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Duty to Report

Midwives have a responsibility to take action when they see unsafe practice or unprofessional conduct.​​


Case studies


Can BCCNM suspend a midwife without investigation?

Each case is different and assessed on a case-by-case basis. Generally, BCCNM cannot suspend a midwife without an investigation. In extraordinary cases, BCCNM can, following a formal legal proceeding, limit or suspend a midwife's practice during an investigation. This type of action is very serious and reserved for allegations of acute concern, i.e., when a midwife's reported conduct or practice poses an imminent and significant ongoing danger to the public.

When applicable, BCCNM tries to work consensually with midwives to establish voluntary risk mitigation measures that will protect the public during the investigation period.

Common measures include the midwife agreeing to:

  • Cease practising as a midwife and convert to non-practising status
  • Disclose details of the complaint to all current or new employers for the purpose of oversight
  • Limits and/or conditions on the scope or type of midwifery practice
  • Enhanced supervision in the workplace
  • Counselling or medical monitoring

If a midwife will not consent to the risk mitigation measures the Inquiry Committee believes are necessary, BCCNM may proceed to seek extraordinary action. See how BCCNM resolves a complaint and professional conduct review process for more information.

Am I protected from legal liability if I report another regulated health professional?

The Health Professions Act states no action for damages may be brought against a person for making a report in good faith where the person has a legal duty by the college to report. Midwives in all positions and settings have a legal and ethical duty to report incompetent or impaired practice, or unethical conduct of any regulated health professional.

Can I make an anonymous complaint or report to BCCNM?

Generally, no. Formal complaints or reports must be in writing and signed. During the Professional Conduct Review process, the reported midwife gets a copy of the complaint including the complainant's name.

If there is an immediate concern for public or personal safety, BCCNM may withhold a name or act on an anonymous complaint. More information about making a complaint.

What is my responsibility if I see unsafe, unethical, or incompetent practice?

You have a professional and ethical obligation under the HPA to address this type of practice by any health professional. Our resource Taking action on concerns about practice​ will help you identify and document behaviors of concern and decide what to do.

Relevant legislation