What is the PLI Requirement Effective October 2019 for all Renewing or Newly Registered Members?

  • All regulated members of ACSLPA on the General Register and those on the Courtesy Register who will be providing a health service to the public must provide evidence of holding a minimum of $2,000,000 (two million dollars) PLI (malpractice) insurance per occurrence in order to obtain and maintain a practice permit.
  • Members are required to hold their own personal PLI policy and can no longer rely on employer coverage.
  • In addition to a minimum $2,000,000 liability coverage per occurrence, regulated members on the general register and those on the courtesy register providing a health service to the public will be required to ensure there is an extended reporting period (ERP) provision for a minimum period of two years.
  • Evidence of PLI will not be required of members in Non-Practicing or Honorary categories of membership, or those on the Courtesy Register who are not providing a health service directly to the public.
  • New regulated members or those changing status from categories of membership that do not require PLI to those that do will be registered with the College but will not be issued a practice permit until all PLI requirements are met.

Why the Change to PLI Requirements?

There has been growing awareness over the past year or more that ACSLPA’s existing PLI requirements were no longer serving the public or members sufficiently. Among the issues identified were the following:

  • Employers that purported to be providing PLI coverage for their employees were found to actually be providing non-PLI forms of insurance including commercial general liability insurance. Although non-PLI forms of insurance also have their place in protecting the public, this was not consistent with the intent of the legislation or ACSLPA’s rules.
  • Most employer policies only cover employees while they are engaged with the employer but the coverage ends as soon as the employee-employer relationship is terminated. This potentially leaves the public and regulated members deprived of the benefit the PLI requirement was originally intended to provide.
  • Some employers have the power to decide if employees receive the benefit of coverage under their PLI plan or not. This gives employers the power to cut employees off if the employer is the complainant or is dissatisfied with the alleged* conduct of their employee. (* in a complaint under the HPA, regulated SLPs and audiologists are assumed innocent unless proven guilty but this doesn’t mean employers want to put their PLI on the line).
  • A scan of similar regulated health professionals found that ACSLPA has not been keeping up with a current trend away from allowing employer coverage.
  • A scan of similar regulated health professionals and a legal opinion found that ACSLPA was not keeping up with the times with the existing $1,000,000 coverage and that $2,000,000 is more appropriate to address the PLI risks in healthcare today.
  • The existing rules did not include any extended reporting period (ERP) requirement. Complaints under the HPA can be initiated against a regulated SLP or audiologist at any time and can be investigated under the HPA for up to two years after the member ceases to be regulated by ACSLPA. Adding the ERP ensures that the public and members have better protection against complaints that arise after the fact.

What’s the Difference between Employer and Individually Held Coverage?

There can be substantial differences between policies provided by employers and those that are individually held. For example:

Employer Coverage Individually Held Coverage
Regulatory Legal Expenses Coverage provided for legal expenses associated with having to appear at a disciplinary hearing with a regulatory body may not be covered. Coverage typically includes legal representation and defence protection.
Criminal Defence Costs Often not covered. Coverage will reimburse insured members for defence costs associated with a case filed under the criminal code if the professional service was rendered in Canada and the member is found “not guilty” of the criminal charge.
Extended Discovery and Reporting Period PLI coverage often ends when the employee resigns or is terminated. Usually provides extended reporting at no charge for PLI claims that are first discovered and filed after an employee retires and is no longer practicing.
Sexual Abuse Therapy Fund Not typically provided. Includes a maximum funding of $25,000 for the rehabilitation and therapy of a person who, while a patient, suffered abuse in the course of an insured member’s practice.

How Do You Go About Accessing Individual PLI Coverage?

Many insurance companies offer PLI coverage. When seeking coverage, be sure that you are covered to at least include the minimum requirements listed above.

If you are a member of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) PLI plans are available. Sheppard Insurance is another example of a company that offers PLI to SLPs and audiologists. Information regarding these plans can be accessed at the following links:

SAC – https://www.sac.bmsgroup.com
Sheppard Insurance – http://www.sheppardinsurance.com/insurance.asp?pgcode=pg05

For further information. . .

For further information on PLI, please contact Susan Rafaat, Deputy Registrar, at deputyregistrar@acslpa.ca.