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Medical professionalism

#GoodDoctors have an obligation to their patients 

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has embarked on a multi-year strategic initiative to lead a discussion to define a progressive and values-based vision for medical professionalism. Our discussion is comprised of three pillars of professionalism:

  • quality of care and accountability for health outcomes;
  • design and delivery of patient and family-centred care; and
  • inter- and intra-professional collaboration.

Why this topic and why now?

The context in which physicians study and practice medicine is constantly evolving. Medicine (and health care more broadly) is changing in ways that often challenge the assumptions upon which the profession has based its practice for decades. The CMA believes that physicians not only need to engage in conversations about medical professionalism but need to lead these conversations. 
In his commencement speech at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2012, Governor General David Johnston made the following observations:

“What happens if you fail to meet the obligations under the social contract? Canadians will change that contract and redefine professionalism for you. Regulations and changes will be forced upon you—quite possibly in forms that diminish or remove your self-regulatory privilege.

One of the best ways for you and for men and women in any profession to avoid having change forced upon you is to relentlessly embrace new ideas, tenaciously set and reach higher standards and, most importantly, passionately strive to ensure your profession serves the public good.”

The burning platform exists. The profession must rise to the challenge.

Since launching the initiative in August 2015, the CMA has received a tremendous amount of feedback from members like you, from all across the country. While there are a wide range of perspectives on these complex issues, we have heard clearly that they are of great importance to you as physicians.

To successfully craft a progressive and modern vision of medical professionalism that reflects the views of our membership, it is critical that we continue to hear from you.

If there are any other dimensions of medical professionalism that you would like to see discussed here, please email your suggestions to


Medical professionalism