Principles of assistance

Criminal and sexual impropriety matters

Published October 2009 / Reviewed August 2013

The following outlines the CMPA's principles of assistance for members facing criminal charges, which may include sexual impropriety matters.

Like all Canadians, members should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Criminal matters unrelated to medical professional work

In accordance with the CMPA Bylaw, the CMPA does not assist its members who face criminal charges unrelated to their medical professional work. This would include charges of assault outside the doctor-patient professional relationship, as well as fraud or other alleged criminal activity unrelated to medical professional work. Members in these circumstances will require legal assistance on a private client basis with non-CMPA legal counsel and will be personally responsible for the legal costs.

Criminal matters arising from medical professional work

Members

The CMPA will generally exercise discretion to assist members in criminal charges related to their medical professional work. In circumstances where the CMPA does provide assistance, payment from the CMPA is limited to the legal costs of the defence; the CMPA does not pay bail, fines, or other related costs.

Eligible member-owned clinics

In circumstances where an eligible CMPA member-owned clinic faces criminal proceedings, the CMPA will generally decline to extend assistance. Such criminal charges are rare. Members should contact the CMPA for advice in such situations.

Members' employees

When employees of CMPA members or employees of eligible CMPA member-owned clinics are facing a criminal matter, the CMPA will generally not provide assistance unless the member can demonstrate that the criminal charges against the member's employee or clinic's employee arise directly from the employee's professional work. The CMPA does not pay bail, fines, or other related costs.

Civil matters alleging sexual impropriety

Members

In civil matters alleging sexual impropriety, the CMPA will generally exercise discretion to assist the member in defending the civil action when the allegations arise from the member's medical professional work. The CMPA does not pay any settlements, judgments or award of costs, or any portion thereof, that are based on any allegation or finding that the member engaged in improper sexual activity.

Eligible member-owned clinics

In circumstances where an eligible CMPA member-owned clinic faces a civil action with allegations of sexual impropriety, the CMPA may extend assistance to the clinic owners when the matter arises from allegations against a member or a clinic employee acting within his or her scope of employment and related to the member's medical professional work. The CMPA does not pay any settlements, judgments or award of costs on behalf of the clinic owners, or any portion thereof, which are based on any allegation or finding that the member or the clinic's employee engaged in improper sexual activity.

Members' employees

In circumstances where a CMPA member's employee faces civil litigation with allegations of sexual impropriety, the CMPA may extend assistance where the employee was acting within his or her scope of employment (relating to the member's medical professional work). The CMPA does not pay any settlements, judgments or award of costs, or any portion thereof, which are based on any allegation or finding that the employee engaged in improper sexual activity.

The CMPA's approach

The CMPA's approach to allegations of sexual impropriety is supported on the basis that a member is entitled to defend him/herself against such an allegation; however, if an allegation regarding sexual impropriety is proven, the member is responsible for any damages arising from sexual impropriety.

College matters relating to criminal activity and sexual impropriety

As with other regulatory authority (College) proceedings, the CMPA will generally exercise discretion to provide assistance with complaints and disciplinary proceedings related to a licensing body. The CMPA does not pay costs or fines arising from a College proceeding.

In accordance with the CMPA Bylaw, the CMPA maintains full discretion to extend or decline assistance in every case.


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.