We protect the public and promote the safe and ethical delivery of quality medical care by registrants in Manitoba.
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Email: cpsm@cpsm.mb.ca

Requirements for taking a Leave of Absence

Quick Resources

Download a printable checklist for taking a leave of absence 

Download the Leave of Absence Reporting Form




Taking a leave of absence means being  unavailable to see patients. Consequently, unless there are exceptional circumstances underlying the need for the leave of absence (e.g., medical issue), you are expected to make reasonable plans and arrangements to ensure good continuity of care for your patients.


In general, you should always have a contingency plan for unexpected absences from your practice.


If exceptional circumstances impede your ability to make appropriate arrangements, contact CPSM if possible. If it is a health issue, the Physician Health Program can provide support.


Three main areas need to be considered and addressed, as applicable, when taking a leave of absence. They are (click to jump to each section): 



Communication and Notice


It is essential for you to appropriately communicate with patients and colleagues about a leave of absence to ensure continuity of care for patients and smooth functioning of the practice.


CPSM has specific requirements for communication and advance notice, but you should also exercise good professional judgment in the context of your unique professional practice to ensure patient interests are adequately addressed.


Who needs to be notified?


CPSM requires that registrants provide notice of their intention to take a leave of absence to (as applicable):


  • patients or their representatives
  • other registrants with whom the registrant refers or consults
  • any regional health authority in which the registrant has privileges
  • a personal care home at which the registrant practices
  • CPSM
  • Manitoba Health, Seniors, and Long-Term Care
  • Doctors Manitoba 
  • Canadian Medical Protective Agency (CMPA)


What information needs to be included in the notice to CPSM?


The notice must include the following:


  • The start date of the absence and, if available, the end date.
  • Particulars of any care arrangements that have been made for patients, including whether you intend to continue addressing clinical, and administrative tasks.
  • information about where patient records will be located and how the records can be transferred to another registrant or how copies can be obtained (if applicable). This must include relevant contact information.
  • A copy of the form of the notice supplied to patients and general information about whom the notice was sent.
  • Arrangements that have been made for the secure storage of the patient records and appointment records (if applicable). 
  • A forwarding mailing address and contact information for the registrant.

Use the Leave of Absence Reporting Form to notify CPSM. Once completed, the form can be submitted to registration@cpsm.mb.ca 


Notifying Patients


How notice is provided to patients will usually be a matter of professional judgment. 


  • Depending on the nature of practice, a publication on their website and in the common areas of their practice setting, and/or a mass text, email or mailed notice with generic information may be sufficient to inform the registrant's patient population.
  • CPSM requires that individual notification be provided to patients who have an appointment booked prior to the date of absence and to patients who call to arrange an appointment prior to the date of absence.

When does notice need to be provided?


The purpose of the notice is to make sure those in the system with whom you are connected are made aware and can plan accordingly.


Unless a registrant leaves a medical practice due to illness or other urgent circumstances, at least 90 days' notice must be provided. Otherwise, notice must be provided as soon as possible in the circumstances.


Returning from a leave of absence


Registrants are required to notify CPSM in advance as to when they are returning from a leave of absence. Notice should be given as early as possible. 




Registrants may contact CPSM with questions about notice requirements at registration@cpsm.mb.ca. Inquiries may also be directed to the Canadian Medical Protective Association or Doctors Manitoba. 


Arrangements for Continuity of Care


You are expected to take reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure good continuity of care for patients when taking a leave of absence. This includes ensuring arrangements for follow-up to referrals for consultations, diagnostic requisitions, and requests for prescription renewals.


The Standard of Practice for Good Medical Care includes the following requirements, which apply in the context of a leave of absence:


  • You are responsible for ensuring that specific arrangements are in place for receiving communication respecting critical test results. This includes including those who provide episodic care. 
  • If you are unable to be personally available to receive the critical test results, you must plan with another registrant to be available to receive the critical test results and to provide the appropriate follow-up communication and care to the patient promptly.


Continuity of care entails making sure patients or their representatives have appropriate access to their patient records, including if records need to be transferred to another care provider. 


If you are a primary care physician

Primary care physicians are expected to make reasonable attempts to arrange suitable alternative care of patients, particularly those who are in the course of treatment at the time of the closure. You must document those efforts. It is recognized efforts will not always be successful depending on the availability of an alternate care provider.


If you are a specialist

The care of the patient may, by agreement of the specialist and the referring registrant, be returned to the referring registrant. Depending on the length and reason for the leave, patients may be referred to another healthcare provider.


Practice Environment Considerations


CPSM requires that registrants taking a leave of absence must: