List of infoLAWs

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Communicating with the Police - The duty of confidentiality and its exceptions, in the context of disclosing information to the police, are addressed in this issue.

Communication - This infoLAW examines the nurse's role in communication, and explores three channels of communication that are essential to good health care. 

Community & Public Health Nursing and the Law - Legal issues facing community and public health nurses are addressed, including consent, confidentiality, and documentation. Responsibility for other health care providers' actions is also discussed. 

Confidentiality of Health Information - Why confidentiality is an issue, sources of legal and ethical obligations, exceptions, consequences of unauthorized disclosure, and issues related to employer and police requests for information are discussed. 

Consent for CPR - CPR has become a default treatment for cardiac arrest in many institutions, meaning that it will be implemented in all cases of cardiac arrest unless there is an explicit order against it. Learn what to do if a patient does not want CPR but his family does; how to handle a patient request for CPR when it would be ineffective; and what to do when a physician does not comply with a facility CPR policy.

Consent for the Incapable Adult - Issues surrounding consent for the incapable adult are addressed, including a definition, who decides whether an adult is capable, who makes decisions on behalf of an incapable adult, and emergency treatment.

Consent to Treatment - The role of the nurse and consent to treatment issues are discussed. Specific areas addressed include: criteria for a valid consent, legal capacity, mental capacity, informed consent, witnessing consents, special circumstances, and the legal implications of treating without consent.

Considerations for Providing Cosmetic Services - This infoLAW addresses the regulation of cosmetic nursing, informed consent, record-keeping requirements, independent practice and liability protection.


Defamation - Legal issues surrounding defamation are addressed, including what is defamation, the elements which need to be proven for a successful defamation lawsuit, and examples of what does and does not constitute defamation.

Delegation to Other Health Care Workers - The legal implications of delegation, including responsibilities of the employer, the nurse, and the health care worker are addressed. This issue also includes pointers for how to delegate responsibly.


Emergency Room Closures - Does a nurse have a duty to a patient who presents at a closed emergency room?

Emergency Room Nursing - With the increased pressures on our health care system, it is possible that emergency room nurses may be subject to greater scrutiny by hospital authorities and the courts. Learn what Canadian caselaw can teach emergency room nurses about triage, overcrowding, role clarity, and documentation.

Evidence - The most common types of evidence are identified in this infoLAW. The admissibility and weight of evidence is discussed, as well as considerations in preserving evidence.

Examinations for Discovery - The process of Examinations for Discovery is discussed, including the purpose and scope of Examinations for Discovery, who may be examined, whether nurses need legal representation, and how to prepare.

Expert Witness - Topics surrounding expert witnesses are discussed, including a definition of an expert witness, compensation and procedural issues, and suggestions for testifying.


Inquests and Fatality Inquiries - This infoLAW discusses common questions about a nurse's role as a witness at an inquest or fatality inquiry, including what inquests are and why they are held; the role of the police and witnesses at inquests; whether a nurse needs a lawyer at an inquest; and how you can protect yourself as a witness at an inquest.


Legal Risks in Nursing -Three types of legal proceedings in which nurses may be involved are discussed: professional discipline, criminal prosecution, and grievances.

Legal Risks of Email - Part 1 - Learn about privacy concerns, network security and safeguards, additional privacy considerations, statutory and regulatory considerations, employer policies, and risk management considererations related to email.

Legal Risks of Email - Part 2 - What practical considerations should you consider when using email? This issue addresses managing expectations, documentation, personal use of email at work, use in legal proceedings, and risk management considerations.

Legal Status of an Apology - Historically, offering an apology to a patient was fraught with difficulty. Apology legislation has changed that but apologies still must be handled with care.

Long Term Care - With the aging population, longer lifespans and the increasing complexity of care, the demand for long-term care (LTC) in Canada will increase and more nurses will be involved with caring for these patients. Nurses should be aware of the more prevalent risks of harm for this segment of our population: falls; medications; and abuse.


