The profession of physician is an exclusive profession. Only people who have a permit and are entered on the Roll of the Order may practice medicine.
Have you witnessed an act of illegal practice? Contact us.
If you have witnessed an act that amounts to the illegal practice of medicine, it is important to let us know by contacting the Information Centre.
Definition of the practice of medicine
According to the Medical Act, the practice of medicine consists in assessing and diagnosing any health deficiency in a person in interaction with their environment, in preventing and treating illness to maintain or restore health or to provide appropriate symptom relief.
Any treatment, if administered for the purpose of treating or curing a sick person, is a form of medical practice. Under the Act, the following activities are reserved to physicians:
- Diagnosing illnesses;
- Prescribing diagnostic examinations;
- Using diagnostic techniques that are invasive or entail risks of injury;
- Determining medical treatment;
- Prescribing medications and other substances;
- Prescribing treatment;
- Using techniques or applying treatments that are invasive or entail risks of injury, including aesthetic procedures;
- Providing clinical monitoring of the condition of patients whose state of health is problematic;
- Providing pregnancy care and conducting deliveries;
- Making decisions as to the use of restraint measures;
- Deciding to use isolation measures in accordance with the Act respecting health services and social services and the Act respecting health services and social services for Cree Native persons; and
- Administering the drug or substance allowing a person to obtain medical aid in dying under the Act respecting end‑of‑life care.
All these activities may also be carried out by other health professionals in certain circumstances or under certain conditions.
Illegal practice of medicine
A person may be in breach of the law for practicing medicine illegally in the following circumstances:
- They engage in medical activities without being entered on the Roll of the Order;
- They use the title of physician, which is a reserved title, without being entered on the Roll of the Order;
- They claim or suggest that they can practice medicine, an exclusive profession, without being entered on the Roll of the Order.
Acting in such a way as to suggest that one is authorized to practice medicine, even without using the title of physician, is also a breach of the law. Thus, a person who publishes an advertisement or gives a testimony claiming they have cured a condition could be in breach of the law.
Inquiries into offences linked to the illegal practice of medicine
As part of its mission to protect the public, the CMQ must monitor the illegal practice of the medical profession and the usurpation of the title of physician. However, the courts are responsible for determining whether or not an offence has been committed and, where appropriate, imposing penalties.
The CMQ must be able to prove the alleged offences by conducting inquiries. Its mandate is to protect the public from the actions of any person who engages in illegal medical activities by usurping the title of physician or by claiming to be qualified to practice the medical profession.
Raising the awareness of potential clients
The mandate of the CMQ is, among other things, to counterbalance the values conveyed by certain groups, influencers or alternative media. Its actions are aimed at:
- Deterring offenders;
- Informing and making potential clients aware of the risks involved when they consult unqualified health resources.
The CMQ primarily raises public awareness in two ways:
- It ensures that the information disseminated in the media (newspapers, specialized magazines, radio, television , news websites) is accurate, complete and based on science;
- It set up a reference and documentation centre to respond to requests from public bodies and the media.
The fines provided for in the Professional Code for a person who contravenes the Act range from $2,500 to $62,500 per count.
The CMQ has been compiling information on people convicted of the illegal practice of medicine since 2005.