Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Continuing Professional Development at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Understanding Boundaries and Managing Risks Inherent in the Doctor-Patient Relationship

This one and a half day course is offered in a small group format and facilitated by expert educators from Western. Participants are assisted in identifying potential boundary issues in the doctor-patient relationship and in developing implementable strategies upon return to practice.

Participants will have opportunity to work with trained standardized patients in the demonstration of respectful clinical interactions, and to develop skills in setting appropriate boundaries in difficult clinical situations with the guidance of experienced facilitators. Day One includes an evening homework assignment.

Understanding Boundaries is open to CPSO members, as well as other Canadian and U.S. healthcare professionals.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be expected to be able to:
- understand the concepts of “boundaries”, “boundary crossings”, and “boundary violations”
- know the prevailing Canada/Ontario regulations and guidelines governing social and sexual contacts between physicians and patients
- understand the risk factors in both patients and physicians which can lead to boundary violations
- understand the need to clarify with patients particular aspects of history-taking and physical examination in order to avoid any misunderstandings
- recognize the early warning signs which can indicate a situation of increased risk
- know some strategies in communication and physical examination to prevent boundary violations
- demonstrate respectful clinical interactions with programmed/standardized patients
- develop skills in setting appropriate boundaries in difficult clinical situations

Dates, Times and Location

Courses are held in London, Ontario three time a year as follows:

Friday & Saturday, February 9 & 10   Click here to register for February
Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2            Click here to register for June
Friday & Saturday, October 26 & 27   Click here to register for October

Each course runs Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Registration is confirmed upon payment of tuition. A detailed agenda, syllabus and reading materials are sent to confirmed participants in advance of the course. A maximum of 12 participants are accepted into each course.


CPSO members:   $1,320 plus HST
Non-members:      $1,584 plus HST
Payment can be made online at time of registration, by cheque or by phone.


Discussions that take place during this program will be considered private and confidential by all participants and facilitators.

Cancellation Policy

Western reserves the right to cancel this course due to insufficient registrations or circumstances beyond its control.  Registrants will be notified at the earliest possible date in the event of a cancellation.  Tuition fees for courses cancelled by Western will be refunded in full, however Western will not be liable for any loss, damages or other expenses that such cancellations may cause.

Refund Policy

A notice of cancellation must be received in writing 10 business days prior to the program date. A minimum of $20 up to a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee, whichever is greater, will be charged for cancellations received on or before this date.  Western regrets that refunds cannot be offered after the notice of cancellation deadline.


College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
This Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and has been certified for up to 10.75 Mainpro+ credits.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), and approved by Continuing Professional Development, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. (10.75 hours)

Each participant should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the activity.

This program has no commercial support.

The Understanding Boundaries course is offered by Continuing Professional Development, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and recognized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).