Health Care Legislation Relevant to Practice
This page identifies common pieces of provincial and federal legislation and resources relevant to the practice of registrants of the College of Registered Nurses of Saskatchewan (CRNS). The acts, regulations, bylaws, and information on this page are not exhaustive. Please refer to the actual legislation and resource for complete, up-to-date detailed information and for legal obligations outlined by that legislation and resource.
CRNS Standards & Competencies for RNs & NPs
Standard 1: Professional Responsibility
The RN is responsible for practicing safely, competently and ethically, and is accountable to the client, public, employer and profession. The RN upholds this standard by:
- 9. Practicing in accordance with agency policy and legislation, and in a timely manner, recognizes and reports near misses and errors (own and others), adverse events and critical incidents, and taking action to stop and minimize harm.
Standard 5: Self-Regulation
The RN demonstrates an accountability to regulate themselves in accordance with their legislated scope of practice. The RN upholds this standard by:
- 49. Practicing in accordance with The Registered Nurses Act, 1988, other current relevant legislation, bylaws, scope of practice, standards, entry-level competencies, guidelines and employer policies.
Professional RNs are professionals who are committed to the health and well-being of clients. RNs uphold the profession’s practice standards and ethics and are accountable to the public and the profession. RNs demonstrate accountability, accepts responsibility and seeks assistance as necessary for decisions and actions within the legislated scope of practice.
- 2.4 Maintains client privacy, confidentiality and security by complying with legislation, practice standards, ethics and organizational policies.
Advocate RNs are advocates who support clients to voice their needs to achieve optimal health outcomes. RNs also support clients who cannot advocate for themselves.
- 7.10 Advocates for client’s rights and ensures informed consent, guided by legislation, practice standards, and ethics.
Standard 1: Professional Responsibility and Accountability
The NP is responsible for professional conduct and accountability in all areas of practice. The NP will:
- 4. Practise in accordance with federal and provincial legislation relevant to NP practice.
Standard 3: Ethical Practice
The NP utilizes the principles in the current Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses for professional judgment and practice decisions (Canadian Nurses Association, 2008). The NP “engages in critical inquiry to inform clinical decision-making, establishes therapeutic, caring, and culturally safe relationships with clients and the health care team” (SRNA, 2013, p. 15). The NP will:
- 15. Practise in accordance with the federal and provincial privacy legislation.
NPs deliver safe, competent, compassionate, and ethical care across the lifespan with diverse populations and in various practice settings. NPs ground their care in evidence-informed practice and use critical inquiry in their advanced diagnostic and clinical reasoning.
- 1.2 Obtain informed consent according to legislation and regulatory requirements.
- 1.7(a) Follow legislative, regulatory, and organizational requirements, when prescribing pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
- 1.7(c) Utilize prescription monitoring and reporting programs according to jurisdictional and legislative requirements.
- 1.12 Apply harm-reduction strategies and evidence-informed practice to support clients with substance use disorder while adhering to federal and provincial/territorial legislation and regulation.
- 1.12(d) Adhere to legislation, regulation, and organizational policy related to the safe storage and handling of controlled drugs and substances.
- 1.14 Conduct record-keeping activities according to legislation and jurisdictional regulatory requirements.
- 1.14(b) Collect, disclose, use, and destroy health information according to privacy and confidentiality legislation, regulations, and jurisdictional regulatory standards.
- 1.15(a) Engage in ethical practices that adhere to jurisdictional and federal legislation, regulations, guidelines, and ethical standards for nursing.
NPs influence and improve the health and well-being of their clients, communities, and the broader populations they serve. They address issues related to health inequity, culture, diversity, and inclusion to improve health outcomes and lead advocacy efforts to change policies and legislation.
- 3.6 Support the development of policies and legislation to improve health.
- 3.6(c) Evaluate the impact of policies and legislation on health and health equity.
- 3.6(e) Contribute to the development of policies and legislation.
Federal & Provincial Legislation for RNs & NPs
The Emergency Medical Aid Act – relating to non-liability for the provision of emergency medical services or first-aid assistance.
The Emergency Protection for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Act – relating to the duty to report if a person believed to be less than 18 years old is subjected to sexual abuse.
The Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act G-9.1 – relating to the requirement for health care employees to report gunshot injuries and stab wounds to the police.
The Health Information Protection Act – respecting the collection, storage, use, and disclosure of personal health information, access to personal health information, and the privacy of individuals concerning personal health information. This legislation places obligations on trustees in the health care system as defined in the act.
The Housing and Special-care Home Regulations – outlining the guests' care relating to accounting procedures, nursing care, medical coverage, and medications.
The Mandatory Testing and Disclosure (Bodily Substances) Act and The Mandatory Testing and Disclosure (Bodily Substances) Regulations – relating to the mandatory testing of bodily substances for communicable diseases. RNs are qualified health professionals pursuant to the regulations and, therefore, have obligations in accordance with section 8 of the act.
The Medical Laboratory Licensing Act, 1994 and The Medical Laboratory Licensing Regulations, 1995 – regarding licensing and operating medical laboratories. An RN, a Registered Nurse with Additional Authorized Practice (RN[AAP]), and an NP are designated as qualified professionals to request or perform specific laboratory tests as outlined within the parameters of the documents.
The Mental Health Services Act and Mental Health Services Regulations – relating to mental health services and, under exceptional circumstances, providing care and treatment without an individual's consent. The Guide to the Mental Health Services Act, 2015, explains that The Mental Health Services Act promotes consistent interpretation. It includes forms that must be completed by a physician or prescribed health care professional and outlines the responsibilities and roles of the RN under the act.
Program Guidelines for Special Care Homes – the Facility Designation Regulations require that all special care homes and other designated facilities that provide long-term care shall operate in accordance with these guidelines. They are considered the minimum standards of care in special-care homes.
The Provincial Health Authority Act – respecting the Provincial Health Authority and Health Services, e.g., Responsibilities and powers of the Minister, Provincial Health Authority and Cancer Agency, Health Care Organizations, and Affiliates. The Provincial Health Authority Administration Regulations define health services under the act to include RN or NP services and include NPs as practitioner staff under the act. The act obligates the provincial health authority and its affiliates to make bylaws which govern their practitioner staff.
The Public Health Act – the statutory basis for the reporting, investigation, and control of communicable diseases in Saskatchewan.
The Regional Health Services Act – relating to delivering health services, establishing and governing health regions and regional health authorities, and governing health care organizations.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act, 2023 – regarding employment standards, occupational health, and safety, including who can manage or control ionizing radiation equipment, labour relations, and related issues. Outlines circumstances where an RN may request certain information to make a medical diagnosis or render medical treatment to a worker in an emergency. The act specifies the obligations of the RN to respect the use and confidentiality of such information.
Corrections and Conditional Release Act – regarding corrections, the conditional release and detention of offenders, and the office of correctional investigator. There is a section specific to health care and mental health care within this Act and many items about health care professionals that they must adhere to in the care and treatment of inmates.
Criminal Code – regarding criminal laws and procedures; setting out offences, penalties, and procedural rules for fair and just treatment of individuals in criminal proceedings. RNs and NPs must know actions that could be considered criminal in nature – both actions or inactions they witness and take. These actions include assault if proper consent is not obtained, negligence if the standard of care is not met, or fraud if records are falsified.
Personal Information Protection Electronic Act (PIPEDA) – applies to private-sector organizations across Canada that collect, use, or disclose personal information during a commercial activity. Organizations (e.g., health care organizations and health care providers) outlined through this Act must generally get an individual’s consent when collecting, using, and/or disclosing personal information. Individuals have the right to access personal information and challenge its accuracy. The information can only be used for the purpose for which it was collected, and safeguards must be in place to protect the information.
Privacy Act – sets out rules for the federal government relating to the collection, use, disclosure, and retention of personal information. This may apply to RNs employed by the federal government, i.e., Correctional Service of Canada.
The Attending Health Professionals Regulations – section 9 provides the authority of NPs to treat in-patients and out-patients.
