Legal risk is an inevitable part of nursing practice
Ask yourself: Who will protect you, your professional reputation and your registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) if a complaint is made against you?
Will you need legal advice if you lose your job? Lawyers' fees can range from $250 to $500 per hour or more for legal advice and representation. Enrollment in RNAO's Legal Assistance Program (LAP®) provides RNAO members with security and peace of mind at the low cost of $64.57 per year (in addition to your annual RNAO membership fee).
What is covered?
LAP was established by RNAO in 1986 to assist its members with certain legal problems, on a case-by-case basis, related to the professional practice of nursing (as recognized by CNO). LAP provides financial support for access to legal counsel in a number of circumstances, including:
- CNO investigations and proceedings in relation to a members' professional practice as a result of a letter of complaint, report/self-report or other investigation
- Members required to appear as a witness in a legal proceeding or involvement in a coroner's inquest, in relation to an incident(s) which occurred in the course of nursing practice
- Employment contract review prior to accepting a non-unionized, administrative or managerial nursing position
- Other individual employment-related matters such as: termination, WSIB claims and human rights claims
In addition to access to legal counsel, LAP also provides participants with employment relations advice, free information materials, educational presentations on legal issues relevant to nursing practice, as well as referral to RNAO and external resources which may be of assistance to members in their particular circumstances.
How to enrol?
To enrol in LAP, contact RNAO at 416-599-1925 or toll-free 1-800-268-7199 and ask to speak with a membership representative. If you would like more information about LAP or if you are already a LAP member and have legal concerns related to your nursing practice, please contact Mara Haase, LAP administrator, at 416-599-1457 or toll free at 1-800-268-7199 ext. 223.
To be eligible for LAP, a member must have been enrolled in program at the time of the incident(s) giving rise to the need for assistance and remain a participant continuously and without interruption from that time, up until their case is resolved. LAP is under no obligation to reimburse members for legal expenses incurred where a lawyer has been engaged or retained prior to contacting the LAP administrator. Requests for assistance will only be considered for assistance which is not covered by a union or other provider or plan. See "LAP - Legal Assistance Program Policies" below or contact the LAP administrator for more information.
Please see the events calendar for upcoming webcasts.
Legal columns from RNJ
- Why I'm glad I have LAP
- Know your rights. A practical guide to dealing with CNO complaints
- Different programs, different policies: Why ONA and other Unionized RNAO members should have LAP
- Access to legal counsel is critical
- The Risks of Leadership
- Your workplace rights during COVID-19
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