Understanding Your Professional Liability Protection and Legal Assistance


NEED TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY PROTECTION AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE? The table below is provided to help you ask the right questions. Please note that decisions to extend assistance made by the CNPS are made on the basis of the circumstances of each case. This information below, presented as a general reference guide, sets out the circumstances in which a CNPS beneficiary can reasonably expect that assistance will be granted. It does not include all terms and conditions of CNPS assistance and the CNPS may extend assistance in circumstances that are not specifically outlined below. Please contact the CNPS for more information relating to your specific circumstances.

CATEGORIES OF PROTECTION/ASSISTANCE

CNPS

Commercial professional liability insurance

 CIVIL PROCEEDINGS (Lawsuits for damages)

Professional liability protection (“PLP”):
Protection against claims for professional negligence

YES

YES

Defence from other claims (must arise from nursing practice:

  • libel, defamation, slander
  • discrimination, abuse, neglect
  • breach of privacy/ "intrusion upon seclusion"
YES INQUIRE
Extends beyond direct care (manager, educator, volunteer)

YES

For decisions that rely on professional nursing judgment

INQUIRE

If you do not practice in a traditional nursing role, it is important to inquire if the policy will extend to your practice of nursing.

  • Individual annual limit
Per claim limit of $10 million for PLP, and $1 million for “other claims”;
Aggregate (i.e. all claims) limit per nurse of $10 million, which can be increased to $20 million by the CNPS Board of Directors if concern that initial $10 million may be exhausted.
NEED TO KNOW
Per claim and total per year
  • Group/Shared limit
NO

NEED TO KNOW

If the insurance coverage is obtained as part of a group plan, the group policy may include a group annual limit per year. 

  • Duration of protection

INDEFINITE

Individual protection/ assistance is occurrence-based. This means that CNPS beneficiaries remain eligible for PLP and assistance through retirement and death for all incidents that occurred while they were a beneficiary of the CNPS.

WHILE POLICY IS IN FORCE

Insurance is generally provided on a claims-made basis. This means that coverage extends to claims that are reported within the policy period.  It is usually possible to purchase “tail coverage”, which extends the time to report and obtain coverage for claims that arise from care provided while the policy was in force. 

  • Extends to claims irrespective of employment status

YES

However, if the nurse’s defence is adequately covered by her employer’s insurance, the nurse will be generally expected to rely on her employer’s insurance.

NEED TO KNOW

Inquire whether insurance covers all aspects of nursing practice.
Insurance made available by employer may stipulate that coverage is available only when the nurse is acting in the scope of employment.

  • Is there a policy of insurance

NO

Assistance is discretionary. Decisions with respect to the extent of assistance are made on a case by case basis, guided by the principles of assistance established by the board of directors (see www.cnps.ca/services)

YES

However, the policy may contain exclusions, and it would be important to understand what is excluded from coverage.

  • Does it provide evidence of PLP for third parties
YES YES

 OTHER LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Criminal investigations

YES

INQUIRE

How is it available? At the outset when the investigation takes place or on a reimbursement basis after acquittal or “not guilty” verdict?

Criminal prosecution (i.e. once charges laid)

YES

Up to $25,000 initially, unless prior criminal conviction related to nursing practice for which the nurse received assistance from the CNPS.
Assistance otherwise available on reimbursement basis following acquittal or the dismissal of all charges.

INQUIRE

How is it available? At the outset when the investigation takes place or on a reimbursement basis after acquittal or “not guilty” verdict?

Allegations of breach of statute (excluding regulatory and labour/employment matters)

YES

INQUIRE

If available, is it limited to certain types of statutory proceedings?

Inquests, public inquiries, fatality inquiries

YES

INQUIRE

Witness

YES

Usually in the form of advice.

INQUIRE

“Miscellaneous”

YES

If deemed advisable by the CNPS to protect the professional integrity of the beneficiary or if the CNPS can effectively assist in addressing a patient safety concern.

NO

  • Individual annual limit

"Per occurrence" limit: $1 million
Aggregate (total) limit: $3 million

NEED TO KNOW

Whether limits for legal assistance other than PLP are in addition to or included in the total claims limits.

 

 OTHER ASSISTANCE

Legal advice relating to nursing practice

YES

INQUIRE

Risk management services

YES

Comprehensive monitoring of nursing and legal environment, access to information about emerging legal developments from lawyers with extensive nursing and/or health law experience, group presentations, webinars, personal consultations.

INQUIRE

Contract review

YES

INQUIRE

Early intervention

YES

Objective is to provide assistance at the earliest opportunity (before a threat of proceeding is made, if possible) to avoid potential escalation of legal issue. 

INQUIRE

Regulatory (College) complaints and investigations

AVAILABLE

Optional service available as a part of CNPS Supplementary Protection.

INQUIRE

Inquiries should include whether certain categories of complaints are excluded.

Business protection

  • Professional liability
  • General commercial liability
  • Employment practices
  • Cyber liability

AVAILABLE

CNPS in collaboration with the BMS Group has structured the CNPS Business Plus insurance program, as a complement to the individual services provided by CNPS (see www.cnps.ca/cnpsplus).

USUALLY AVAILABLE