctors to consider providing basic care and making referrals to specialists to meet other needs.

The College also advises them to make sure they do not make professional decisions based on personal moral or religious beliefs in a way that has a discriminatory impact on people protected by Code grounds.

The Commission also worked with the College on revising the accreditation process for foreign-trained doctors, and will continue to promote medical services that are respectful, inclusive and non-discriminatory.

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