Regulating in the public interest through appropriate criminal screening

As part of its duty to regulate physicians in the public interest, the College is tasked with ensuring that patients receive care in a safe environment. In keeping with this mandate, the College is required by law to administer a process of criminal screening, which involves ensuring that every registrant and every individual who applies for registration undergoes a criminal check or criminal record check verification in accordance with the Criminal Records Review Act. Physicians must meet their ongoing registration requirements, which include the duty to engage in this criminal screening process.

Registrants must also be aware of and comply with their reporting obligations to the College. This includes promptly reporting to the College any criminal charge or conviction, as well as providing accurate and complete information about the criminal matter on the Annual Licence Renewal Form.

The College is currently investigating several complaints involving the failure of a registrant to report a criminal charge or conviction in a timely way, or at all. A registrant’s failure to fulfill his or her reporting obligations to the College may result in a finding of unprofessional conduct.

Registrants are reminded of their legal, professional and ethical duty to meet their reporting obligations to the College. The College’s ability to fulfill its mandate to uphold professional standards and provide a safe environment for the public depends on it. Legislative guidance with regards to reporting criminal charges and convictions can be found in the professional standards and guidelines section on the College website. Registrants who are charged and/or convicted are encouraged to seek independent legal advice through the Canadian Medical Protective Association.