Cultural safety

Respect for patients and families

Avoiding discrimination

  • Respect for both patients and healthcare team members enhances the quality of care.
  • Colleges expect a high standard of conduct from physicians which extends beyond the clinical setting.
Graphic of Circle of careThe special relationship of trust between physicians and their patients, known as a fiduciary relationship, requires that physicians always act in their patients’' best interests.

Patient-doctor relationships carry an inherent power imbalance which may place patients in a position of vulnerability. Physicians are responsible for behaving professionally and maintaining appropriate boundaries with patients at all times.

As a practising physician in Canada, your patients may be from cultures different from your own, and you need to recognize and respect cultural differences. Cultural differences may also influence how professional boundaries are perceived, and being aware of this may help prevent misunderstandings.