ONA’s Legal Expense Assistance Plan (LEAP) was established in 1980 to help you with legal or regulatory body problems relating to your work. This includes problems that arise under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).
Our LEAP Team
ONA’s LEAP Team comprises professionals with backgrounds in law and nursing. Members may also be referred to external counsel when necessary. French language representation is available.
ONA’s LEAP Advisory Team reviews and reports on LEAP operations. It consists of the ONA First Vice-President, Political Action and Professional Issues, and front-line ONA members.
LEAP is here to help you with the following situations:
- Complaints or reports to the college (regulatory body) about your professional practice including addiction and mental health issues; appeals of regulatory body decisions.
- Complaints or reports to the Information and Information and Privacy Commissioner under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA); appeals of Privacy Commissioner orders. Defense against prosecutions under PHIPA.
- If you’re called as a witness in a criminal case.
- Coroner’s investigations and inquests.
- Defending you against criminal prosecution arising from a job-related incident.
- Investigations under the Long-Term Care Homes Act.
For details relating to the conditions of the coverage, please refer to the plan itself.
All registered nurses, graduate nurses and allied health professionals for whom ONA is the bargaining agent, and who are regularly paying dues, are covered by the plan. For newly organized members who are not yet paying dues, coverage may be purchased at a nominal fee.
Eligibility is limited to matters arising from incidents which occur in the course of your employment as a registered or graduate nurse, or allied health professional. The incident must have occurred at a workplace for which ONA is the bargaining agent.
Frequently Asked Questions
I received a letter from an investigator at the College of Nurses of Ontario. The letter notes that the College received a complaint about my practice, but asks me not to respond at this time. Should I call LEAP now, or wait until I receive further instructions from the College?
You should always contact LEAP as soon as possible if you receive notice of a complaint or report about your practice. Please do not respond to the College in any way yourself. LEAP will arrange for a representative to respond to the College on your behalf.
I received a letter from the Executive Director of College of Nurses of Ontario regarding a report they received from my former employer. She writes that she has reviewed the report and determined that an investigation is not currently warranted. Should I respond to the letter? Should I call LEAP?
You should not respond to the letter in any way. If you provide additional information, it could prompt the Executive Director to request a meeting with you or to investigate your practice. This is the best possible outcome from an employer report.
You do not need to notify LEAP that you received the letter. Call LEAP for advice if you have questions or concerns regarding the correspondence you received.
Yesterday, a police constable called the hospital looking for me. He left a message asking me to call him regarding a patient I triaged who is a suspect in a criminal investigation. Do I need representation?
No. If you are being questioned as a witness and not as a suspect you do not require representation. However, there are a few things you should do before providing any information to the police:
- You should request assurance that you are not suspected of any criminal wrongdoing.
- You should ensure that proper authorization is in place for you to disclose personal health information regarding the patient. If the police do not have signed consent or a warrant to obtain the information, you must obtain authorization from your employer first.
- You should review your charting and any prior statements to the police regarding the patient.
The LEAP Guide contains general advice for members participating as a witness. Call LEAP Intake (416-964-8833 or toll free 1-800-387-5580) for advice if you have questions or concerns regarding the request.
I’ve just been terminated by my employer. In the meeting, the employer representatives said they must report me to the College. If my grievance settlement includes resignation in lieu of termination, is my employer still required to report me? If they do, will the College still consider the report even though I wasn’t terminated? Do I need to contact LEAP now?
Employers are obligated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) to report the reasons for terminating a regulated health-care professional to their respective College within 30 days. The obligation remains if the employer intended to terminate the health-care professional, but did not because she/he resigned.
The College’s mandate is to ensure that nurses are practicing according to standards and to address any breaches appropriately. The outcome of your labour relations proceeding will not likely have any impact on the College’s consideration of the information they receive regarding your practice.
It’s not mandatory to call LEAP as soon as you are terminated. It is very important that you call LEAP Intake as soon as you receive correspondence from the College regarding the report, and that you not respond to the College yourself. LEAP will arrange for a representative to respond to the College on your behalf.
Call LEAP Intake (416-964-8833 or toll free 1-800-387-5580) if you would like information on how the College addresses employer reports, and the assistance that LEAP provides. Information is also available in the LEAP Guide.