CMPA Canadian Medical Forum report

Fall 2022


Governed by an elected council of physicians, the CMPA delivers efficient, high-quality physician-to-physician advice and assistance in medico-legal matters, including the provision of appropriate compensation to patients injured by negligent medical care (fault in Québec). Our evidence-based products and services enhance the safety of medical care, reducing unnecessary harm and costs. As Canada’s largest physician organization and with the support of our over 108,000 physician members, the CMPA collaborates, advocates, and effects positive change on important healthcare and medico-legal issues.

Creating our 2023-2025 strategic plan

The CMPA is in the final stages of developing its new 2023-2025 Strategic Plan. Consultation has been crucial to the development of the plan. The CMPA reached out to a more diverse and varied group of members and stakeholders than ever before to listen, learn, and hear their thoughts on the strategic direction of the Association. Following Council approval, the plan will be published in early 2023. It will focus on supporting CMPA’s members and employees, strengthening CMPA’s foundations through collaboration, and adapting the CMPA to the rapidly changing environment through modernization.

Assisting physicians

The CMPA remains steadfast in assisting its members through the provision of advice and collegial support on an array of medico-legal issues. Our trusted physician advisors serve as a compassionate and empathetic ear for members dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. Advice calls related to COVID-19 have evolved, and are now focused on vaccination, return to in-person care, and wait time management. We also continue to receive calls related to virtual care, scarcity of resources, and physician wellness.

Digital resources for members

In addition to our COVID-19 Hub, the CMPA continues to develop numerous online resources to help members easily access information on various key topics in a timely manner. Distributed through the CMPA’s monthly eBulletin and social media channels, these included: Wait times when resources are limited, Closing or leaving a practice, Providing care outside of Canada, Deferred care during the pandemic.

Supporting members

We continue to provide direct outreach to members in provinces particularly challenged by ongoing impacts of the pandemic by offering:

  • access to peer-to-peer, compassionate, medico-legal advice from physician advisors
  • provision of peer support in the context of physician distress
  • tailored email messaging
  • enhanced relations with provincial-territorial medical associations

Physician wellness

As the pandemic continues, physician wellness remains an active area of concern. We hear high levels of distress from our members daily. Our physician advisors continue to share strategies to de-escalate aggressive behaviour, information on office safety plans, and refer members to physician wellness resources. In addition, we joined the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and other partners in calling on the government to put forward an action plan to address the healthcare human resource crisis, which is contributing to burnout. We are actively working on identifying how to leverage our member database to help identify solutions to this crisis.

We maintain the Physician support and wellness section of our website to provide members with access to new wellness resources, some of which are specific to COVID-19. We also continue to enhance the awareness and skills of our physician advisors and CMPA-appointed legal counsel to support member wellness.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion

Fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is a key priority at the CMPA. We know healthcare providers and patients experience racism and inequities across the system and that this significantly threatens patient safety, affects physicians, and creates medico-legal risk. A key part of our mission is to protect our members’ professional integrity and support safe medical care, which is why we have a responsibility to address these issues.

This is why we launched our 2022-2025 EDI Strategy at our Annual Meeting in August this year. This strategy will enable us to work towards our EDI vision to help provide safe medical care in Canada, by being an organization where members and employees are valued for their diverse experiences and perspectives, and where we provide members with fair and equitable support.

Striving to build representation that is reflective of the diverse Canadian physician community is a priority to the CMPA. To remain relevant to our members, and as an organization focused on member support, it is important that members see themselves reflected within the CMPA workforce and services. We are exploring how we can enhance representation in our front-line assistance and our service delivery model to better reflect our membership. We are also working to build a governance environment that is both equitable and inclusive and that includes Council members with varied perspectives and lived experiences.

Contributing to safe medical care

The CMPA continues to explore future opportunities and directions to enhance our learning offerings and to optimize the learning experience. A comprehensive digital learning strategy will be included in the 2023-2025 Strategic Plan.

eLearning activities and good practices

The CMPA continues to support evolving member needs through modernization of the digital products available on our website. In 2022, we’ve had over 23,100 completions from across our set of 15 self-guided, accredited eLearning activities (ELAs) that have been designed to provide an engaging and interactive learning experience. We’re also added two Good Practice resources to help physicians at all stages of their careers navigate the challenges that exist in today’s practice settings in a safe and equitable way.

