Frequently Asked Questions about RPNAO’s Professional Liability Protection Insurance (PLP) and Legal Expense Coverage Benefit

All nurses that are eligible to practice nursing in Ontario including those looking for employment must have professional liability insurance.. Nurses are accountable for having PLP. This includes CNO members who are not practicing but remain in the General, Extended, Temporary, Special Assignment or Emergency Assignment Class This is according to the College of Nurses By-Law 44.4. The insurance that comes with your RPNAO membership goes above and beyond these requirements and includes access to your own legal counsel, often not provided through other insurance.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Professional Liability Protection (PLP) insurance and what it could mean for you are below:

What is Professional Liability Protection (PLP) Insurance?

Professional Liability Protection (PLP) insurance provides financial compensation to members of the public who have been harmed as a result of malpractice or negligence by a nurse. The College of Nurses By-Law 44.4 requires that all nurses who are eligible to practice nursing in Ontario must have PLP.

What is legal expense coverage?

Legal expense coverage provides a nurse who has been accused of malpractice or negligence with financial assistance to pay the legal expenses accrued in the course of a legal defense. A nurse who does not have legal expense coverage may have to pay these expenses out of his or her own pocket. RPNAO’s Professional Liability Protection (PLP) insurance program provides legal expense coverage, even though the College of Nurses of Ontario does not require nurses to have this coverage. Other professional liability insurance programs may not provide legal expense coverage that protects the interests of the nurse.

If I am a member of RPNAO, do I have the necessary insurance required by the College of Nurses Bylaw?

Yes. All members of RPNAO automatically have the required professional liability insurance coverage. In fact we have exceeded the requirements required from the College of Nurses. To those of you who are already members of RPNAO, thank you once again for your continued investment in practical nurses. To apply to become a member of RPNAO, please click here.

What are the added benefits to RPNAO’s Professional Liability Protection over and above that required by the CNO?

One of the unique benefits of RPNAO’s professional liability insurance program is that your coverage will include legal expense coverage allowing you access to your own legal counsel whose priority is representing your professional interests. Plus our insurance covers you 24 hours a day, seven days a week; regardless if your practice is as a paid employee or a volunteer.

If you opt to get this insurance from another provider, this coverage may not be included or in the case of insurance through an employer the legal counsel you have access to may be focused on the employer’s interests.

Is the Legal Assistance portion of the insurance an additional fee on top of the regular RPNAO fee as it is in some in the case of other Nursing Associations?

No. At RPNAO both parts of the insurance are automatically included with your regular membership fee.

What else does your insurance do for me?

RPNAO’s PLP will cover you for your expenses should you be required to attend an examination for discovery, hearing, pre-trial or trial at a court of law. As well, you are covered if you need to respond to an allegation of professional misconduct to the College of Nurses about your practice. Whether it is letter of response or support related to a pre-hearing or hearing, you will have legal counsel to support you.

How much will I have to pay if I decide to purchase my own Professional Liability Protection Insurance directly from an insurance provider?

A nurse who purchases Professional Liability Protection (PLP) insurance directly from an insurance provider can expect to pay between $1,000 and $4,000 per year. A regular membership with RPNAO, which includes PLP insurance, as well as a variety of other benefits, costs only $226.89 + HST per year. RPNAO offers PLP insurance at such a low rate because it has a special group policy. A nurse who purchases a non-group policy will have to pay significantly higher insurance premiums.

What happens if I change jobs, work for more than one employer or volunteer nursing services?

If you’re a member of RPNAO, you don’t have to worry. The professional liability insurance coverage we offer will follow you to your new role, offering a seamless, worry-free transition. This insurance also follows you in the event you take a new role, begin work for more than one employer, or volunteer your nursing services (Good Samaritan Acts) for a seamless, worry-free transition, especially important if there is a gap of time between employers.

I’m a new graduate looking for employment. Do I need professional liability insurance coverage?

Yes. Under the new rules, any nurse registered to work in Ontario will need professional liability insurance coverage, even if you are not currently employed. As part of our commitment to advancing the profession, RPNAO is pleased to offer a significantly discounted rate to new graduates. Please visit our website and select the New Graduate membership for more details.

Does the insurance cover me just for my time at my job?

As an RPNAO member, your insurance will cover you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, worry free regardless of how many jobs you have and volunteer work that you may do; all this with zero deductible.

I read that other provinces also use ENCON insurance as their insurance provider. Is RPNAO’s ENCON’s policy the same as the other provinces?

No. RPNAO insurance policy is specifically developed for Ontario’s RPNs. The policy for RPNAO includes professional liability protections as required from the College of Nurses of Ontario and legal expense coverage.