Note: This article was originally published in our Winter 2019 edition of our On Call newsletter, and has not been updated.
Relevant Professional Standards:
42. Never pursue or engage in a sexual relationship with a client.
Relevant legislation: s. 1(6), Health Professions Procedural Code, Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991
Pursuant to the Health Professions Procedural Code, a year must have passed since the end of the midwife-client relationship before a midwife can become involved in a sexual relationship with a former client. If the relationship begins and it has been less than a year since the midwife-client relationship ended, the midwife is considered to have committed sexual abuse under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA).
Midwives are reminded that even providing a small aspect of care, such as attending a client’s appointment for only one day while covering for another midwife, still constitutes providing care to that client and a midwife-client relationship existing.
After the midwife-client relationship has ended, it is possible that the midwife may not remember providing care to a particular individual or the individual may not remember receiving care from the midwife. Midwives are accordingly advised to clearly record the date they see clients and to ask persons prior to commencing a sexual relationship whether they have ever received midwifery care or if the midwife has provided care to them in a professional capacity. Midwives may also choose to cross-reference the individual’s name with the names of their clients to ensure that if care has been provided to them, a year has passed.