Amendments to Boundary Violations and Responsibility for a Medical Practice approved

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Are You Up to Standard?, CPSA, Messenger

After an extensive consultation process, Council approved amendments last month to two standards of practice: Boundary Violations and Responsibility for a Medical Practice. Council also moved to rescind the Practice in Association standard after incorporating relevant clauses into the latter. The amendments will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Your feedback made a difference

We sent the draft amendments out for formal consultation in the fall of 2017 and normally, Council would review the consultation results and approve changes in March.

This time, the College did a redraft based on initial feedback, then asked for additional comments before seeking Council approval. While this extended the process by about two months, we wanted to make sure common areas of concern were addressed.

Important changes include:

  • The Sexual Boundary Violations standard was renamed Boundary Violations. Sexual relationships with patients remain prohibited, while a new clause requires physicians to consider and minimize risks of conflict of interest and coercion when engaging in other non-clinical relationships with patients (i.e., personal, social, business or financial). It also expands the section on learners to clarify the professional boundaries between medical students and residents and those in teaching or evaluation roles.
  • Direction and Control of a Medical Practice was renamed Responsibility for a Medical Practice, to better fit team-based care and clarify physician responsibilities in all types of practice settings. In multi-physician settings without a Medical Director, this includes the designation of one regulated member as the contact person for the College.

Both standards will be published with Advice to the Profession documents as they take effect on July 1, 2018.

Questions? Email Chantelle Dick, Standards of Practice Coordinator, at