Conscientious Objection

Standard of Practice

Under Review: Yes
Issued by Council (Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care): January 1, 2010
Reissued by Council (Conscientious Objection): June 2016

  1. A regulated member must communicate promptly and respectfully about any treatments or procedures the regulated member declines to provide based on his/her Charter freedom of conscience and religion.i
  2. A regulated member must not withhold information about the existence of a procedure or treatment because providing that procedure or giving advice about it conflicts with his/her Charter freedom of conscience and religion.
  3. A regulated member must not promote his/her own moral or religious beliefs when interacting with patients.
  4. When Charter freedom of conscience and religion prevent a regulated member from providing or offering access to information about a legally available medical or surgical treatment or service, the regulated member must ensure that the patient who seeks such advice or medical care is offered timely access to:
    1. a regulated member who is willing to provide the medical treatment, service or information; or
    2. a resource that will provide accurate information about all available medical options.

i. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of The Constitution Act, 1982.

About the Standards of Practice

The CPSA Standards of Practice are the minimum standards of professional behaviour and ethical conduct expected of all physicians registered in Alberta. Standards of practice are enforceable under the Health Professions Act and will be referenced in the management of complaints and in discipline hearings.


For questions or archived standards, policies and guidelines contact our Standards of Practice Advisor.

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