The Health Professions Act provides additional requirements for the CAA when dealing with complaints of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct.

Sexual abuse is defined as: the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a regulated member towards a patient that is of a sexual nature and includes any of the following conduct,

  1. Sexual intercourse between a regulated member and a patient of that regulated member,
  2. Genital to genital, genital to anal, oral to genital, or oral to anal contact between a regulated member and a patient of the regulated member,
  3. Masturbation of a regulated member by, or in the presence of, a patient of that regulated member,
  4. Masturbation of a regulated member by that regulated member,
  5. Encouraging a regulated member’s patient or masturbate in the presence of that regulated member, or
  6. Touching of a sexual nature of a patient’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks by a regulated member.

Sexual misconduct is defined as: any incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, behavior or remarks of a sexual nature by a regulated member towards a patient that the regulated member knows or ought to reasonably know will or would cause offence or humiliation to the patient or adversely affect the patient’s health and well-being but does not include sexual abuse. 

Sexual Nature does not include any conduct behavior or remarks that are appropriate to the service provided. 

A Patient is any individual who seeks health services from a registered acupuncturist and has provided their personal health information and who the registered acupuncturist has undertaken consultation, diagnosis &/or treatment.

What to expect

Once the CAA receives a complaint about a member that relates to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,

  1. A staff member will contact the complainant to discuss the process,
  2. The complainant and regulated member will be advised that an investigation into the complaint will be conducted. Complaints may not be resolved through an informal process.
  3. The complainant will be provided with information regarding eligibility for treatment and funding for counseling along with information about the program,
  4. A thorough investigation will be conducted and an investigation report will be submitted to the complaints director for a decision regarding whether or not there is sufficient evidence of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,
  5. The complaint director will advise the complainant and the member of the decision which can be to dismiss the complaint or to refer the complaint to a hearing,
  6. If the complaint has been referred to a hearing, the Notice of Hearing will contain the specific allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,
  7. The complainant may be required to provide evidence as a witness and they will be given an opportunity to provide a victim impact statement
  8. The hearing will be open to the public, but there may be consideration to closing all or a portion of the hearing as appropriate,
  9. The tribunal will make a decision to either dismiss the complaint if the evidence is insufficient or to impose conditions if there is a finding of unprofessional conduct. 
  10. Some conditions are mandatory.  If there is a finding of sexual abuse, there is a mandatory cancellation of the member’s permit.  If there is a finding of sexual misconduct this requires a mandatory suspension of the member’s practice permit.  Additional appropriate conditions will be imposed.

Patient relations program

A patient/complainant is eligible for funding for relevant treatment &/or counseling.  They will be required to consent to the treatment. 

  1. Funding may only be used to pay for treatment/counseling related to the complaint and provided by a licensed therapist or counsellor.
  2. Homewood Health has been contracted to provide this service to CAA complainants and they will be provided with information confirming a complainant’s eligibility for funding & counseling.
  3. Funding can only be provided to a maximum of $22,500 or for a maximum term of 5 years, whichever comes first.
  4. Funding will be discontinued if the complaint is dismissed by the complaints director or a tribunal makes a dismissal finding.  The complaint is not required to repay funds already expended. 

Additional Resources

There are a number of resources that are available to help you obtain the supports and resources that you need:

  • Standard of Practice- Sexual Abuse/Misconduct
  • Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services www.aasas.ca
  • My Health Alberta (search “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse”)
  • Health Link Alberta- Dial 811
  • Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton www.sace.ca
  • Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse www.calgarycasa.com
  • Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team information line 403.955.6030
  • Mental Health Help Line 1.877.303.2642
  • Connect: Family & Sexual Abuse Network www.connectnetwork.ca
  • 211 Alberta (24 hour information and referral service- search “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse”)
  • You can also reach 211 Alberta call centres toll-free by calling
    • Calgary: Central and Southern Alberta 1.855.266.1605
    • Edmonton: Northern Alberta 1.888.482.4696

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