Published October 2009 / Revised September 2023
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, or perform these activities virtually from Canada into another country, and 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 or performing professional work virtually from Canada into another country.
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 (including performing these activities virtually from Canada into another country) 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, or perform these activities virtually from Canada into another country, 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 their CMPA member supervisor on a humanitarian trip abroad, or assists with these efforts virtually from Canada, 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 or engaging in these activities virtually from Canada into another country.
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 in another country. See also the principles of assistance, "Providing care outside of Canada."
Filling the potential gap in liability protection
The CMPA is aware of efforts being made by private insurers to make available liability protection for Canadian healthcare providers who provide their services outside of Canada, but we do not have specific information about the availability of those products. Physicians are encouraged to contact insurers/brokers to determine whether they may have coverage available.
*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.