Mutuality and extent of assistance

March 2016

In 1901 the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) was formed as a mutual defence organization and mutuality remains a key value that defines CMPA membership. The underlying principal of mutuality is that members collectively share the associated risks and costs of medical-legal support among themselves, while benefiting from membership in a mutual defence organization. In keeping with its core value of mutuality, CMPA members are eligible for medical liability protection in accordance with the CMPA By-law and, in turn, members are expected to practise in a manner consistent with the values of the profession.

Mutuality encompasses both the CMPA’s responsibility to individual members pursuant to the By-law, and members’ responsibility to their colleagues and the mutual as a whole. As the Association has evolved to support the needs of its membership, so too must the membership recognize and support the overall needs of the Association, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a medical liability system that is effective, sustainable, fair, and focused on delivering safe care.

In the context of mutuality of obligations, the CMPA:

  • Provides access to high-quality assistance and support to members, where eligible and appropriate, with medical-legal issues arising from their medical professional work.
  • Serves as a responsible steward of the resources and funds entrusted to it by all members.
  • Provides appropriate compensation on behalf of members to their patients who have been proven to have been harmed by members’ negligent medical care.
  • Is fair and transparent to the member in the application of its discretion when making decisions about assistance to members.

CMPA members in the mutual are expected to:

  • Uphold the expectations of the medical profession by practising in a manner consistent with the values of the medical profession.
  • Be responsive, respectful, and reasonable with CMPA staff and legal counsel.
  • Co-operate with CMPA and its legal counsel and be appropriately involved in their own defence.
  • Co-operate with CMPA and its professional staff in assessing and understanding the members’ medical-legal risk, accept feedback to help gain insight into their risk, and commit to working with the CMPA, to proactively reduce their risk for their own benefit and that of the collective membership.

While the CMPA’s risk management advice and assistance are available to all members throughout their career, more customized educational support will be made available to members who are experiencing increased medical-legal challenges in relation to their peers. As part of mutuality, members will be expected to work with the CMPA to proactively reduce their risk and enhance the safety of medical care.

By assisting physicians to improve their practice, the benefits are shared by the physician, the patient, and the healthcare system as a whole.