In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted Ontarioâ€™s professional regulators, health colleges and compulsory trades (hereinafter regulators). For the most part, these organizations were able to pivot quickly to address novel and unprecedented challenges. In many cases, however, the response to the pandemic caused serious implications for applicants. The most common example involved the decision to cancel knowledge-based and/or clinical examinations, administered either by regulators or third-party service providers.
Given the importance of these issues, in November 2020, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) distributed a pulse survey to all regulators to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on their assessment and registration processes.
In addition, our office asked what role it could play to assist regulators in dealing with the new reality. This role could include, for example, disseminating best practices on technology-related issues, scheduling webinars and learning opportunities, and/or building communities of interest.
The survey results confirmed that there are high levels of resilience in the sector. There is also a great desire to develop creative and lasting solutions to address the issues arising from the pandemic. The results also pointed to several topics that require further attention and underscored a willingness among regulators to work with the OFC to explore these matters.
What follows is a high-level summary of the survey results, as well as next steps that the OFC plans to take to address these findings. The OFC will publish a more detailed analysis on its website in the upcoming weeks.