In my practice, I may be asked to provide care to patients who are non-residents1 of Canada and do not have access to public health insurance. Am I eligible for CNPS protection?
Nurses providing care to non-residents of Canada remain eligible for CNPS protection, provided that a legal or regulatory proceeding arises from services provided in Canada, is brought within Canada, and is fully conducted in Canada in accordance Canadian federal, provincial or territorial law. For more information regarding the scope of CNPS services, please review CNPS Core Services and Professional Liability Protection and CNPS Supplementary Protection.
On the other hand, nurses providing care to non-residents should be aware of a potential risk that legal proceedings may be brought outside of Canada. In that case, the CNPS would normally be unable to offer assistance.
The risk of an action being commenced outside of Canada in relation to healthcare services rendered in Canada can be reduced by asking the patient to sign a “Governing Law and Jurisdictional Agreement”, in which the patient will recognize that the therapeutic relationship is governed by the laws of Canada. Your employer or work provider may wish to consider asking the patients to sign a waiver, in which a prospective patient would agree not to bring a lawsuit outside of Canada. All nurse practitioners and nurses who operate as independent practitioners and require a personal “Governing Law and Jurisdictional Agreement” should contact the CNPS to request a template agreement that the nurse can customize with the names of the parties.
Additional considerations to take into account when providing care to non-residents include the following:
- First, non-residents may not be knowledgeable about local healthcare systems and may not fully understand the terms of care offered to them, including the extent of the services which you are able to provide to them and the financial cost associated with receiving various health care services elsewhere.
- Second, the patient will need to understand the risks associated with not being able to act on nursing advice. In both cases, it would be important to carefully document all advice provided to the patient, as well as all discussions of the risks of not acting on that advice.
CNPS beneficiaries can contact CNPS at 1-800-267-3390 to speak with a member of CNPS legal counsel. All calls are confidential.
1. “Non-resident of Canada” here refers to anyone who does not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, including refugees, refugee claimants, temporary foreign workers, foreign students, visitors, and undocumented migrants.
THIS PUBLICATION IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING IN THIS PUBLICATION SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE FROM ANY LAWYER, CONTRIBUTOR OR THE CNPS. READERS SHOULD CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE.