Informed Consent in Canada

Essay by rakeshcaltonA+, February 2006

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In Canada that health-care practitioners, including dentists, have an ethical and legal duty to ensure that the informed consent of patients is obtained prior to the provision of health-care treatment. Informed consent is a legal term. According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, "The patient's decision to consent to (or refuse) treatment must be informed; that is, the patient must receive information about the nature of the proposed treatment, its expected benefits, the material (common and serious) risks, special risks or material side effects associated with it, alternative courses of action and likely consequences of not having the treatment (CPSO)

In Canada Medical care is wrongful and a "battery" unless the patient has given consent to it. It is an essential prerequisite to the provision of medical services." Canadian Medical Law states, "When a patient reads, understands and signs a written consent to treatment or surgery there is express consent.

Express consent is established when a patient declares his willingness to submit to a medical treatment".

Consent can be given both expressly or impliedly. If consent is not given for a specific action performed by a doctor on his patient then this can constitute a battery. It is also viable that an action in negligence can be initiated; where there has been a breach of the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. For consent to be valid there are three considerations; was the consent sufficiently informed? Was the patient competent to consent? Was the consent uncoerced?

The Law:

The Health Care Consent Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, c.2, Schedule A Subsection 11(1) of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 (the "Act"), defines the requisite elements of consent to treatment as follows:

1. The consent must relate to the treatment.

2. The consent must be informed.