CNPS beneficiaries have access to prompt, confidential, legal advice from in-house legal counsel experienced in nursing or health law. This includes information about professional obligations and professional liability issues in specific circumstances and the explanation of legal steps to take and actions to avoid when an incident has occurred.
The CNPS can also provide pre-contractual review of professional service agreements. This service is to assist beneficiaries in identifying wording or content in a proposed agreement that may give rise to issues within the realm of professional obligations, responsibility or liability. It is not intended to address pure employment or commercial terms.
As there are several aspects of an agreement to consider in a review, it is important to contact the CNPS as soon as possible upon receipt of the agreement so that there is adequate time to proceed to the review. We cannot provide any commitment that a review will be conducted in advance of any deadline, particularly if the timeline is very short.
Professional Liability Protection (Assistance with legal proceedings**)
Professional Liability Protection (“PLP”) refers to the provision of legal representation to a professional who faces allegations of professional negligence in a claim or lawsuit, along with the payment, on behalf of the professional, of the compensation that the court may order to be paid following a trial or as a result of a settlement.
CNPS beneficiaries are generally eligible for assistance with legal proceedings, including:
- Defence of claims and legal actions for claims arising from nursing practice which are not adequately covered by the employer (primarily claims for professional negligence, but can also extend to claims for defamation, libel, slander, breach of privacy, abuse, neglect or discrimination)
- Assistance generally includes payment of any settlement or any court-imposed damages, costs, legal expenses and fees, generally excluding punitive damages
- Assistance with police inquiries, requests for information
- Investigation of criminal allegations arising from nursing practice
- Defence of criminal charges arising from nursing practice
- Legal representation available to defend charges from the outset in most circumstances
- Includes investigations of alleged human rights infringement, privacy breaches and violations of legal obligations under child protection or “protection for persons in care” legislation
- Legal assistance for nurses compelled to appear as witnesses at legal proceedings
- Legal assistance for nurses involved in coroners’ or medical examiners’ investigations
- Legal assistance in responding to an application for production of client records in a criminal sexual assault case
Are you facing a situation that is not expressly contained in the above? A military board of inquiry? The theft of your prescription pad? We know that your practice is unpredictable and that legal issues cannot all be contained in a pre-established list.
The CNPS is structured to act as your legal resource as you navigate the complexities of modern health care. While we cannot provide a solution to every problem, the CNPS can assist in a wide range of unexpected circumstances where your professional integrity may be threatened or where legal support is needed to address a patient safety concern.
Risk management education
The CNPS publishes educational material on a wide range of subjects to help nurses understand their professional legal obligations and manage the risks in their nursing practice with the goal of improving patient safety. We provide risk-management presentations to nursing groups across Canada on specific legal issues related to their nursing practice. Additionally, the CNPS hosts regular webinars on a variety of topics relevant to risk-management in nursing practice. Learn more.
Would you like to request a group presentation or CNPS attendance at an event? Please fill out the request form here.
Looking for Assistance with complaints made to your nursing regulator about your professional conduct? Apply for Supplementary Protection (optional)
The CNPS: A lifetime investment
CNPS professional liability protection is occurrence-based, which means nurses can seek assistance from the CNPS regarding legal proceedings arising from professional nursing services rendered while they were CNPS beneficiaries, regardless of when a claim resulting from this incident is made or a legal proceeding is commenced. Beneficiaries therefore remain eligible through retirement for assistance with incidents that took place while they were CNPS beneficiaries.
CNPS protection extends to decisions that rest on the exercise of professional nursing judgment, whether made in the context of providing care, managing the provision of care, or providing research or volunteer services.
CNPS offers discretionary assistance – a unique and flexible approach to providing professional liability protection, modeled on the professional liability protection relied upon by Canadian physicians for more than a hundred years. The CNPS is not an insurance company. It considers each request for assistance on an individual basis. This allows the CNPS to effectively provide professional liability protection and respond to a wide range of other circumstances, including, but not limited to, the legal circumstances listed above. Requests for legal representation will be considered on a case-by-case basis by a committee of nurses to determine eligibility for assistance as well as the appropriate level of assistance.
* Certain conditions may apply. Contact the CNPS for more information.
** An individual annual aggregate limit may apply.
*** CNPS professional liability protection generally does not extend to claims for which the nurse’s defence is adequately covered by an employer’s professional liability protection or insurance.