CMPA education

In 2022, despite the ongoing pandemic, we provided facilitated education to over 8,100 participants. We have partially resumed key face-to-face programs, including the award-winning Theatre Arts surgical safety course. We have refreshed our learning strategy to align with our new strategic plan, which will include increasing our capacity to deliver what were formerly Saegis products (read more in the “Winding down Saegis” section below).

CMPA foundational program for residents

Our half-day, online, interactive educational event Patient safety primer: medico-legal essentials for residents continues to provide a foundational overview for PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents. It aims to reach resident participants from all 17 medical schools to help reduce medico-legal risk and keep patients safe. By the end of 2022, we will have delivered the course to approximately 2,200 residents.

CMPA data and research

The CMPA leverages its medico-legal data and research to advance the safety of medical care in Canada, in partnership with members and stakeholders. In 2022, several manuscripts were published in peer-reviewed journals, including:

  1. College complaints against resident physicians in Canada: a retrospective analysis of Canadian Medical Protective Association data from 2013 to 2017
  2. Trends and Contributing Factors in Medico-legal Cases Involving Spine Surgery
  3. Physician questions and concerns related to COVID-19: a content analysis of advice calls to a medico-legal helpline
  4. Patterns and trends among physicians-in-training named in civil legal cases: a retrospective analysis of Canadian Medical Protective Association data from 1993 to 2017

We also continue to respond to member data requests to support research and teaching. Data continues to be shared with stakeholders across the country, including with members and educational leaders, notably to enhance knowledge around virtual care use and the health human resource crisis.

Supporting the medical liability system

The CMPA works with governments and healthcare stakeholders to advance system-level improvements that ensure a sustainable healthcare system for all Canadians. In July 2021, the CMPA created a new department, Strategic Engagement and Advocacy, to enhance the coordination of efforts to collaborate with stakeholders on projects of mutual interest and to strengthen the CMPA’s long history of advocacy in support of sound policies that foster positive practice environments for physicians and promote safe medical care.

So far in 2022, the CMPA has undertaken a total of 35 public policy submissions and 160 senior level engagements to provide the CMPA perspective on issues important to physicians. These submissions to governments, medical regulatory authorities, and medical organizations spanned topics that include virtual care, equity, diversity, and inclusion, medical aid in dying (MAID), supply and management of primary care services, and healthcare human resources. We continue to engage with stakeholders across the healthcare system to seek opportunities to collaborate.

Winding down Saegis

In August 2022, CMPA Council made the decision to wind down Saegis, CMPA’s subsidiary. Considering the pace of change in today’s healthcare environment, and of the evolving needs of CMPA members and stakeholders, Council feels that it is best to consolidate CMPA’s learning efforts within the Association itself. Council firmly believes that this decision, while difficult, will strengthen the CMPA’s ability to bring value to our members and to our stakeholders, by increasing our capacity to deliver key products and expanding the breadth of the Association’s Safe Medical Care Learning’s products.

We anticipate that Saegis’ operations will be wound down by the end of 2022. During this time, several Saegis learning products will be transferred to the CMPA, including Successful Patient Interactions, Clinical Communications Program, Effective Team Interactions, Strategies for Managing Unprofessional Behavior for Leaders, and Just Culture Healthcare Certification Course. Although of great value and quality, the decision was made to discontinue the remaining products.

2022 annual meeting and conference

The CMPA held a hybrid Annual Meeting and Conference on August 15, 2022, in Vancouver, BC. The accredited event featured an education session – Better Together! Collaborative conversations with colleagues and patients – which was made available for the first time simultaneously in French and English, as well as in-person and online. In addition, the Medico-legal realities emerging from the pandemic–Opportunities and challenges of virtual care information session brought together a diverse group of experts who explored the theme. Following the meeting, we published and shared a white paper titled Integrating virtual care in practice: Medico-legal considerations for safe medical care, which outlines key considerations for providing safe virtual medical care and identifies areas where further leadership and collaboration is necessary.


Through its modernization efforts, the CMPA stands ready to respond, in collaboration with its partners, to new medico-legal challenges and patient safety threats. The CMPA is proud to be there for its members, as a partner in practice, and to offer the medico-legal protection Canadian physicians value, supported by modern learning resources to proactively enhance the safety of medical care.

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