CMBC’s Code of Ethics articulates the ethical responsibilities of midwives in order to guide their professional practice and conduct in all situations. Midwives are held to this code, in addition to the Standards of Practice, in the case of a complaint. The Code of Ethics has a significant impact on how midwives practice, how members of the public receive midwifery care, and how the profession of midwifery integrates with the broader perinatal care system in BC. Accordingly, we now invite stakeholders to provide feedback on CMBC’s revised Code of Ethics until January 6th, 2020.
Q: What prompted the revision of CMBC’s Code of Ethics?
A: CMBC’s Code of Ethics was created in 1996 and had never been updated. Revisions were required at a minimum to address outdated language. CMBC also saw opportunities to strengthen the Code in terms of aspects of evolving expectations related to professionalism and conduct.
Q: What are the key proposed revisions?
A: Key proposed revisions include updated language and terminology with regards to gender identity. The Code has been reorganized into themes of professional practice, relationships/accountability, knowledge/competency/learning and conduct. Finally, new provisions have been made for:
- conduct as related to conscientious objection to specific requests for care;
- the inherent power balance that exists within the midwife-client relationship;
- the end of the midwife-client relationship;
- the recommendations relevant to health care made in the report Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action;
- inter- and intra-professional relationships; and
- the health and wellness of midwives.
Q: Have any key aspects of the 1996 Code of Ethics been removed or replaced?
A: Other than removal of the word “normal” no original content has been removed. The sentence “midwives shall promote the normal process of birth within the context of safe practice” has been replaced with “the midwife promotes physiologic birth within the context of safe clinical practice and client choice.”
Q: What references were used to inform these revisions?
A: The following is a list of references used to inform proposed revisions to the Code of Ethics. CMBC sought to align/mirror the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics and Professionalism wherever possible.
Canadian Medical Association (2018). CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism.
College of Midwives of Ontario (2018). Processional Standards for Midwives.
College of Midwives of Ontario (2018). Professional Misconduct Guide.
Flanigan, J. (2016). Obstetric Autonomy and Informed Consent. Ethic Theory Moral Prac 19: 225.
International Confederation of Midwives (2014). International Code of Ethics for Midwives.
Kotaska,A. (2017). Informed consent and refusal in obstetrics: A practical ethical guide. Birth;
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Call to action.