The Coroners Act, 1999 and The Coroners Regulations, 2020 – facilitating a coroner system that: (a) provides for independent and impartial investigations into, and public inquests respecting, the circumstances surrounding unexpected, unnatural or unexplained deaths; (b) determines the identity of a deceased person and how, when, where and by what means that person died; (c) uncovers dangerous practices or conditions that may lead to death; (d) educates the public respecting dangerous practices and conditions; and (e) publicizes, and maintains records of and the circumstances surrounding, causes of death. It may have implications for NPs who provide medical assistance in dying.
The Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act – allows any person over 16 years of age who has the capacity to make a health care directive for future treatment they may undergo. It also allows any person to appoint a proxy to make treatment decisions on their behalf should they become incapable. The act also establishes a scheme of decision-makers in the circumstance that the adult loses capacity without having a directive in place appointing a proxy or a personal guardian.
The Prescription Drugs Act – identifying a practitioner as legally authorized to write prescriptions in Saskatchewan and the requirements for completing prescriptions. The Prescription Drugs Regulations, 1993, outline in the Appendix what information about a prescribing practitioner needs to be submitted to the Drug Database by the practitioner.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act, 2023 –regarding employment standards, occupational health, and safety, including who can manage or control ionizing radiation equipment, labour relations, and related issues. An NP may be requested to provide medical evidence through a medical certificate relating to a medical leave or extension of a leave.
The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 and The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations, 1985 – relating to compensation for injured workers. A nurse is included under the definition of a health care professional in the act and has obligations and duties relating to their attendance to or consultation of injured workers. The act also includes professional nursing services under the definition of medical aid.
The Workers’ Compensation Miscellaneous Regulations – industries and occupations excluded from the act that may apply for voluntary coverage.
An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) – identifying NPs as practitioners who may be exempt from The Criminal Code when administering substances that cause death for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations (BOTSR) – describing the circumstances and requirements in which health care providers conduct regulated activities related to BOTSR, including but not limited to possession, sale, and distribution.
Cannabis Regulations – enacted under the Cannabis Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the Food and Drugs Act for the safe supply of regulating cannabis. Part 14 deals with access to cannabis for medical purposes, and Division 3 deals with health professionals, hospitals and health practitioners. Provinces and territories may have variations, as they are authorized within specific parameters to establish their regulations under the overarching federal framework. For instance, Saskatchewan has The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act and the Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Regulations. NPs need to adhere to authorization parameters.
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – provides the legal framework for regulating controlled substances, including drugs and substances with potential health and safety risks.
Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations – defining prescription and non-prescription drugs and governs the sale and distribution of drugs in Canada. It regulates the safety, efficacy, and quality of food, drugs, cosmetics, therapeutic products, and advanced therapeutic products.
Narcotic Control Regulations – regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act providing detailed guidelines regarding controlling, distributing, and prescribing narcotics.
New Classes of Practitioner Regulations – regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act outlining eligible NP permissions and exclusions for prescribing or possessing a listed substance or an activity with a listed substance in accordance with the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations, Part G of the Food and Drug Regulations, or the Narcotic Control Regulations.
Employment Insurance Act – regarding temporary financial support through benefits for those unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work for various reasons. NPs may be involved in issuing certificates under this legislation for the purposes of a person seeking compassionate care benefits, critically ill adult benefits, or critically ill child benefits.
Regulatory Bylaws from Other Organizations & Collaborating Partners in Regulation
Dental Disciplines Act Bylaws – bylaws applying to dental disciplines and refer to the prescription review program that NPs may prescribe and dispense according to the policies and procedures agreed to by the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists, and the CRNS.
Interim Practitioner Staff Bylaws, 2023 – bylaws applying to the members of the practitioner staff, including NP and RN(AAP), have been developed and enacted for the purposes outlined in The Provincial Health Authority Act.
Regulatory Bylaws for Medical Practice in Saskatchewan – bylaws for members of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, including outlining delegation and directives to RNs.
The Regulatory Bylaws of the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals – providing information in connecting with the Prescription Review Program, including dispensing to health professional regulatory bodies and reviewing prohibited drugs, i.e., exempted codeine products on the advice of an NP.
Network of Interprofessional Regulatory Organizations – a network of health regulators in Saskatchewan regulating professional practice.