COVID-19 Information

The College of Medical Radiation and Imaging Technologists of Ontario (CMRITO) is closely monitoring the situation with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it relates to the practice of medical radiation and imaging technologists (MRITs) and the services they provide to patients. The Government of Ontario announced a state of emergency due to the pandemic on March 17, 2020 and the Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued directives to regulated health professionals under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA). 

As regulated health professionals, MRITs are accountable to their patients and the public to provide safe, effective and ethical medical radiation and imaging technology services. MRITs do this every day by ensuring that their practice meets the legislative requirements and standards of the profession in all types of practice situations, including during the current COVID-19 pandemic. MRITs provide essential, non-essential and elective services to patients, depending on the type of facility in which they practice: hospitals, cancer centres, clinics (independent health facilities), and other facilities.

During this state of emergency, CMRITO’s role is to support MRITs’ ability to provide safe, effective, and ethical medical radiation and imaging technology services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help them understand their professional obligations and accountabilities. CMRITO cannot provide advice on whether a clinical service is essential or non-essential – those decisions are made by the individual facility, hospital, cancer centre, or clinic. 

As circumstances change and new guidance is received from government, we will keep you updated.

Please visit the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario websites for the most accurate, up-to-date information, and review our Frequently Asked Questions for information specific to MRITs. Please see the links below.

Please continue to keep well by following the infection control processes and protocols implemented by your hospitals and clinics, and stay aware of any COVID-19 developments by monitoring the Ontario Ministry of Health and Government of Canada websites.

For Health Care Professionals

For the Public
For Medical Radiation and Imaging Technologists

For Health Care Professionals

Ontario Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health dedicated website for health workers and health employers.  

The site provides up-to-date information about the virus and guidance documents for health sectors and health professionals, including:

Ontario Health Workforce Matching Portal

The Ontario Health Workforce Matching Portal aims to match the availability and skillsets of frontline health care workers to the employers in need of assistance to perform a variety of public health functions. Please click on the links above and the following PDFs from the Ministry of Health for additional information: 

Public Health Ontario

The Public Health Ontario website provides information for health care providers.    

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact Telehealth at (1-866-797-0000), your primary care provider, or your local public health unit.

Of note on this website:

Health sector organizations can call the Healthcare Provider Hotline for policy guidance related to COVID-19, urgent situations and information on Ministry programs: 1-866-212-2272 (toll free). Please be aware, the Hotline is unable to provide clinical advice regarding the management of cases.

Health Canada

World Health Organization

Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak

For the Public 

For Medical Radiation and Imaging Technologists

The following FAQs may be helpful to MRITs. 

What are the accountabilities of MRITs during a pandemic?

In an emergency such as the current pandemic, MRITs are key members of the health care team.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has created challenging times for patients and the health care professionals involved in their care. Recent advice from some health regulators to their members recommends limiting non-essential or elective treatment to patients during the current pandemic.  While this may be appropriate for some professions that provide non-essential health care, MRITs have an obligation to act in the best interests of their patients at all times, regardless of the type of illness the patient may have.  

CMRITO suggests that MRITs review the protocols in place at their facility to ensure that patients receive the safe, effective and ethical medical radiation and imaging technology services necessary for their care. The CMRITO encourages MRITs to discuss with their facilities and/or managers about which services are essential, in order to create plans to serve those in need. 

Where can I get more information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs)?

MRITs are required to use appropriate infection control procedures in the course of the diagnostic or therapeutic procedure being performed (CMRITO Practice Standard #4, Safe Practice, indicator m). The facility sets the appropriate infection control procedures in accordance with the requirements set out by Public Health Ontario. MRITs should be communicating with their managers about obtaining the appropriate PPE to create a safe work environment. If the appropriate PPE is not available, MRITs should bring their concerns to the attention of facility management. 

MRITs must follow the guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health and the public health experts that specifically address the use of PPE. MRITs should review Public Health Ontario's Updated IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19.  

MRITs can protect patients from the risk of infection by: 

  • Applying hand hygiene principles
  • Choosing appropriate measures to prevent and control infection transmission such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring all equipment is cleaned appropriately
  • Understanding and applying workplace organizational policies about infection prevention and control
  • Working with employers to develop new policies as needed
  • Following the best practice recommendations set out by Public Health Ontario

As COVID-19 evolves, the provincial and federal government continue to update their resources.  We encourage MRITs, together with their employers, to regularly review the websites of the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario for the most accurate, up-to-date information. 

As an MRIT, what is my accountability for providing care for a patient that may have or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

You are accountable for making decisions that are in the best interests of your patients and for protecting them from harm. You are also accountable for protecting patients from infection risks. You can do this by:

  • applying hand hygiene principles
  • choosing appropriate measures to prevent and control infection transmission such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • understanding your facilities organizational policies about infection prevention and control
  • working with your employer to develop new policies as needed

As an MRIT, you must perform your duties responsibly and in a manner that reflects the profession’s commitment to respect the personal dignity of every patient who entrusts themself to your care.

The CMRITO Standards of Practice describe what you are accountable and responsible for as an MRIT in your practice, and reflect the knowledge, skills and judgement that you need in order to perform the services and procedures that fall within the scope of practice of the profession. Under the Standards of Practice, medical radiation and imaging technologists are expected to be competent, accountable and collaborative.

You can read about your professional accountability to your patients in the publication “What you must know about … Professional Accountability”

Can I be asked to do activities that are not typically in the scope of the practice of medical radiation and imaging technologists?

