Volume 10 | No. 3 | May / Jun 2022 query_builder 2 minutes

Registrants have a duty to report adverse events



The CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism states that registrants have a professional obligation to commit to the well-being of a patient. As part of upholding this commitment, registrants are required to report harm that has occurred to a patient and report even if there is a chance of harm. As mass immunizations quickly increased over the last two years, concerns have been raised regarding a lack of reporting of adverse events following immunization (AEFI). Although they are often less serious, there are varying degrees of adverse events. As a reminder, the Public Health Act requires registrants to report any AEFI outlined in the Act. 

More information on the requirements for reporting, as well as the fillable AEFI form, can be found on the BCCDC website.

While AEFI reporting falls under provincial legislation, law exists at the federal level to protect the public from unsafe therapeutic products. The Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law) mandates that hospitals report all serious adverse drug reactions and all medical device incidents. Although most of the obligation is on hospitals rather than individuals in the act of reporting, registrants working in hospitals are directly involved when there is an unsafe event from a drug and/or medical device. Information on the mandatory reporting of serious adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents by hospitals can be found on the Health Canada website

In addition to the above events, the College outlines other reportable instances in its legislative guidance, Duty to Report

This broadly includes duties to report:

  • other registrants’ conduct or fitness to practice
  • child protection concerns 
  • deaths and appropriate certificates
  • AEFI
  • infections or exposure
  • health hazards
  • patient medical events following motor vehicle accident
  • patient fitness to drive (commercial and personal)
  • workers compensation information 
  • stab or gunshot wounds

Registrants are reminded to stay current with the legislation to ensure all reportable events are being appropriately reported. Questions can be directed to the College, CMPA, BCCDC, or Health Canada, depending on the event. 

Important links