Malpractice Lawsuits - Procedural and practical questions related to nursing malpractice lawsuits are answered. The following topics are addressed: what to do when you receive notice of a lawsuit, payment of legal fees, initiation of a lawsuit, who will be sued, Examinations for Discovery, conduct of a trial, and possible outcomes.

Medication Errors -Why medication errors occur, professional standards, consequences of a medication error, and risk management suggestions are discussed in this issue.

Mobile Devices in the Workplace - Learn about risk management considerations concerning mobile devices in the workplace, including privacy breaches, workplace integration, managing expections and infection control.

Mobile Healthcare Apps - Addresses potential uses and benefits of mobile healthcare apps, concerns and risks of mobile healthcare apps, and current best practices.


Negligence - Liability issues of concern to nurses involved in a negligence lawsuit are highlighted with a focus on the legal elements of negligence and common defenses.


Obstetrical Nursing - Obstetrics is a high-risk area for nurses. This infoLAW discusses several aspects of obstetrical nursing which require particular diligence: fetal health surveillance during labour, monitoring the effect of measures taken to induce or augment labour, neonatal resuscitation, mentoring colleagues new to obstetrics and documentation.

Occupational Health Nursing - This infoLAW addresses areas of concern to OHNs including human rights legislation and the duty to accommodate, criminal liability and confidentiality.

Operating Room Nursing -This infoLAW discusses the most common types of lawsuits affecting Operating Room Nurses, including medication errors, foreign bodies / retained sponge, incorrect site, burns and infection. Risk management strategies are also provided.


Patient Restraints - The decision to use patient restraints can have legal consequences for nurses. This infoLAW addresses when restaints can be used, whether they prevent patient injury, some of the legal risks involved in using restraints (or not), and tips to manage risks.

Patient Safety - Nurses play a key role in maintaining and improving patient safety in the Canadian health care system.This infoLAW discusses how and why nurses must disclose critical incidents to their employer, and how patients are to be informed of errors.

Privacy - New privacy legislation has many implications for Canadian nurses. This infoLAW defines privacy and discusses nurses' professional obligations surrounding privacy. Common risk areas, possible outcomes and risk management steps are also addressed.

Privacy and Electronic Medical Records - The unique privacy issues related to access, accuracy, theft, disposal and risk management of electronic medical records (EMRs) are discussed.

Privilege - The concept of privilege is discussed including: what is privilege, what kind of information is privileged, what kind of information is not privileged, and why privilege is an issue for nurses.


Quality Documentation - The purpose of documentation, legal implications of charting, impact of charting omissions, contemporaneous documentation, third party charting, and documentation content are reviewed.


Reporting & Disclosure of Adverse Events - This infoLAW addresses the differences between reporting and disclosure, whether reporting or disclosure is done first, who discloses adverse events to a patient, and whether disclosure will prevent a lawsuit.

RN Prescribing  - This article addresses the regulatory framework for RN prescribing and considerations for reducing clinical and legal risks associated with prescribing medication.


Social Media - Social media websites can pose confidentiality and other risks for nurses. Learn what the risks are and how to avoid common pitfalls.

Supervision - A dawning reality - registered nurses supervising health care providers at more than one site.


Telepractice - The legal implications of providing telephone advice, common nursing pitfalls, documentation, risk management steps, and professional guidelines are topics addressed in this issue.

The Nurse as a Witness - Common queries related to appearing as a witness at legal proceedings are addressed, such as when you may be called as a witness, payment of expenses, preparation to testify, procedural information, and the need for legal representation.

The Nurse as an Advocate - To speak up, or not to speak up. That is the question.

Vicarious Liability - The legal accountability of the employer for the negligent acts of employees is discussed. Risk management steps for the nurse are provided.

We welcome your suggestions for future infoLAW topics.
Please forward your suggestions to CNPS at :

Canadian Nurses Protective Society
510 - 1545 Carling Avenue
Ottawa ON  K1Z 8P9
E-mail address:

Tel.: 1-800-267-3390 (toll free) or 613-237-2092
Fax: 1-613-237-6300

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