How we protect you

CMPA membership offers protection — and peace of mind.

Members are protected against medico-legal difficulties on a discretionary basis, based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. They are eligible for assistance for matters arising from medical care provided while being a CMPA member, regardless of when such matters may arise — this is known as occurrence-based assistance.

When a patient initiates a claim against a member, the role of the CMPA is to defend the member as long as the care that was provided is defensible. If the standard of care was met, the integrity and reputation of the member will be defended against the claim. However, if experts conclude the standard of care was not met and this failure harmed the patient, appropriate financial compensation to the injured patient or the patient's family or estate will be provided.

The CMPA has no financial limits to the legal assistance it provides to members or to the damages paid to patients. This is good for doctors and patients.   

In addition to assistance with civil legal actions, the CMPA also provides advice and support with some other matters such as complaints and investigations before medical regulatory authorities (Colleges)—ensuring that members receive procedural fairness.

What is discretionary assistance?

Every inquiry the CMPA receives is unique and reflects the diverse nature of medical practice and the circumstances in which physicians find themselves. The CMPA uses discretion to extend assistance based on the facts and circumstances of a member's particular situation. Discretion allows the flexibility to expand the service provided to members, rather than deny assistance on the basis of defined policies.

The principles that guide CMPA assistance have evolved over time, often in response to members who have contacted the Association with the question, "Will the CMPA help me?

Find out more about CMPA's principles of assistance

What is occurrence-based assistance?

CMPA membership includes occurrence-based assistance, which means that if you were a member when the care was provided you are eligible for protection, irrespective of when a legal action or complaint might occur in the future.

Occurrence-based assistance is important because some medico-legal actions may be initiated many years after care was provided — even when the physician is not practising and is no longer a member. Occurrence-based assistance benefits physicians who have stopped practising for a period of time due to illness, parental leave, sabbatical, or other reasons. Former members remain eligible for assistance in retirement, and their estate is similarly protected should a legal action arise after they have passed on.

What is the Member Support Program?

The Member Support Program is an enhancement to the CMPA’s assistance to members. The program was developed to support members whose medico-legal experience is greater than their peers. By providing personalized support and educational advice, the program helps CMPA members recognize and address factors that may be contributing to their medico-legal risk. By so doing, the program contributes to the safety of medical care and the sustainability of the medical liability system in Canada.

Find out more about the Member Support Program.