A physician's duty of confidentiality is, for reasons such as public safety, overridden by legislation in certain circumstances.

The following list is provided for the information of physicians. It is only a summary and is not exhaustive. Further information may be available from the relevant authority, from the College, or from legal counsel.

Physicians should note there are certain situations where the duty to report occurs as soon as the physician is aware of the information. At other times, the physician only has a duty to respond to specific inquiries

Family Services Act

Required to report:

Information that ought to cause a physician to suspect that a child has been abandoned, deserted, physically or emotionally neglected, physically or sexually ill-treated, including sexual exploitation through child pornography, or otherwise abused.

Note:  Physicians employed by a Regional Health Authority are also obligated to provide information, on request, regarding a child, a child’s parents or siblings, or a person identified as being significant in the life of the child.  

Public Health Act

Required to report:

Presence of "notifiable disease", "injury or risk factor", or other "reportable event" as defined by regulations.

Contacts of certain communicable diseases

The refusal or neglect of treatment of certain communicable diseases. 

Coroners Act

Required to report:

When a physician has reason to believe that a person died:

  1. as a result of
    1. violence
    2. misadventure
    3. negligence
    4. misconduct
    5. malpractice
  2.  during or following pregnancy in circumstances that might reasonably be attributable to the pregnancy
  3. suddenly and unexpectedly 
  4. from a disease or sickness for which there was no treatment given by a medical practitioner.
  5. from any cause other than a disease, natural causes; or medically assisted death, unless there are circumstances that may require investigation. 

Education Act

Obligated to report a member of the school personnel who there is reasonable grounds to believe is engaged in non-professional conduct.

Workers' Compensation Act

Required to respond to inquiry

From Board regarding care provided to injured worker.

Vital Statistics Act

Required to report:

  • births, stillbirths
  • death certificate including cause of death
  • information, when requested, regarding any birth, stillbirth, marriage or death

Motor Vehicle Act

Required to report:

A person who is apparently of driving age and may not, because of physical or mental impairment, disease or condition, be able to operate a motor vehicle with safety on the highways.

Narcotic Control Regulation

Required to report:

Loss or theft of narcotics

When requested by inspector,

  1. information regarding use and prescription of narcotics.
  2. cannabis medical documents provided by the health care practitioner.

Aeronautics Act

Required to report:

Flight crew member or air traffic controller, if the patient has a medical condition likely to constitute a hazard to aviation safety.

Railway Safety Act

Required to report:

Certain designated railway employees if the patient has a condition likely to constitute a threat to safe railway operations.

Merchant Seaman Compensation Act

Required to respond to inquiry:

From employer regarding injured seaman. 

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act

Required to provide information to an investigator.

4/04; amended 6/17

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Address all correspondence to

College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick
One Hampton Road, Suite 300
Rothesay, NB E2E 5K8 

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