What Does Incapacitated Mean

The Health Professions Procedural Code, being Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, defines the term “incapacitated” as meaning that a member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that the member’s certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the member no longer be permitted to practise.

A member with a physical or mental disability that has been properly addressed may not necessarily meet the definition of incapacitated; for example, a person who uses a wheelchair in an accessible workplace, or a person who has a mental or mood disability who takes appropriate measures to manage their condition may not necessarily meet the definition.


Incapacitated members commonly suffer from:

  • Physical illness
  • Mental illness
  • Mood disorders
  • Substance-abuse problems
  • Certain physical, cognitive or sensory disabilities
  • Other

Warning Signs

Most professionals who suffer from a substance use or abuse disorder or who have an emotional or psychiatric disorder may experience various levels of deterioration in different facets of their personal lives. They are often still able to function professionally when all other parts of their lives are not functioning as work is often the last place to deteriorate — especially if the incapacity involves drug use. As a result, a person’s incapacity may have already escalated to a significant degree before it is observed in the workplace. The following are some typical, well-documented, warning signs for behaviours of a member who maybe incapacitated:

Physical changes

  • Change in appearance/poor hygiene
  • Tired appearance/insomnia
  • Frequent shaking and/or sweating
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss
  • Slurred speech

Behavioural Changes

  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss or blackouts
  • Withdrawal from friends and social activity
  • Extreme anger, mistrust, anxiousness, depression, irritability
  • Frequent work breaks
  • Denial of having “problems” or need to be helped

Performance Changes

  • Increased disorganization
  • Increased number of prescription errors
  • Increased number of customer complaints
  • Frequent absences
  • Lack of concentration or focus

Narcotic Shortages (For Substance Dependency or Abuse Cases)

  • Shortages associated with the member’s work schedule
  • The member asks to have special narcotic responsibilities
  • The member volunteers/asks to work shifts when the fewest staff are available