Debunking Regulatory Myths

October 27, 2023

CPSM recognizes there are many misconceptions about the role medical regulators play. It is important that we understand, reflect on, and address the concerns that exist about medical regulation. 

Below are three common myths.

Myth: Regulatory bodies are made up of physicians protecting physicians.

Reality: We are guided by our responsibility to protect the public. The responsibility to regulate is not ours alone; physicians (and all CPSM registrants) share the responsibility of self-regulation.

Self-regulation is both an individual and collective effort. It is crucial for maintaining high-quality medical care for the people of Manitoba. Some of the ways registrants contribute to actively participating in self-regulation are:

  • Being informed of and following CPSM Standards of Practice, Bylaws, and the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics and Professionalism.
  • Being committed to ongoing education and quality improvement.  
  • Appropriately documenting and maintaining patient records.
  • Participating in and cooperating with CPSM’s quality assurance programs.
  • Seeking help when their mental or physical wellness - or that of a colleague’s - may be at risk.
  • Participating on Council and committees. 

To understand the dynamic nature of the medical profession, Council and committees are diverse and include physicians, legal experts, and non-physician members.

Input from non-physicians ensures that decisions are made with a broad perspective and focus on patient safety and ethical standards, not on protecting physicians.

Medical expertise is also required to effectively regulate the profession. 

  View a list of Councillors, access meeting updates here, and see communications from Council in our news blog.

  View a listing of our senior administration team and department and program contact details. 


Myth: Regulatory bodies lack transparency.

Reality: Transparency is a cornerstone of medical regulation. We follow the framework in the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), as do other healthcare professions in Manitoba.

We communicate with the public and registrants to inform them of regulatory updates, public consultations, guidance, disciplinary decisions, and other news.

Here are a few ways we demonstrate transparency:

Practitioner Profile Search provides details regarding a physician's education, training, primary practice location, restrictions or conditions on their practice, and previous disciplinary action. It is updated in real-time and available 24/7 on our website. Some reasons patients use the Practitioner Profile Search include:

Ø  You or a family member are seeing a new physician for the first time.

Ø  You or a family member have been referred to a specialist.

Ø  You or a family member are seeking episodic care (i.e. a walk-in clinic).

Ø  You need to contact a previous physician for medical records.

  Publications of formal disciplinary action taken by CPSM concerning a registrant, including Censures and Inquiry Panel decisions, are posted once the decision is final. The database also includes publications for Voluntary Surrender of registration, Reinstatement applications, and Cancellation of Registration (for non-disciplinary reasons).

Council meetings are open to the public and registrants. Additionally, meeting agendas and updates are posted online.

Public consultations are held when new Standards of Practice or Practice Directions are being developed (or updated). This encourages diverse perspectives from the public, stakeholders, and registrants.

Sign up for our public mailing list below to receive updates about public consultations and other news regarding patient care. 

Myth: Regulatory bodies are punitive.

Reality: Disciplinary functions exist within regulatory bodies, but that is not our sole function. CPSM is dedicated to safeguarding patient interests, that is our mandate.

One of the ways we achieve this is by providing resources and supporting physicians in maintaining their competence through ongoing education and quality improvement initiatives.

Disciplinary actions are taken when necessary, but we focus on promoting ethical, safe, high-quality care to proactively prevent care or conduct that is inappropriate or substandard from occurring in the first place.

How do we proactively ensure safe care for patients?

One example is the Quality Improvement Program. All registrants are required to do a practice review to make sure they are providing safe care to people in Manitoba. Physicians provide detailed information about their practice and Continuing Professional Development as part of their review. All participants are required to submit an Action Plan for learning and practice improvement.

Other programs focused on supporting registrants in quality improvement include: 

Physician Health Program

Prescribing Practices Program