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COA Standards of Practice Review

Changes to Standards of Practice – Bill 10

The Health Professions (Protecting Women and Girls) Amendment Act, formerly Bill 10, aims to protect the health and safety of women and girls by strengthening existing laws that ban female genital mutilation (FGM) in Alberta. Bill 10 requires all health profession regulatory colleges to adopt appropriate standards of practice to address the procurement or performance of FGM.

FGM involves the injury to or partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Classified as aggravated assault in the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a serious crime that can cause life-long health problems. In the context of the opticianry profession, which does not include a scope of practice associated with the cutting of body tissue, opticians as healthcare professionals should nevertheless be aware of the definition and consequences of FGM, maintain appropriate professional boundaries with patients, and ensure that they report cases of FGM to the proper authorities.

Standard 8, Professional Boundaries, of the COA Standards of Practice has been revised to incorporate the requirements of Bill 10. The revisions have been tracked in blue, underlined font for ease of review. Revisions include (1) adding the statutory definition of FGM; (2) adding a new section 8.5 specific to FGM; and (3) incorporating FGM into section 8.6 with respect to the duty to report cases of FGM.

These revisions will be posted for member feedback for 30 days from January to February 2023. Members are encouraged to review the changes and notify the College of any questions or feedback. While the changes to the Standards of Practice are mandatory due to Bill 10, member feedback is still very important to ensure the changes are captured clearly and correctly in the standards.

Review and Comment

Click here to review the COA’s draft Standards of Practice reflecting the changes required by Bill 10. If you have questions or comments, please contact our CEO and Registrar, Jennifer Bertrand, at or 587-760-1884.