Principles of assistance

Teaching, research, and learning outside Canada

Published October 2009 / revised June 2017

The following outlines the CMPA's principles of assistance for members who are involved in teaching, research, and learning activities outside Canada that involve elements of clinical care.

Teaching and research outside Canada

Members who travel outside Canada to teach or conduct research where these roles may include patient contact are at risk of legal actions outside Canada.

Members will generally be eligible for CMPA assistance with respect to medical-legal difficulties arising from their professional work abroad, excluding the U.S.A. and all other countries where the U.S. legal system is applied*, as it pertains to teaching and research work only. Members must verify their eligibility and make arrangements with the CMPA prior to leaving Canada.

With respect to teaching or research involving elements of clinical care in the United States and any other country where the U.S. legal system is applied, the CMPA will not assist members who encounter medical-legal difficulties, whether a legal action arises inside Canada or outside Canada.

Physicians teaching or conducting research outside Canada should confirm they have met the licensure and privilege requirements of the jurisdiction involved.

Learning outside Canada

Members who travel outside of Canada for residency/fellowship training and continuing medical education may be involved in clinical care and thus exposed to possible medical-legal difficulties. The CMPA generally will not provide assistance with medical-legal matters arising from the provision of such clinical care outside of Canada, whether a legal action arises inside Canada or outside Canada.

In those instances where a resident/fellow accompanies his/her CMPA member supervisor on a humanitarian trip abroad, the trainee’s eligibility for assistance will match the eligibility of the supervisor. Both the supervisor and trainee must verify their eligibility and make arrangements with the CMPA prior to leaving Canada.

Contact the CMPA in advance

Members should contact the CMPA in advance about the assistance available when participating in teaching or learning that includes the care of patients. See also the principles of assistance, "Providing care outside of Canada."

Filling the potential gap in liability protection

CMPA members seeking additional medical liability protection for medical work done overseas have a number of options through commercial insurance companies:

Academic Group

The Academic Group, an insurance company based in New York, has advised the CMPA it has an insurance product offering liability protection for physicians who travel outside of Canada in both the teaching and learning role. While the CMPA is not in a position to endorse any product to fill a gap in liability protection, members may want to consider contacting the Academic Group for more information.

Physicians who apply for this protection may need a history of their relevant medical-legal matters. With the consent of the individual member, the CMPA would provide the necessary information, including the relevant claims history, to any insurer including the Academic Group.

The Academic Group can be contacted at 1250 Broadway, Suite 3401, New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., phone 646-808-0591, or visit www.academicins.com.

Hub International

Hub International provides professional liability insurance for protection from claims brought against professionals for economic damages stemming from acts, errors in their performance of services.

For more information about Hub International, please visit its website at www.hubinternational.com. Members may contact them by phone at 416-597-4604.

Please note that these referrals are for the members’ information only and do not, in any way, constitute an endorsement by the Association.

*The U.S. legal system is applied in the following countries: Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Swains Island.

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.