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Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990


CHAPTER V-2

AN ACT RESPECTING THE PREVENTION OF VENEREAL DISEASE

Analysis

1. Short title

2. Definitions

3. Infected person to submit to treatment

4. Duty to report

5. Information as to infection

6. Certificate as to gonorrhoea

7. Action of medical health officer

8. Examination by physician in charge of institution

9. Examination of persons in custody or committed to prison

10. Treatment where disease found to exist

11. Physician to report

12. Supply of drugs, etc. prohibited

13. Offences

14. Statements as to existence of disease

15. Obligation to observe secrecy

16. Laboratory reports

17. Secrecy as to name

18. Voluntary admission to place of detention

19. Where person infected is under 16 years of age

20. Regulations

21. Appeal of minister

22. Act not to interfere with course of justice


Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Venereal Disease Prevention Act.

RSN1970 c389 s1

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Definitions

2. In this Act

(a) "medical health officer" means the medical health officers appointed under the Department of Health Act;

(b) "minister" means the Minister of Health;

(c) "physician" means a legally qualified medical practitioner;

(d) "place of detention" means a hospital, sanatorium, jail, prison, lock-up, reformatory, industrial farm, or industrial refuge so designated by the minister or another place designated as a place of detention by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council; and

(e) "venereal disease" means syphilis, gonorrhoea, chancroid or granuloma inguinale.

RSN1970 c389 s2

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Infected person to submit to treatment

3. (1) A person infected with venereal disease upon becoming aware or suspecting that he or she is so infected shall place himself or herself immediately under the care and treatment of a physician, and if unable to obtain care or treatment he or she shall apply to a medical health officer, who shall direct his or her course of conduct and treatment.

(2) A person shall continue treatment until he or she obtains from the attending physician a notice in writing that he or she has received adequate treatment.

(3) A person who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall be liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months.

RSN1970 c389 s3

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Duty to report

4. (1) It is the duty of

(a) a physician;

(b) a superintendent or head of a hospital, sanatorium or laboratory; and

(c) a person in medical charge of a jail, lock-up, reformatory, industrial farm, training school, school or college, industrial, female or other refuge, or other similar institution,

to report to the minister a case of venereal disease coming under his or her diagnosis, treatment, care or charge for the 1st time.

(2) The report in the prescribed form shall be completed and forwarded to the minister within 24 hours after the 1st diagnosis, treatment or knowledge by or of that physician, head or other person.

RSN1970 c389 s4

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Information as to infection

5. (1) A medical health officer may lay an information in writing before a Provincial Court judge charging that a person named in the information

(a) is infected with a venereal disease and is unwilling or unable to conduct himself or herself in such a manner so as not to expose another person to the danger of infection; or

(b) is infected with a venereal disease and refuses or neglects to take or continue treatment as required by this Act and the regulations.

(2) Upon receiving an information, the Provincial Court judge shall hear and consider the allegations of the informant and where he or she considers it desirable or necessary, the evidence of a witness, and where he or she is of the opinion that a case for so doing is made out, he or she shall issue a summons directed to the person named in the information, requiring him or her to appear before him or her or some other Provincial Court judge at a time and place named in the summons, or where the judge decides, and provided that the information is substantiated by oath or affirmation, he or she may issue a warrant to apprehend the person against whom the information was laid and to bring him or her before him or her or some other Provincial Court judge.

(3) Where a person appears or is brought before the Provincial Court judge under this section, the judge shall inquire into the truth of the matter charged in the summons, and for that purpose shall proceed in the manner prescribed by the Summary Proceedings Act.

(4) Where a Provincial Court judge finds that the truth of the information has been established, the judge shall order that the person named in the information be admitted to and detained in a place of detention for the period, not exceeding 1 year, that the Provincial Court judge considers necessary.

(5) In an inquiry under this section a certificate as to the result of a test made, signed or purporting to be signed by the director of a laboratory approved by the minister shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be evidence of the facts stated in it and of the authority of the person giving the certificate without proof of appointment or signature.

(6) A person detained under this section may, with the approval in writing of the minister, be brought before a Provincial Court judge at any time during the last 30 days of the period for which he or she is detained, and where the Provincial Court judge finds that he or she is still infected with venereal disease and in need of further treatment, the judge may order that that person be further detained for necessary.

