Legal and regulatory proceedings

Navigating legal or regulatory processes
Physicians can take reasonable steps to maintain the best interests of the patient in the midst of family disputes concerning the care of children or of elder patients.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision declaring the prohibition on physician-assisted dying unconstitutional concerns some CMPA members who object for moral or religious reasons to helping patients end their lives.
End-of-life treatment decisions can be difficult for both physicians and patients, but many issues can be avoided by following the key concepts outlined.
Medical regulatory authorities are making more information about physicians available to the public. This article provides an overview of this trend, and explains how the CMPA helps members.
The practice of marking transcribed reports or entries “dictated but not read” gives rise to medical-legal risks and can create uncertainty for those relying on that information in providing patient care.
A discussion of physicians’ obligations when certifying a patient’s death.
Physicians should understand the role of coroners and medical examiners in Canada, and how and when to provide information to them.
An overview of medical-legal problems resulting from physicians' decisions on whether to report patients with medical conditions that may make it dangerous to drive, or from physicians' decisions on whether to support the reinstatement of a licence to drive.
Physicians who treat or who are asked to treat transgender individuals should be aware of the ethical and legal considerations in these circumstances to avoid allegations of discrimination.
Physicians providing emergency care as good Samaritans often have questions about their legal and ethical obligations and the liability protection available to them.
Changes to the Criminal Code have raised the age of consent for sexual activity. Physicians should be guided by legislation in each province and territory on their duty to report such activity to the appropriate authorities if there are reasonable grounds to believe the child is being abused.
The Canadian medical liability system has evolved to meet the unique needs of Canadians, but there remains an opportunity to enhance its fairness and effectiveness.
Physicians participating in clinical research studies should be aware of their relevant legal, ethical, and professional obligations.
Physicians named in a hospital complaint can feel reassured that due process exists and will be followed, and that the CMPA is available to help.
Polices introduced by the medical regulatory authorities (Colleges) reflect concerns expressed by some in the medical community about the use of marijuana for medical purposes and the challenging role given to physicians and other healthcare providers.
Effective communication and awareness of legal requirements are key to obtaining consent for treatment of children.
While a Supreme Court of Canada decision clarifies that in Ontario, physicians must obtain consent before life support can be withheld or withdrawn, the effect of the decision in other jurisdictions is uncertain.
When working with nurse practitioners, physicians should understand the scope, responsibilities, and accountabilities of these independent healthcare providers, and should communicate clearly and in a timely manner.
Administrative and management practices, data sharing agreements, confidentiality agreements, and privacy impact assessments can help physicians to achieve compliance with their privacy obligations.
Certain provinces have legislation to prevent apologies for adverse events from being used in court proceedings.
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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.