What are Patient Rights?

Patient rights are those basic rules of conduct between patients and medical caregivers.

A patient is anyone who has requested to be evaluated by or who is being evaluated by any healthcare professional.

People don’t always know that they have rights within the Canadian healthcare system, let alone what those rights are.

Patients in Canada have the right to the following:


To receive appropriate and timely care

  1. To be treated with dignity and respect

  2. To receive health services without discrimination

  3. To have their personal and health information protected from disclosure

  4. To have access to their health information unless, in the opinion of a relevant health professional, the disclosure could result in immediate and grave harm to the patient’s health or safety

  5. To refuse consent to any proposed treatment

  6. To receive information relating to any proposed treatment and options

  7. To the recognition of your Representative or Substitute Decision-maker

  8. To the recognition of your Advance Directive

  9. To a second opinion

  10. To pain and symptom management


Each province has its own unique documented Patient Rights.

Health Care Consent and Care Facility Admission Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 181


Part 2 — Consent to Health Care

Consent rights

4  Every adult who is capable of giving or refusing consent to health care has

(a) the right to give consent or to refuse consent on any grounds, including moral or religious grounds, even if the refusal will result in death,

(b) the right to select a particular form of available health care on any grounds, including moral or religious grounds,

(c) the right to revoke consent,

(d) the right to expect that a decision to give, refuse or revoke consent will be respected, and

(e) the right to be involved to the greatest degree possible in all case planning and decision making.

General rule — consent needed

5  (1) A health care provider must not provide any health care to an adult without the adult's consent except under sections 11 to 15.

(2) A health care provider must not seek a decision about whether to give or refuse substitute consent to health care under section 11, 14 or 15 unless he or she has made every reasonable effort to obtain a decision from the adult.

Elements of consent

6  An adult consents to health care if

(a) the consent relates to the proposed health care,

(b) the consent is given voluntarily,

(c) the consent is not obtained by fraud or misrepresentation,

(d) the adult is capable of making a decision about whether to give or refuse consent to the proposed health care,

(e) the health care provider gives the adult the information a reasonable person would require to understand the proposed health care and to make a decision, including information about

(i)   the condition for which the health care is proposed,

(ii)   the nature of the proposed health care,

(iii)   the risks and benefits of the proposed health care that a reasonable person would expect to be told about, and

(iv)   alternative courses of health care, and

(f) the adult has an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers about the proposed health care.