(7) Where the minister is of the opinion that a person detained under this section is no longer infected with venereal disease or has received an adequate degree of treatment, the minister shall direct the discharge of that person.

RSN1970 c389 s5; 1981 c85 s17

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Certificate as to gonorrhoea

6. A report or certificate of a physician given for the purposes of subsection 7(1) that a person is infected with gonorrhoea may be given whether or not laboratory findings indicate the presence of gonorrhoea when the clinical findings and history of the person so indicate.

RSN1970 c389 s6

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Action of medical health officer

7. (1) Where a medical health officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is or may be infected with venereal disease or has been exposed to infection, that medical health officer may give notice in writing in the prescribed form to that person directing him or her to submit to an examination by a physician designated by or satisfactory to the medical health officer and to procure and produce to the medical health officer within the time specified in the notice, a report or certificate of the physician that that person is or is not infected with venereal disease.

(2) A person who without reasonable excuse fails to comply with a direction made under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.

(3) If by the report or certificate mentioned in subsection (1) it appears that the person so notified is infected with venereal disease, the medical health officer may

(a) with the approval of the minister, order in writing that that person be removed and detained in a place of detention for the prescribed treatment until the medical health officer is satisfied that an adequate degree of treatment has been attained, but that person shall be brought before a Provincial Court judge within 2 weeks of the detention to be dealt with under subsection 5(4); or

(b) deliver to that person directions in the prescribed form as to a course of conduct to be pursued and may require that person to produce from time to time evidence satisfactory to the medical health officer that he or she is undergoing adequate medical treatment and is in other respects carrying out those directions, and where that person fails to comply with the course of conduct prescribed for him or her or to produce the evidence required, the medical health officer may exercise all the powers vested in him or her by paragraph (a) or may proceed under section 5.

(4) Where a medical health officer makes an order under paragraph (3)(a) he or she shall deliver the order to a peace officer who shall take the person named in the order into custody and remove him or her to the place of detention named in the order, and the person in charge of the place of detention, upon receiving the order, shall receive that person and shall detain him or her until he or she is authorized by the medical health officer to release the person.

(5) A medical health officer may adopt the procedure or do an act referred to in subsection (3) with regard to a person who has been examined by a physician at any time within 1 year previously and has been certified by that physician to be infected with venereal disease.

(6) A medical health officer may require a person who he or she believes may be infected with venereal disease to undergo more than 1 examination in order to determine the presence or absence of that infection.

(7) The medical examinations referred to in subsection (6) shall be made at the expense of the minister.

RSN1970 c389 s7

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Examination by physician in charge of institution

8. (1) Where a physician in medical charge of a jail, lock-up, reformatory, industrial farm, training school, or industrial, female or other refuge has reason to believe that a person under his or her charge is infected with venereal disease or has been exposed to infection with venereal disease, he or she may, and if he or she is directed by a medical health officer he or she shall, order the person to undergo the examination that may be necessary to ascertain whether or not he or she is infected with venereal disease or to ascertain the extent of venereal disease infection and if the examination discloses that he or she is so infected the physician shall report the facts to a medical health officer.

(2) Where an examination has not been made under this section a physician in medical charge of a jail, lock-up, reformatory, industrial farm, training school, or industrial, female or other refuge shall report to a medical health officer the name and place of confinement of a person under his or her charge whom he or she suspects or believes to be infected with venereal disease and the report shall be made within 24 hours after he or she suspects or believes that person to be so infected.

(3) A copy or statement of every report made under this section shall be forwarded to the minister.

RSN1970 c389 s8

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Examination of persons in custody or committed to prison

9. (1) A medical health officer may order a person under arrest or in custody, whether awaiting trial or serving the sentence of a court upon conviction of an offence, to undergo an examination in order to ascertain whether or not that person is infected with venereal disease or to ascertain the extent of infection with venereal disease and may direct that that person remain in custody until the results of the examination are known.

(2) A person under arrest or in custody who has not been convicted of an offence shall not be compelled to undergo an examination under subsection (1) unless a medical heath officer has reasonable grounds of belief that that person has been or is infected or has been exposed to infection with venereal disease.

