Legal and regulatory proceedings

Navigating legal or regulatory processes
Completing medical certificates of death: Who’s responsible?
A discussion of physicians’ obligations when certifying a patient’s death.
Providing quality end-of-life care
End-of-life treatment decisions can be difficult for both physicians and patients, but many issues can be avoided by following the key concepts outlined.
When multiple defendants are involved in a legal action, things can get complicated
Typically, civil legal actions launched against physicians are initiated by a patient alleging negligence in care, but there are variations to this scenario that can result in more complex litigation involving multiple parties and claims.
Can border agents search your mobile device?
Advice for physicians travelling across international borders and carrying devices that may contain patient information.
If a colleague relies on your professional opinion, you may have a duty of care
When physicians offer a clinical comment or opinion that will be relied on to care for a patient, they may owe that patient a duty of care—even if they have never met the patient in person.
Advance care planning: The key to person-centred end-of-life care
Physicians should consider encouraging patients to engage in advance care planning and appointing a substitute decision-maker early, before the patient no longer has the capacity to consent to end-of-life care.
Physicians and research: Understanding your obligations
Physicians participating in clinical research studies should be aware of their relevant legal, ethical, and professional obligations.
Treating transgender and non-binary individuals
Physicians who treat or who are asked to treat transgender individuals should be aware of the ethical and legal considerations in these circumstances to avoid allegations of discrimination.
Do I need to provide this information?
How to respond when you are asked to provide information about another healthcare professional
Subpoenas — What are a physician's responsibilities?
A subpoena or summons to witness requires the person named to attend the court, tribunal, commission, inquiry, inquest or military board proceeding or hearing named in the subpoena.
The medical record: A legal document — Can it be corrected?
Physicians should exercise care in modifying or correcting medical records. Suggestions on when and how to go about this are provided.
Understanding how Colleges handle complaints or allegations of professional misconduct
A complaint to a medical regulatory authority (College) initiates a process that warrants a physician's attention and timely response.
Family disputes and the physician: Staying focused on safe care
Physicians can take reasonable steps to maintain the best interests of the patient in the midst of family disputes concerning the care of children or of elder patients.
Testifying: What it involves and how to do it effectively
A look at what’s involved when testifying as a treating physician, independent medical evaluator, or expert before a court, College, or administrative tribunal, and suggestions to do it confidently and effectively.
Understanding your rights—The rules of natural justice
The legal right to be treated fairly, known as natural justice, can have a huge impact in administrative proceedings against physicians (e.g. College or hospital proceedings).
Coping with a College complaint: Suggestions for reducing anxiety
Dealing with the stress of a College complaint is easier when a physician understands the complaint process and receives support, advice, and coping strategies from the CMPA.
Hospital complaints: Understanding the process and reducing anxiety
Physicians named in a hospital complaint can feel reassured that due process exists and will be followed, and that the CMPA is available to help.
Answering your questions: Providing abortion services to non-residents
Answers to key questions about providing abortion care to American citizens following the overturn of Roe v. Wade
They can’t sue you from outside Canada, or can they?
When treating non-resident patients, Canadian physicians are advised to ensure they have adequate liability protection.
Understanding the role of coroners and medical examiners
Physicians should understand the role of coroners and medical examiners in Canada, and how and when to provide information to them.
Healthcare directives: What you really need to know
Greater clarity in patient care can be achieved through healthcare directives, and when physicians understand their purpose and the rules governing them.
Hit the brakes: Do you need to report your patient’s fitness to drive?
Explanation of physicians’ mandatory and discretionary obligations to report patients who have a medical condition that may make it dangerous for them to drive.
“I’m sorry this happened.” Understanding apology legislation in Canada
Certain provinces have legislation to prevent apologies for adverse events from being used in court proceedings.
Doing medical administrative work? Do you have liability protection?
Physicians who do administrative work require liability protection for the professional medical tasks they perform and also for the non-clinical administrative tasks they perform in support of an organization.
"Dictated but not read": Unreviewed clinical record entries may pose risks
The practice of marking transcribed reports or entries “dictated but not read” gives rise to medical-legal risks and can create uncertainty for those relying on that information in providing patient care.
Age of consent for sexual activity and duty to report
Changes to the Criminal Code have raised the age of consent for sexual activity. Physicians should be guided by legislation in each province and territory on their duty to report such activity to the appropriate authorities if there are reasonable grounds to believe the child is being abused.
Are there risks to acting as a good Samaritan?
Physicians providing emergency care as good Samaritans often have questions about their legal and ethical obligations and the liability protection available to them.
College complaints during COVID-19: What to do if you receive a complaint
A review of steps to take if a physician receives a College complaint during COVID-19.
Can a child provide consent?
Effective communication and awareness of legal requirements are key to obtaining consent for treatment of children.
The changing practice of medicine: Employment contracts and medical liability
Physicians considering various arrangements for practising medicine, other than the privileges-based model, need to consider any medico-legal implications.
Team debriefs: Participate and minimize your medical-legal risks
Physicians should participate in quality assurance activities such as debriefs and should reduce their medical-legal risks by ensuring the debriefs are properly structured.
Who is the most responsible physician? Check your knowledge
Clarity about who is responsible for the care of a patient at any given time improves patient safety and reduces medico-legal risk.
Treating physician reports, IME reports, and expert opinions: The way forward
Physicians who respond affirmatively to a request for a medical-legal report should prepare the report with care and in keeping with their College’s policies and guidelines.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.