Regulation & Education
The profession of midwifery is regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO), in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). The CMO protects childbearing clients and infants by ensuring that midwives provide competent and ethical care. The CMO is responsible for registering midwives, ensuring the quality of midwifery care, setting standards, and investigating and responding to any issues related to midwifery care. Midwives who are registered with the CMO are permitted to use the protected title of Registered Midwife, or RM.
In First Nations communities in Ontario, Aboriginal midwives are permitted to provide care without being registered with the CMO, as a result of a provision made in the Midwifery Act. This provision indicates that an Aboriginal person who provides traditional midwifery services may use the title “Aboriginal midwife,” and may hold themselves out as a person who is qualified to practice in Ontario as an Aboriginal midwife. In communities where Aboriginal midwives are providing services, the protection of the public becomes the responsibility of the community and/or the band council, rather than the CMO.
All midwives practicing in Ontario have graduated from rigorous midwifery education programs. They become experts in uncomplicated birth and emergency procedures by studying health, social and biological sciences in the classroom, completing clinical placements under the supervision of experienced midwives, attending births as secondary and primary care providers, and providing prenatal and postpartum care in midwifery clinics and clients’ homes.
There are four possible educational paths to becoming a midwife in this province:
- The Midwifery Education Program (MEP), offered at Laurentian, McMaster and Ryerson universities, is a four-year degree program that awards graduates a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) degree in Midwifery.
- The Aboriginal Midwifery Training Program at Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta’, the Maternal and Child Centre on Six Nations of the Grand River territory, is a four-year education program for Indigenous midwifery students.
- The International Midwifery Pre-registration Program (IMPP), offered through Ryerson University, is a bridging program that prepares experienced, internationally educated midwives to practice in Ontario.
- The Midwifery Post-Baccalaureate Program for Health Professionals (PBHP) is an accelerated stream of the Midwifery Education Program that accepts candidates who already have health professional baccalaureate degrees and significant maternity care experience.
A time-honoured MEP tradition: red shoes on graduation day!