RSN1970 c389 s9

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Treatment where disease found to exist

10. Where a person under arrest or in custody or serving the sentence of a court upon conviction of an offence is found to be infected with venereal disease a medical health officer may by order in writing direct that that person undergo treatment, and that action be taken that the medical health officer or the minister considers advisable for his or her isolation and the prevention of infection by him or her, and that he or she be detained in custody until cured or until he or she has received a degree of treatment considered adequate by the attending physician and the minister notwithstanding that he or she may be otherwise entitled to be released and an order made under this section shall be sufficient warrant to the person to whom the order is addressed to carry out its terms.

RSN1970 c389 s10

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Physician to report

11. (1) Where a person who has been under treatment for venereal disease refuses or neglects to continue treatment in a manner and to a degree satisfactory to the attending physician, the physician shall report to the minister the name and address of that person together with the other information that may be required by the regulations.

(2) A person who fails to visit his or her physician within 7 days of an appointment for treatment shall be presumed to have neglected to continue treatment and the physician shall report that failure in writing to the minister within 14 days of the appointment.

(3) A physician who fails to report as required by this section shall incur a penalty of not less than $25 and not more than $100.

RSN1970 c389 s11

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Supply of drugs, etc. prohibited

12. (1) A person other than a physician shall not treat or prescribe for or supply or offer to supply a drug, medicine, appliance or treatment to or for a person suffering from venereal disease for the purpose of the alleviation or cure of that disease.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall incur a penalty of not more than $500 and in default of payment shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 12 months.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to

(a) a registered pharmaceutical chemist who dispenses to a patient of a physician upon a written prescription, but this exemption shall not apply where that chemist fills a prescription a 2nd or subsequent time without the written direction of the prescribing physician;

(b) a registered nurse acting under the direction of a physician.

RSN1970 c389 s12

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Offences

13. (1) A person who

(a) wilfully neglects or disobeys an order or direction given by the minister or a medical health officer under this Act or the regulations;

(b) hinders, delays or obstructs a medical health officer, peace officer or other person acting in the performance of his or her duties under this Act;

(c) publishes a proceeding taken under this Act or the regulations;

(d) wilfully represents himself or herself as bearing some other name than his or her own or makes a false statement as to his or her ordinary place of residence during the course of his or her treatment for a venereal disease with the purpose of concealing his or her identity; or

(e) fails to comply with a provision of this Act or the regulations,

shall, where no other penalty is prescribed, incur a penalty of not more than $100 and in default of payment shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 3 months.

(2) The Summary Proceedings Act shall apply to prosecutions under this Act or the regulations but all proceedings for the recovery of penalties under this Act and proceedings authorized by section 5 shall be conducted in private and a person shall not publish or disclose a proceeding except under the authority of this Act or the regulations.

RSN1970 c389 s13; 1981 c85 s17

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Statements as to existence of disease

14. (1) A person who publicly or privately, orally or in writing, directly or indirectly, states or intimates that another person has been notified or examined or otherwise dealt with under the provisions of this Act, whether that statement or intimation is or is not true, shall incur a penalty of $200 and in default of payment shall be imprisoned for a period of not more than 6 months.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to communication or disclosure made in good faith

(a) to the minister;

(b) to a medical health officer for his or her information in carrying out the provisions of this Act;

(c) to a physician;

(d) in the course of consultation for treatment or diagnosis for venereal disease;

(e) to the superintendent or head of a public hospital, sanatorium or place of detention;

(f) to evidence given in a judicial proceeding of facts relevant to the issue;

(g) to a communication authorized or required to be made by this Act or the regulations;

(h) by a physician or inspector to an employer in respect of his or her employee within the scope of section 19 of the Food and Drug Act; or

(i) to the clerk of a person mentioned in this subsection where the communication is necessary for the keeping of records.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a physician may, for the protection of health, give information concerning the patient to persons residing in the same household.

RSN1970 c389 s14

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Obligation to observe secrecy

15. A person engaged in the administration of this Act shall preserve secrecy with regard to all matters which may come to his or her knowledge in the course of that employment and shall not communicate that matter to another person except in the performance of his or her duties under this Act or when instructed to do so by a medical health officer, or the minister.

RSN1970 c389 s15

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Laboratory reports

16. A person shall not issue or make available to a person other than a physician who is attending a patient in respect of whom a laboratory report is made or another person who is engaged in the administration of this Act, a laboratory report either in whole or in part of an examination made to determine the presence or absence of venereal disease.

