Duty to Report a Colleague

Tell us what you think

Consultation now open

During pre-consultation, many respondents correctly identified the requirements of An Act to Protect Patients missing from the standards—these are now included in the draft documents.

We received a number of comments suggesting Duty of Treating Physicians… be amalgamated into the Duty to Report a Colleague standard, as they are very similar. We have defined the two in one document with headings, to indicate when reporting must be done by a colleague and how a physician treating a physician-patient must proceed with reportable concerns.

While unprofessional behaviour unrelated to patient care is addressed in the current standard, feedback indicated a lack of clarity, which we have attempted to address in the draft.

Where clarity was called for by way of examples and scenarios, these will be addressed in the upcoming Advice to the Profession document.

Read the draft standard

Review the marked comparison with the current standard

Read the current standards:

Duty of Treating Physicians and Physicians Working in the Context of a Physician Health Program to Report a Physician to the College

Duty to Report a Colleague

CPSA members, partner organizations, other health care professionals and Albertans are invited to provide feedback from Dec. 2, 2019-Jan. 16, 2020. Council will consider non-nominal feedback when approving final amendments to the standard at its Feb, 2020 meeting.

Feedback may be shared in the following ways:

  1. Complete a short survey
  2. Email
  3. Mail to:
    2700-10020 100 Street NW
    Edmonton, AB T5J 0N3
    Attn: Standards of Practice
  4. Leave a comment via the form below (please note: you will have the option to have your comment published or to submit it without being published)

All feedback is subject to the CPSA’s Privacy Statement. CPSA reviews all comments before publication to ensure there is no offensive language, personal attacks or unsubstantiated allegations.

Consultation is open until Thursday, Jan. 16. If you have any questions or require further assistance, please contact

Share your feedback

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Janet Wright
Alberta Physician

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this draft standard of practice. Overall I think this standard adequately deals with the issues intended. My only concern relates to the duty of a treating physician when sexual abuse is disclosed in the context of the treating relationship. It appears that this clause (7) does not require the treating physician to disclose sexual abuse by the physician patient but only to advise the physician patient of the duty to self disclose. The harm that is done to patients does not appear to be adequately addressed by this clause. Although I can appreciate the need to try to preserve the doctor patient relationship I can forsee an instance where a patient is being abused and it is not reported under this clause. This leaves me very uncomfortable.

Dr Kathleen Game
Alberta Physician

You have just made it even more unlikely for docs to seek help or diagnosis and treatment early if at all. If your family doc or psychiatrist or internist is going to report you then there is no confidentiality or trust in your relationship. Patients can expect ‘this unless they present a real and immediate danger to self and others. No one wants that designation to ruin their career. Hiding problems from the college or colleagues will be even more the norm.

Dr Kathleen Game
Alberta Physician

Retroactively applying new laws or regulations is not right. Behaviour at the time considered okay and decisions made at the time according to those standards in place at the time should not have new standards retroactiveljy judging this. It is not at all fair to ask that docs in the past have a crystal ball for the future. If my memory is correct one of the college registrars married a patient. Docs and nurses have relationships. Are you going to go after that registrar? How many years back to retroactively judge would you like to go? One year? Thirty years?

Abid Ahmed
Alberta Physician

Reporting of the physician-patient by treating physician should be considered only if two physicians after assessing the physician-patient consider that physician - patient condition warrants reporting to safe guard the patient or others working with the patient - physician. A single treating physician assessment may not be absolutely final judgement whether physician - patient medical issue would make him or her dangerous to his clients. This may help in avoiding errors in reporting and give more space for the physician-patient to have second opinion for his or her ability to be fit to continue his or her current practice.