FAQs - General FAQ
- Independent practice
- Camp nursing
- Working in a foreign country
- Volunteer work
- Taking a nursing course in the USA
- Whether CNPS would fund a lawsuit a nurse wishes to initiate
- Working on a cruise ship outside Canadian waters
- How do I get CNPS protection?
Responses to FAQs:
- a.) Will I be protected by CNPS if I am in independent practice?
Nurses in independent practice are eligible for full CNPS benefits, the same as nurses in any other nursing role, provided they belong to their provincial/territorial professional nursing associations / colleges and that their associations / colleges are members of CNPS. The protection offered by CNPS, however, applies only to nurses performing a nursing service and does not apply to a business entity nor to the nurse as owner, operator or manager of a business, even if it is a health care business.
b) Will it make a difference whether I work alone or with others?
There are different ways to structure a business. The most straightforward way is to be self-employed with no business partners. This is a sole proprietorship. Another way is to go into partnership with another person or persons. Incorporation is also a possibility.
For CNPS protection it does make a difference. CNPS offers liability protection to nurses working as sole proprietors, but CNPS protection will not extend to liability arising from a partnership and it will not protect a corporation. These are business entities and not direct providers of care. Business insurance, such as that provided through CNPS Plus® (or NurseInsure in Ontario), is available to nurses across Canada at a reasonable cost.
c) How do I go about setting up my own business?
Each business entity mentioned above has different legal and financial implications, including tax consequences. CNPS strongly recommends that you consult a business lawyer in your province or territory to help you choose which business entity would best fit your needs. Further information may be found from the infoLAW® Independent Practice.
- Am I protected if I work as a nurse at a summer camp?
Many nurses spend part of their summer at a camp as a ‘camp nurse'. Some nurses are paid and others are volunteers. Regardless of whether a camp nurse is paid or volunteer, CNPS protection is available to camp nurses who are members in good standing of one of CNPS' member professional nursing associations / colleges (all except B.C. and Quebec). You may want to ascertain whether the camp carries any professional liability insurance for nurses. If the camp does not, and you feel more coverage is required, you may wish to consult CNPS Plus, a CNPS sponsored insurance plan or NurseInsure (an RNAO sponsored plan for Ontario nurses).
You may also wish to consult your provincial/territorial licensing body for information on camp nursing. Several have good publications on camp nursing.
- Will I be protected by CNPS when working in a foreign country?
CNPS benefits remain in place even if you work as a nurse outside of Canada, provided you have remained a member in good standing of your provincial/territorial professional association / college. To obtain legal and financial assistance from CNPS, in the event of a lawsuit, you must be a member of a CNPS member association / college at the time of the occurrence, and the lawsuit against you must be started in Canada. When undertaking a nursing role in another country, it is prudent to explore the avenues of insurance available to you through your new employer.
- Is protection available from CNPS if I provide nursing services as a volunteer?
CNPS protection is not conditional on you being paid for your nursing services. If you are providing professional nursing services on a volunteer basis, CNPS protection is available to you so long as you are a member of your provincial/territorial professional nursing association / college at the time of an incident.
- I am planning to take a course in the USA. Will I still be protected by CNPS?
If you will be doing any clinical practice as a student, it is prudent to determine how students are insured by the educational institution prior to registering. You may also wish to investigate whether there is professional liability insurance available to you in the jurisdiction in which you are studying, since you cannot control in which jurisdiction a lawsuit would be started. To be eligible for CNPS protection, the lawsuit would have to be started in Canada, and you would need to have remained a member in good standing with your professional association / college in Canada at the time of the incident. If you plan to remain working in the USA for a period of time at the end of the course, you will need to consider purchasing professional liability insurance in the USA.
- Can I get financial assistance from CNPS if I want to sue someone?
CNPS protection is available only for defence of lawsuits brought against nurses. When you are sued, you have no choice but to defend yourself. As a nursing organization, CNPS exists to ensure that resources are available to defend nurses placed in this situation. CNPS cannot offer legal or financial support to a nurse who wishes to sue someone. That is a matter of choice. If a nurse chooses to initiate legal action against another person, the nurse must be prepared to bear the costs.
- If I take a nursing job on a cruise ship which travels outside Canadian waters, would CNPS still assist me if I get sued?
Providing professional nursing services while on a luxury cruise appeals to some nurses as an affordable way to travel. CNPS protection is available as long as you are a member of your professional nursing association and the lawsuit is brought in Canada. Since you cannot control where a lawsuit is started, it is wise to determine what liability insurance the employer carries for its nurses as that would be your first source of protection. The CNPS infoLAW bulletin on Vicarious Liability may help you understand the obligations of an employer for the liability of employees.
- How do I get CNPS protection?
If you are a nurse registered in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut, you are automatically eligible for CNPS protection, at no additional charge, as a benefit of your membership in your professional association / college.
In Ontario, you must be a member of RNAO. All nurses in Ontario are automatically eligible for CNPS protection, free of charge, for incidents arising out of the years in which they are or have been a member of RNAO (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario).
If you are a nurse in British Columbia or Quebec, your professional liability insurance needs are taken care of by organizations other than CNPS. Consult your professional nursing association for information.