Infection Control Complaints

Public Health is mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) to annually inspect personal service settings to ensure they are maintaining proper infection control practices as per the Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Service Settings document (as current).

Personal service settings are those premises that provide potentially invasive services to the public such as tattooing, body piercing, manicures, pedicures and other aesthetic services.

Regulated health professionals

Public Health does not routinely inspect places where regulated health professionals (RHP) operate such as walk-in clinics, chiropractor or dental offices unless a complaint is received or unless they offer a personal service as defined above.

If an infection control complaint is received, Public Health will initiate an investigation within 24 hours in order to determine whether an infection prevention and control (IPAC) lapse has occurred. An IPAC lapse is defined by the MOHLTC as:

“…a deviation from IPAC standard of care, based on current IPAC standard of care documents from the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee(PIDAC), Public Health Ontario (PHO), or the ministry… [which] may result in infectious disease transmission to the premises’ clients, attendees or staff through the exposure to blood, body fluids and/or potentially infectious lesions.”

If an IPAC lapse is identified

If an IPAC lapse is identified, Public Health will ensure corrective action is taken and will post the results of the inspection on our website. To see the investigation report for any posted complaint, call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752.

Public Health is required to notify the RHP’s regulatory college of the complaint inspection findings.

An IPAC complaint investigation by Public Health may include, but is not limited to:

  • An on-site risk assessment of the office/clinic/premises
  • Interviewing staff directly involved in the practices under review
  • Observing IPAC practices
  • Reviewing relevant documentation including policies, procedures, records and logs
  • Examining the reprocessing procedures for reusable equipment
  • Comparing office practices to the manufacturer’s instructions for reprocessing/cleaning/ disinfecting

Commonly identified infection control issues in clinical office settings

Commonly identified infection control issues observed during infection control complaint inspections include:

  • Inappropriate reprocessing (e.g., cleaning, disinfection and/or sterilization) of reusable medical equipment and devices
  • Inappropriate use of on-site sterilization equipment (e.g., failure to follow best practices for sterilizer usage, spore testing, chemical indicators, instrument packaging, load documentation and storage)
  • Inappropriate use of disinfectant products and non-adherence to expiry dates
  • Failure to protect reusable instruments from contamination during storage
  • Inappropriate storage and handling of used sharps
  • Improper storage of clinical specimens

See current infection control complaints.

Resources

It is recommended that all RHPs and their staff are aware of current IPAC Best Practice guidelines and adhere to them when providing service to the public. Current PIDAC Best Practice documents and many free training opportunities are available on Public Health Ontario’s website at PublicHealthOntario.ca.

Other resources and training opportunities include: