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e-2890 (Justice)

Initiated by Teri McGrath from Penticton, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association, founded in 1901, was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1913, and Canada remains after 120 years, worldwide, the only country with a medical protective association;
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association states it is a not-for-profit association and yet has $5,400,000,000 in assets that increase annually;
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association uses taxpayer dollars ($520,000,000+) that is transferred and increases annually in a rebate program to subsidize the association;
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association does not have public oversight, instead is governed by by-laws developed by membership and is therefore self-regulated/self-policed; and
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association hires top tier lawyers who use scorched earth tactics to defend doctors accused of medical errors and these court cases can last from five to eight years, with only two percent of cases settled in favour of the patient/family.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to:
1. Require the Attorney General of Canada to conduct a forensic examination of the Canadian Medical Protective Association program for improprieties, including misappropriation of taxpayer dollars that are being used for actions outside the realm of reasonable behaviors, ethics and conflicts of interest enabling negligence in patient care, profiteering as evident in their lavish work environment and breach of trust when denying culpability in patient related harm;
2. Defund the Canadian Medical Protective Association by eliminating the rebate program and return taxpayer dollars to taxpayer patients who experience medical errors; and
3. Repeal the Act of Parliament that incorporated the Canadian Medical Protective Association diminishing the hierarchical culture and restoring public trust.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

The quality and safety of health service delivery is the responsibility of provinces and territories. However, the Government of Canada recognizes the need to improve patient safety within our healthcare system in collaboration with provinces, territories and other key partners. As a result, the federal government focuses its efforts, through its funding for Healthcare Excellence Canada (formerly the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement), on collaborative work with all jurisdictions and system stakeholders to support the different legal, regulatory, and care delivery processes that can be used to reduce the occurrence of unintentional harm.  Healthcare Excellence Canada has developed world-class programs to help individuals and organizations ensure that patients are not harmed by the health care system, and makes those programs and related tools and resources widely available. The organization also seeks out innovative solutions for improving health care, and supports them so that they can spread and scale.

In addition, Health Canada plays a role in regulating the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals and as such plays a role in ensuring their safe use. Health Canada funds the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS). Under CMIRPS, hospitals report medication errors to the National System for Incident Reporting (NSIR); community pharmacies report medication errors to the National Incident Data Repository for Community Pharmacies; and individual practitioners and consumers can report medication errors to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada). Reports of medication errors, as well as near misses and other reports of concern, are collected and analyzed for shared learning in an effort to prevent medication errors. Further, recent amendments to the Food and Drug Act through the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (also known as Vanessa’s Law) will strengthen the regulation of therapeutic products and improve the reporting of adverse reactions by healthcare institutions. New regulations also came into force in December 2019 to mandate reporting on adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents at hospitals within 30 days of the event.

Although created by a Special Act of Parliament, the Government of Canada does not enjoy any special status or obligations with respect to the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). As a special act corporation, the CMPA is subject to Part 19 of the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act, which requires the corporation to hold annual meetings and to file annual returns with Corporations Canada. The Act does not provide the federal government with authority to conduct a forensic examination of the CMPA program of the sort requested in this petition, in the absence of actions suspected to be criminal in nature. Petitioners are consequently encouraged to raise any concerns with respect to the CPMA with the voting members of the corporation and/or to its Council.

Provincial/territorial governments provide funding to offset CMPA membership fees for physicians practicing in that province or territory as part of the compensation packages negotiated with physicians. As the delivery of health care services are a provincial/territorial responsibility in Canada, including management of the oversight and regulation of health care delivery, provinces and territories have the jurisdiction to decide how and how much they will fund insurance and medical liability coverage as part of the bargaining process with their physicians. Consequently, any changes to funding proposed by the petitioners should be directed to provincial/territorial governments.

Open for signature
October 8, 2020, at 11:23 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 5, 2021, at 11:23 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay)
February 17, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00518)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Richard Cannings
South Okanagan—West Kootenay
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia
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