Toronto Professional Regulation Lawyer

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TORONTO PROFESSIONAL REGULATION LAWYER

The Firm regularly defends and assists with prosecution of regulatory matters before several professional bodies in Ontario, including the Law Society of Upper Canada, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario College of Pharmacists, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the College of Nurses of Ontario, the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Veterinarians of Ontario. The Firm has also assists various regulatory bodies with investigations and prosecution of misconduct by its members.

The Firm’s exceptional background in criminal defence pretrial resolution and litigation often resolves proceedings without any formal disciplinary action or sanctions by the regulatory body. The Firm has successfully defended Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Paralegals, Law Society Discipline Investigators, Nurses, Accountants, Real Estate Agents, Health Care Professionals, Teachers, Financial Service Sector Employees, City of Toronto and Provincial Government Employees, Police Officers and Canada Boarder Service Officers, Canada Revenue Agency Auditors and many other professionals belonging to regulatory bodies and facing prosecution or criminal charges.

The Firm often handles cases where the member is facing both regulatory prosecution and criminal charges simultaneously. In other cases, we have defended professionals facing criminal charges and shielded them from discovery by their professional regulators. The Firm also assists with Vulnerable Sector check file destruction, including fingerprints and photos if applicable.

We protect and defend both the professional reputation and license eligibility for our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Good Character?
What is Readmission to the Profession?
What Information is Obtained During an Investigation?
Are Reasonable and Probable Grounds Required?
Can a Regulatory Body Obtain Information from a Criminal Investigation?
Must the Regulatory Body Consider the Licensee’s Entire History?
Does Entrapment Apply in a Regulatory Proceeding?
Can Members be Disciplined for Failing to Cooperate with a Regulatory Body?
What is the Standard of Professional Conduct?
What About Off-Duty Conduct
What are Some Penalties for Professional Misconduct?
What are Joint Submissions for a Penalty?

What is Good Character?

A general requirement for any licensee to enter a profession is that the applicant be of “good character”. Several courts, tribunals, regulatory bodies and health profession review boards have enumerated what factors may constitute a lack of good character by the applicant. Factors relevant in the decision to disentitle a member to a license or practice only with restrictions include:

  1. The applicant has the onus to demonstrate that he or she has good character, not a reverse onus requiring the regulatory body to demonstrate the applicant lacks good character;
  2. Previous conduct or criminal charges are relevant indicators of a person’s prior conduct, however, present conduct is generally more relevant than previous behavior; and
  3. The regulator will assess the willingness and ability of the applicant to comply with the ethical standards of the profession and the effects of readmitting the applicant to the profession.

What is Readmission to the Profession?

Once a professional’s license has been revoked, he or she can apply for reinstatement after a period of time. Proceedings to restore a license is more complicated and proceeded much differently than the initial application for a license since there is a history of misconduct. Two factors have been emphasized in the decision to restore the revoked license of the applicant:

  1. Whether there is a risk of further misconduct and, if there is a risk, whether it is manageable through practice restrictions, undertakings and limitations.
  2. Whether the applicant is suitable to practice and serve the public directly, and whether public confidence would be undermined upon readmission of the applicant.

What Information is Obtained During an Investigation?

A complete and comprehensive investigation provides the basis for disciplinary proceedings against a member of a profession. The process may operate together with a police investigation or independently if the misconduct is strictly regulatory. Witness statements, financial records, patient information and any other forms of material evidence may be obtained.

Are Reasonable and Probable Grounds Required?

Some regulatory bodies require a “reasonable and probable grounds” standard or similar test to initiate an investigation, similar to criminal charges. There is no broad-based consensus, however, for all regulatory bodies.

Can a Regulatory Body Obtain Information from a Criminal Investigation?

Regulatory investigations and criminal proceedings often arise in relation to the same conduct of a licensee. Criminal investigations often yield valuable information for a regulatory body’s own investigation and disciplinary actions. Regulatory bodies will often seek to obtain criminal disclosure or material in the Crown brief for their own use.

Must the Regulatory Body Consider the Licensee’s Entire History?

Certain regulatory bodies will consider the entire complaint history of the member when investigating and disciplining a licensee. Some regulatory bodies provide the member’s complaint history to the initial investigator, while others will only consider a licensee’s history once the investigation is complete.

Does Entrapment Apply in a Regulatory Proceeding?

Some regulatory bodies will use undercover operatives or investigators against one of their own members suspected of misconduct. These stings are often controversial and would only be a useful defence for a licensee if he or she could show the conduct of the operative violated their Charter rights. There appears to be no legal principle prohibiting a regulatory body from internal stings.

Can Members be Disciplined for Failing to Cooperate with a Regulatory Body?

Most disciplinary action against a member is a result of non-compliance with the regulatory bodies Rules and Regulations, including record keeping. Members of a profession have an ethical obligation to cooperate with their regulatory body, failing which may constitute professional misconduct.

What is the Standard of Professional Conduct?

Many complaints against professionals often arise from the alleged failure to meet the professional standard in performing the specified profession. Negligence is generally not professional misconduct and is handled separately through professional insurance. Determining whether a person has acted unbecoming to the profession will depend on the evidence provided.

What About Off-Duty Conduct

Regulatory bodies will often investigate conducted not directly related to the member’s profession. Some factors which have been considered relevant include:

  1. Whether the conduct damages the licensee’s reputation with the public;
  2. Whether the conduct damages the reputation of the profession at large with the public;
  3. Whether the conduct has an adverse effect on the member’s ability to practice the profession; and
  4. Whether the member’s conduct is more unacceptable for a person in the member’s profession than the general public.

What are Some Penalties for Professional Misconduct?

A finding of ungovernability will generally lead to the revocation of a member’s license. A finding that a licensee is ungovernable is made based on several factors, some of which include:

  1. The nature, duration and repetitive character of the misconduct;
  2. Prior discipline history;
  3. Character evidence;
  4. Existence or lack of remorse;
  5. The degree of willingness to be governed by the Society – Medical, Legal or otherwise;
  6. The likelihood of future misconduct from the licensee having regard to any treatment being undertaken or other remedial efforts;
  7. The member’s ongoing co-operation with the regulatory body in addressing outstanding matters.

What are Joint Submissions for a Penalty?

Similarly with criminal court, a tribunal responsible for disciplining a member will receive joint submissions for a penalty. If a tribunal receives a joint submission, it will accord it significant weight but is not bound by any recommendations. Generally, where a tribunal intends to depart from a joint position, it will advise both parties of its intention of doing so and may provide an additional opportunity for further representations.

The Firm specializes in protecting its clients personal and professional reputation. Our objective is to protect and preserve your most valuable investment and license to practice as a professional in Ontario.

 

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623

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