Taking responsibility for decisions and actions, including those undertaken independently and collectively as a member of the healthcare team; accepting the consequences of decisions and actions and acting on the basis of what is in the best interest of the patient/client.

Apology/ Apology Act

An expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that a person is sorry or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit fault or imply an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate. The 2009 Apology Act aims to increase transparent and open communication among health care professionals, patients and the public. (Apology Act, 2009)


Recognizing that a patient/client has the right to accept or reject any Respiratory Therapist and any care recommended or ordered.

Circle of Care

The term “circle of care” is not a defined term under the PHIPA or the federal privacy legislation, the Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The term emerged in a series of questions and answers developed by Industry Canada called the PIPEDA Awareness Raising Tools (PARTs) initiative for the Health Sector. There it was defined as follows:


The expression includes the individuals and activities related to the care and treatment of a patient/client. Thus, it covers the healthcare providers who deliver care and services for the primary therapeutic benefit of the patient/client and it covers related activities such as laboratory work and professional or case consultation with other healthcare providers.


Having the requisite knowledge, skills and judgement/abilities to perform safely, effectively and ethically and applying that knowledge, skills and judgement/abilities to ensure safe, effective and ethical outcomes for the patient/client.


In Canada, a healthcare professional owes an ethical and legal duty of confidentiality to his or her patients. However, this right of confidentially is not absolute. A health information custodian may disclose personal health information if they reasonably believe there is a risk of harm [PHIPA s.40(1)].

Consent & Capacity Review Board (CCRB)

An independent body created by the provincial government of Ontario under the Health Care Consent Act.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest exists where a Respiratory Therapist engages in any private or personal business, undertaking or other activity or has a relationship in which,

  • the Respiratory Therapist’s private or personal interest directly or indirectly conflicts, may conflict or may reasonably be perceived as conflicting with their duties or responsibilities as a healthcare professional; and/or
  • the Respiratory Therapist’s private or personal interest directly or indirectly influences, may influence, or may reasonably be perceived as influencing, the exercise of the member’s professional duties or responsibilities.

It is important to note that a conflict of interest may be actual or apparent (perceived).

Critical incidents

An unintended event that occurs when a patient/client receives treatment in the hospital that results in death, injury or harm to the patient/client and does not result primarily from the patient/client’s underlying medical condition or from a known risk inherent in providing the treatment. (Ont. Reg. 423/07, 2007)

Ethical/ Ethical Framework

Relating to accepted professional standards of conduct; of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behaviour.

Health Care Consent Act (HCCA)

The HCCA outlines the requirement for healthcare professionals who proposes a treatment or plan of care to ensure that they receive informed consent from the patient/client or their substitute decision maker before proceeding.

Health Information Custodian

Defined in PIHIPA as “a person or organization who has custody of control of personal health information” [PHIPA, s.3(1)]. This is generally the employer.

Healthcare Team

Peers, colleagues, and other healthcare professional (regulated and non-regulated).

Human Rights Code

Respiratory Therapists have a responsibility to understand and respect individuals regardless of differences that may include but are not limited to: race; ancestry; place of origin; colour; ethnic origin; citizenship; creed; sex; sexual orientation; age; marital status; family status or disability. (Ont. Human Rights Code, 1990)


Judgement is the cognitive process of reaching a decision or making an observation.


Is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a function.

Known Capable Wishes

The Health Care Consent Act (HCCA) refers to “know capable wishes”, which refers to the expressed wishes of a patient/client. This legislation recognizes that any individual, while capable, may express their wishes with respect to treatment decisions that are to be made on his or her behalf if he or she becomes incapable.

Near Misses

These particular occurrences are identified as errors but do not result in harm to the patient/client. Therefore, they may not require disclosure to patients/clients in all cases and is generally dealt with at an organizational level. The aim is to identify the error and seek to correct the reason for it’s occurance (e.g., system errors).


An individual who requires care (and can include or their substitute decision maker).

Professional Relationships

Relationship that a healthcare professional engages in with peer and colleagues in order to carry out their professional duties.

Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA)

Legislation passed in 1991 that sets out the general purpose of the regulatory model for health professionals in Ontario. It identifies the 14 controlled acts that are potentially harmful if performed by unqualified persons and sets out the list of which professions will be self governed under the Act.


Having significant and demonstrable bearing.

Respiratory Therapist (RT)/ Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)

Refers to Graduate (GRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) who have completed an approved course of study and successfully passed the Canadian Board of Respiratory Care (CBRC) examination.

Respiratory Therapy Act (RTA)

Legislation passed in 1991 which outlines, among other things, the scope of practice of the profession of Respiratory Therapy in Ontario and the controlled act that are authorized to RTs.

Substitute Decision Maker (SDM)

Sometimes required to assist with decision-making for a patient/client in hospital who is
considered mentally incapable to make care or treatment decisions. The Health Care Consent Act contains a guide to identifying who the legally authorized SDM is, based on hierarchy of people. The highest-ranking person on the hierarchy who is willing and able to make decisions regarding healthcare for the patient/client becomes the SDM. (HCCA, 1996)

Surge Response Strategies

Utilized to ensure that those most likely to benefit from care will be able to receive it. Examples to strategies are adherence to the triage principles, patient/client and staff reallocation and alterations in standards of care.

Therapeutic Relationship

Relationship that a healthcare professional engages in with patient/client as well as their family members in order to carry out their professional duties.


The act of being easily understood, free from deceit and straightforward in all interactions, sharing of information and knowledge, and outcomes.