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April Messenger 2019, Are You Up to Standard?, Prescribing, Professionalism & Standards | Posted April 10, 2019

Boundary Violations: Sexual and Safe Prescribing for Opioid Use Disorder took effect April 1

We all have a duty to ensure patient safety

With the passing of Bill 21: An Act to Protect Patients in November 2018 came the development of a new CPSA standard of practice. Physicians and other stakeholders were consulted in December and we received final approval on the new standard from the Minister of Health in March. The standard of practice on Boundary Violations: Sexual officially went into effect on April 1, 2019.

The new standard defines what constitutes sexual abuse and misconduct by physicians against patients, with serious, mandatory penalties for any physician found guilty of these offenses by a CPSA Hearing Tribunal:

  • Mandatory permit revocation if proven guilty of sexual abuse.
  • Mandatory permit suspension if proven guilty of sexual misconduct.

It is crucial that every physician read and fully understand the new standard, along with the corresponding Advice to the Profession and Patient FAQ documents. Complaints received on or after April 1, 2019, will be actioned under the new Bill 21 standards, regardless of when the alleged incident occurred.

As a result of this new standard, the existing boundary violations standard had to be amended. Now called Boundary Violations: Personal, it focuses on non-sexual aspects of physician-patient and physician-learner relationships. For a full understanding of all of the CPSA’s expectations around appropriate boundaries, please be sure to review both standards.

Bill 21 virtual town hall-cancelled: physicians to complete Bill 21 module instead

Bill 21 mandates the completion of a professional development module for all physicians. To be conscientious of physicians’ obligations and time, CPSA has cancelled the Bill 21 town hall on April 18. The module will be available in summer 2019 and will cover the same content. Until then, please contact Chantelle Dick, CPSA Standards of Practice Coordinator, with any questions related to the new standard of practice or advice documents.


Helping to end the stigma around Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

A new standard of practice to support safe and compassionate care for patients suffering from OUD also went into effect April 1. Safe Prescribing for Opioid Use Disorder reflects our evolving, evidence-based understanding of how to treat OUD and the need to reduce the stigma around this disorder, so Albertans know they can access the care they need when they need it. Please review the standard as well as the new Advice to the Profession and Patient FAQs documents.

Questions about the new standards? Please contact our Standards of Practice Coordinator, Chantelle Dick, at

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