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CPSO Policy

In May 1992, the Council of the College passed the following guidelines concerning relationships between patients and doctors:

  1. Sexual relationships between doctors and patients during treatment are prohibited

  2. When the doctor-patient relationship involves psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, sexual relations with the patient are prohibited at any time after termination of the treatment.

  3. Where the doctor-patient relationship has, at any time, involved psychotherapy of such duration that it may seem to have been a significant component of treatment, sexual contact with the patient is also prohibited at any time after termination of treatment.

  4. In all other cases, the general rule is that physicians should not have sexual contact with a former patient for a period of one year following the date of the last professional contact with the patient, even if the physician has formally terminated the professional relationship.

In some instances, it may never be appropriate for a post-termination sexual relationship to develop. In others, it may be unnecessary to wait for one year before a sexual relationship can develop; for example an emergency room physician who has treated a patient on one occasion.[2]

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2. Content for this section was provided by Dr. Janet Dollin, Office of Gender and Equity Issues, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa

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