Consultation 013 Outcomes

Boundary Violations

It’s not just about sexual boundaries

Other non-clinical relationships between physicians and patients can also introduce conflicts of interest

Council approved the Boundary Violations amendment effective July 1, 2018. Formerly Sexual Boundary Violations, the standard has been extended to require physicians to also consider and minimize risks of conflict of interest and coercion in personal, social, business or financial relationships with patients, and clarifies boundaries around physician-learner relationships. A companion Advice to the Profession document is also available.

Read the amended standardAdvice to the ProfessionAdvice for Patients

Your feedback made a difference

Consultation on an initial draft amendment in fall 2017 drew 96 responses from physicians, stakeholder organizations and the public. (You can read some of the comments below.)

The issue of greatest concern was how a broader standard might impact rural physicians, where community ties often overlap clinical relationships.

The College agreed physicians should be engaged in their communities and replaced the initial suggested prohibition on personal, social, financial and business relationships with a new requirement to “consider and minimize any potential conflict of interest or risk of coercion when engaging with a patient in a non-clinical context.” 

A new draft was sent out to a smaller group of respondents who had provided significant initial feedback, and this time the response was positive. Council passed the revised amendment on May 25, 2018 to take effect July 1, 2018.

Dr. Jeremy Beach speaks to the Boundary Violations amendmentCPSA Assistant Registrar

Council toughens stance on sexual misconduct

Discipline transparency also increased

The broadening of the Boundary Violations standards in no way diminishes the College's position on sexual misconduct by physicians. 

In May 2018, Council adopted a Statement of Principles that includes the intention to seek stiff penalties for any physician found guilty of sexual misconduct, up to and including revocation of the practice permit for sexual assault convictions. Read the Statement of Principles

Council also directed the College to start identifying specific charges on hearing notices (while keeping the complainant anonymous) and lengthen the time discipline history is posted on the College's website from 5 to 10 years. These changes will take place over the coming weeks.

Consultation comments

Click the icon to read what some consultation respondents had to say about the initial draft amendment in fall 2017.