In a health emergency, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, MRITs are key members of the healthcare team who may be asked to participate in activities that are outside their normal duties. As an MRIT you may be asked to assist with mask fit testing or screening procedures. Some of the activities that you may be asked to perform may be controlled acts and require delegation by a practitioner who is authorized to perform them. Recognizing these activities may not be common practice for MRITs, they should only be done with appropriate authorizations and adequate training on the procedures, and if given the required personal protective equipment.

With appropriate safeguards in place we would expect MRITs to be flexible during situations of health emergencies to assist the health care system manage increased demands.  

Where you are asked to complete procedures that are outside the normal expectations of practice, we encourage you to review the Decision-making guide for performing a procedure on page 21 of “What you must know about … Performing procedures for medical radiation and imaging technologists” and to discuss any concerns you have with your employer.

Can I be assigned other duties outside of my home department?

Yes. Many tasks in medical facilities are not controlled acts under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) and can be performed by any person. As a self-regulated professional, you are in the best position to determine which procedures and assigned duties you are competent to perform.  

If your manager requires you to complete additional training before completing additional duties, you need to comply with those requirements as a condition of your employment. Try to work with your manager to find ways to obtain the additional training that you may require to obtain the knowledge, skills and judgment necessary to perform the additional duties.

Every member of CMRITO has a condition on their certificate of registration that restricts their practice to areas where they have education and experience. The Standards of Practice require that members ensure they are competent to perform any procedures they undertake. Members are also required to have the knowledge, skills and judgement to perform any procedures and manage any outcomes. For more information, please refer to the CMRITO Standards of Practice.

If you are asked to perform a controlled act that is not authorized to MRITs and is outside the profession of medical radiation and imaging technology, there would need to be a delegation in place in order to perform that controlled act. 

Can I accept a delegation?

There are very specific requirements that must be met when accepting a delegation. You can find information pertaining to this in the CMRITO’s “What you must know about … performing procedures for medical radiation and imaging technologists”.

Can I refuse to work with a patient with COVID-19?

As an MRIT you are accountable to the public and are responsible for ensuring that your practice and conduct meet the legislative requirements and the standards of the profession. These responsibilities focus on the health care needs of your patients. 

You can read about your professional accountability and obligation not to abandon or neglect patients, or put them at risk of harm in the publication “What you must know about … Professional accountability of MRTs during a work stoppage”.

I don’t have the required PPE available to me at work. What can I do?

Employers are responsible for establishing a working environment that supports safe, effective patient care. Under the current state of emergency, there may be shortages or limited availability of PPEs that require adjustments to established protocols or procedures in the clinical setting. 

The Ministry of Health has issued some directives for Health Care Providers (Directive #1 and Directive #5) which may provide you some guidance related to PPE.  Please share these documents with your employer as needed and contact the ministry’s Health Care Provider Hotline at 1-866-212-2272 or by email at emergencymanagement.moh@ontario.ca with any questions you may have about this personal protective equipment document. 

The Employment Standards Act applies in all work settings. In addition, in unionized workplaces, collective agreements establish the benefits, privileges, rights and obligations agreed upon by the union, MRITs as employees and the employer. 

Further, the Occupational Health and Safety Act outlines provisions for refusing to work when health and safety of the worker is in danger. However, section 43 (1) (b) of OHSA states this right does not apply if the worker’s refusal to work will directly endanger the life, health or safety of another person. MRITs are accountable for providing safe, effective and ethical care to their patients. To resolve conflicts between professional and personal obligations in a way that protects the public’s right to safe care, MRITs need to review with their manager or supervisor their ongoing professional responsibilities during this time. 

Can I be asked to work in another area of diagnostic imaging or radiation therapy where I have had some previous training and experience, but where I have not worked recently? 

Every member of CMRITO has a condition on their certificate of registration that restricts their practice to areas where they have education and experience. The Standards of Practice require that members ensure they are competent to perform any procedures they undertake. Members are also required to have the knowledge, skills and judgement to perform any procedures and manage any outcomes. For more information, please refer to the CMRITO Standards of Practice.

As a self-regulated professional, you are in the best position to determine which procedures and assigned duties you are competent to perform. You may be asked to perform procedures in areas where you have previously had education and experience.  

  • For example: an MRI technologist who was registered in the specialty of radiography in the past, being asked to assist with chest x-rays. This members’ experience may not be current in radiography, and they may require additional training, orientation and supports to gain the skills they need to adhere to the standards. It is always recommended that the MRIT and facility manager keep records of the additional education and training provided, as proof of competency.

If you believe that you do not have the necessary education and experience to assist with diagnostic or therapeutic procedures you have not performed in a while, you may want to find ways to work with your employer to get the additional training that you may require to obtain the knowledge skills and judgment necessary to perform the requested duties.

The province of Ontario has recently put out a call for health care professionals to help alleviate the strain presented by COVID-19. I am eager to help in any way that I can, but the application portal required a registration number for my area of training, which I do not have as I’m not currently a member. Is there any way that I could be issued a temporary registration number so that I can volunteer during this time?  

The CMRITO does not have a temporary class of registration in its registration regulation, and cannot issue temporary and/or emergency certificates of registration to anyone who does not meet all of the requirements for registration set out in the regulation. If you are interested in applying for registration with CMRITO, or if you are interested in reinstating your membership, please call the registration department and they can assist you. 

However, if you want to volunteer in a capacity unrelated to the practice of medical radiation and imaging technology, you do not need to register with CMRITO in order to volunteer. The Ministry released a new website which should be easier to navigate and work with: the Ontario Health Workforce Matching Portal

You will also find instructions on how to use the portal below:

In this case, since you do not have a CMRITO number, you could click on ‘Other Health Professionals’ and register that way. Thank you for your interest in volunteering during this extraordinary time. If you have additional questions, or require further information, please contact the CMRITO office.