Risk Assessments for Service Provider Organizations: Frequently Asked Questions

November 10, 2023

To support timely and transparent communications, this page will be updated on December 8, 2023, with any new questions received and their answers. In the meantime, please send any questions to: risk.assessment@ontariohealth.ca.

Q: Why are Risk Assessments being conducted?

A: This year, Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS), in collaboration with Ontario Health, is introducing a Risk Assessment process for all Service Providers Organizations (SPOs). This Risk Assessment is a one-time measure that will be used in 2023.

The goal of the Risk Assessment is to ensure standards are met related to privacy, cyber security, experience and capacity to deliver services, as well as safeguards focused on patient safety and quality of care (including those outlined in Reg. 187/22 (opens in a new tab) for Home and Community Care Services under the Connecting Care Act, 2019). It should be noted that this process is separate and distinct from the prequalification process.

A prequalification process was not pursued at this time to reflect the Ministry of Health’s September 11, 2023, communication regarding the next steps in home care modernization. These steps include the updating of contracts and processes related to SPO selection, including a revised prequalification process. More details will be provided at a later date. The Risk Assessment is one-time, in advance of the updated prequalification process.

Q: What areas will be assessed?

A: The assessment will measure:

  • cyber security;
  • policies and procedures related to recruitment and retention, screening of applicants and professional development;
  • policies and procedures required by Regulation 187/22: Home and Community Care Services (opens in a new tab) under the Connecting Care Act (such as Patient Bill of Rights, Accessible Formats, Abuse Prevention, French Language Services, and Complaints process);
  • privacy;
  • service experience; and
  • whether organizations have recently received accreditation or are in the process of completing it.

Q: Will Risk Assessments provide a rating for SPOs?

A: Risk Assessments will not provide a rating, but rather will identify areas of improvement and risk.

Q: Are all SPOs required to do the Risk Assessment?

A: Yes, all SPOs with an HCCSS contract are required to submit a Risk Assessment.

Q: How will the risk assessment affect my contract with HCCSS?

A: If there are areas of improvement or risk identified, HCCSS will connect with your organization to support the work needed to ensure patient safety, quality care, patient privacy, cyber security and health system capacity.

Q: How long will the Risk Assessment take?

A: The length of time needed to complete the Risk Assessment is highly dependent on the way information, policies and procedures are organized within your agency. You may need to reach out to various subject matter experts within your organization in order to respond fully to each question.  

We recommend that you thoroughly review the questions early in the process, leaving time to ensure they are answered completely with the required documentation.

Q: What happens after Risk Assessments are completed?

A: Organizations will receive a letter with their assessment results from Ontario Health. Shortly after, HCCSS will connect with your organization to support areas of identified risk or any requiring improvement.

Q: How will it affect my prequalification?

A: Your current prequalification status will not be impacted by your Risk Assessment. Any further communications related to prequalification will be issued separately.

Q: If we have questions about the risk assessment, where should we direct them?

A: This webpage will be updated on December 1, 2023. In the meantime, please send any questions to: risk.assessment@ontariohealth.ca.