Duty To Report A Colleague

Standard of Practice

Under Review: YES
Issued by Council: January 1, 2010
Reissued by Council: September 1, 2012

ADVISORY NOTE: Please be aware of new legislated requirements to report with the passing of Bill 21 (refer to section 127 of the Health Professions Act).

  1. A regulated member must report another physician to the College when the first regulated member believes, on reasonable grounds, that the conduct of the other regulated member places patients at risk or is considered unprofessional conduct under the Health Professions Act.
  2. Knowledge of conduct that should be reported in clause (1) includes, but is not limited to, situations in which a regulated member:
    1. makes sexual advances to or enters into a sexual relationship with a patient;
    2. suffers from a physical, cognitive, mental or emotional condition* that is negatively impacting the work ** or is reasonably likely to negatively impact the work of the physician;
    3. repeatedly or consistently fails to address his or her behaviour in a manner that interferes with the delivery of care to patients, the ability of other regulated member, learners or healthcare workers to provide care to patients; or
    4. is not competent in the care of patients.
  3. When a patient discloses information leading a regulated member to believe on reasonable grounds that another regulated member has committed a sexual boundary violation with the patient, the first regulated member must:
    1. provide the patient with information about how to file a complaint with the College;
    2. offer to file a third person complaint with the patient’s permission, if the patient does not wish to file a complaint personally; or
    3. at a minimum, document the sexual boundary violation indicating that the patient does not wish to report to the College when the patient does not give permission to proceed with a third party complaint; however, the name of the regulated member may be reported to the College without providing the name of the patient.

    * Conditions would include, but not be limited to, the following:
    • Blood borne viral infections
    • Conditions affecting primary senses: vision, hearing, etc.
    • Neurological conditions affecting cognition, motor or sensory function, seizure disorder
    • Psychiatric conditions
    • Substance misuse
    • Physical disability
    • Metabolic conditions
    • Etc.

    ** “Negative impact” is defined as harm to patients or others as a result of the practice of medicine. The practice of medicine includes research, education and administration, in addition to the practice associated with patients.

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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