Providing your professional opinion concerning patients outside Canada

Published: June 2019

CMPA members with internationally recognized expertise occasionally receive requests from physicians in other countries to provide a professional opinion or advice concerning patients who are receiving care outside of Canada. For example, an American physician might ask a radiologist, a CMPA member located in Canada, for her professional opinion about an X-ray for a patient in the United States. Similarly, an Australian physician might request a pathologist, also a CMPA member located in Canada, about the tissue diagnosis of an unusual tumour of a patient in Australia. Should medical-legal difficulties later arise from providing such advice, would these CMPA members be eligible for assistance from the CMPA?

The CMPA has the discretion to decide whether to assist on a case-by-case basis. In determining a member’s eligibility for assistance, the CMPA’s considerations would include the location of the patient at the time of the care.

The CMPA is not structured to assist with medical-legal difficulties that arise outside of Canada. In accordance with the principles outlined in the article "Treating non-residents of Canada", the CMPA will generally decline to assist members with medical-legal matters arising from the treatment of patients located outside of Canada, regardless of where the action is brought. Consequently, CMPA members who provide consultations to colleagues outside Canada (and their patients receiving care outside of Canada) should ensure they have appropriate supplemental liability protection to address any medical-legal issues that might arise concerning their professional work.

For more details about the CMPA’s assistance principles in this and similar scenarios, see "Treating non-residents of Canada".