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Female Genital Mutilation

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Professional Standard Regarding Female Genital Mutilation


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Source: World Health Organization: Female genital mutilation. Fact Sheet No. 241, February 2012.

Professional Standard

The College hereby informs its members that the Section 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada explicitly forbids acts that are commonly known by terms such as Female Genital Mutilation and Female Circumcision. Specifics of these acts are described in the Criminal Code. In addition to criminal prosecution, physicians found by an Investigations or Hearing Committee of the College to have breached the Criminal Code may be subject to College disciplinary measures, up to and including license revocation.

Below is a link to Section 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada. (R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 268; 1997, c. 16, s. 5.):



The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia acknowledges the assistance of the following groups and individuals in preparing this document:

  • Department of Justice Canada
  • Robert N. Grimshaw
  • Katharina E. Kieser
  • World Health Organization


Document History

First approved by the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia: October 12, 2012

Approximate date of next review: October 2017