Risk Management

Risk Management Advisories

SPECIALISTS
(Psychologists, Therapists, Social Workers, other Professionals)

Specialists may fall into one of two employment categories:

  1. Specialists employed as staff members, or
  2. Specialists hired on a fee-for-service basis.

Legal Liability

Staff specialists are protected by the board’s liability insurance policy in the event they are sued for alleged negligence in carrying out their duties. The policy includes coverage for Errors and Omissions and Incidental Professional and Malpractice Liability.

Professionals hired on a fee-for-service basis must carry their own liability insurance, which would include Errors and Omissions and Professional Malpractice Insurance. Contracts with fee-for-service professionals should include insurance requirements. It is suggested that the board request contracted professionals to carry a limit of at least $2 million of liability insurance or more depending on the nature of the contract. The contract should specify that the board is to be named as an additional insured on the professional's insurance.

Criminal Proceedings

Employees (including staff specialists) are not directly protected for legal expenses incurred in the defence of criminal or quasi-criminal charge. A board, in some circumstances, may be willing to support the employee in defending a charge. In this situation, if the defence is successful, the board may apply for reimbursement of their incurred legal defence costs under the Legal Expense coverage subject to policy limits. This benefit is not extended to employees who fall within the definition of Part X.1 Teacher as defined in the Education Act as amended by Bill 160. No coverage is available if the individual is found guilty.

Complaints to Professional Bodies

Legal Costs of defence of complaints filed with professional colleges or boards against employees are not covered by the board's liability policy.

Risk Management Recommendations

To avoid claims for professional malpractice, it is important that details of programs be recorded. All meetings with parents should be recorded and proper authorization and acknowledgment should be secured from parents for any special programs. All of the above should be retained for future reference.

To help avoid claims for assault, especially when working one-on-one, professionals should work in an area where they are highly visible, or with a third person present.

(REVISED 2015) E&OE
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