RSN1970 c389 s16

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Secrecy as to name

17. (1) The name of a person infected or suspected to be infected with a venereal disease shall not appear on an account in connection with treatment for it, but the case may be designated by a number or otherwise and it shall be the duty of a person concerned with the administration of this Act to see that secrecy is preserved.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and shall incur the penalties provided by section 14.

RSN1970 c389 s17

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Voluntary admission to place of detention

18. (1) A person may be admitted to a place of detention upon voluntary application for the purpose of examination or treatment for venereal disease, and that person shall remain in the place of detention until discharged by the minister or a Provincial Court judge.

(2) A person committed to a place of detention under the provisions of this Act and a person admitted to a place for examination or treatment under subsection (1) shall be considered to be a person in lawful custody.

(3) A person being in a place of detention under the provisions of this Act, leaving that place without the permission of a medical health officer, is guilty of an offence.

RSN1970 c389 s18

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Where person infected is under 16 years of age

19. Where a person infected with venereal disease is under the age of 16 years all notices, directions or orders required or authorized by this Act or by the regulations to be given in respect of that child shall be given to the father or mother or to the person having the custody of the child and it shall be the duty of that father, mother or other person to see that that child complies in every respect with the notice, order or direction and in failing to do so the father, mother or other person shall upon summary conviction be liable to the penalties provided by this Act or the regulations for non-compliance with such a notice, direction or order unless on a prosecution it is proven to the satisfaction of the court that that father, mother or other person did everything in his or her power to obtain compliance by the child.

RSN1970 c389 s19

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Regulations

20. The minister may make regulations

(a) prescribing the method and extent of the examination of a person for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not that person is infected with venereal disease or the extent of that infection;

(b) prescribing the course of conduct to be pursued by a person infected with venereal disease in order to effect a cure and to prevent the infection of other persons;

(c) prescribing the hospitals which shall furnish treatment to persons or a class of persons infected with venereal disease;

(d) prescribing rules for the treatment of persons infected with venereal disease in hospitals, places of detention and other places;

(e) for preventing the spread of infection from persons suffering from venereal disease;

(f) for distributing to physicians and hospitals information as to the treatment, diet and care of persons infected with venereal disease and requiring physicians and hospitals to distribute the information to those persons;

(g) prescribing methods and remedies for the treatment, alleviation and cure of venereal disease;

(h) providing for the display of notices and placards dealing with venereal disease, its cause, manifestation, treatment and cure;

(i) prescribing the forms of notices, certificates and reports required or authorized to be given or issued under this Act;

(j) requiring a physician to furnish reports with respect to the condition and treatment of persons infected with venereal disease who are or who have been under his or her diagnosis, treatment, care or charge;

(k) prescribing the procedure to be followed and the evidence required in case of an appeal to the minister from an action or decision of a medical health officer under this Act;

(l) approving patent, proprietary or other medicines, drugs or appliances for the cure or alleviation of venereal disease;

(m) providing for the establishment of and furnishing of financial assistance to clinics for the treatment of venereal disease and for the regulation and control of such clinics;

(n) providing for the making of grants or payments in respect of the maintenance, hospitalization or special treatments for a class of patients in places of detention or elsewhere in addition to or instead of other money which may be payable in respect of that maintenance, hospitalization or special treatments;

(o) prescribing fees which shall be paid under this Act;

(p) prescribing the mode of sending or giving a notice, report or direction required or permitted to be sent or given by this Act or the regulations;

(q) respecting the discipline and general management of places of detention, their officers and servants, and respecting the control, employment, dietary and treatment of inmates; and

(r) generally, to give effect to the purpose of this Act.

RSN1970 c389 s20

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Appeal of minister

21. (1) A person who is aggrieved by an action or decision of a medical health officer under this Act may appeal to the minister by giving notice in writing to the minister and to the medical health officer.

(2) The minister may require the appellant to furnish the information and evidence and to submit to the examination that may be prescribed or that the minister considers necessary to determine the matter in dispute.

(3) The decision of the minister is final.

RSN1970 c389 s21

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Act not to interfere with course of justice

22. The administration of this Act and the regulations shall not interfere with the course of justice in the case of a person under arrest or in custody previous to trial for an offence, but where it is necessary for the purpose of an examination authorized or required by this Act, that person may be held in custody until the results of the examination are shown.

RSN1970 c389 s23

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