Another View of the Role of Screening Committees

In Ontario the law is pretty well settled that complaints screening committees do not make findings of wrongdoing and do not impose sanctions when directing educational and remedial measures. As such, screening committees have a low threshold for directing remedial measures, such as caution. There simply needs to be a reasonable basis for taking the remedial step. However, that does not seem to be the case everywhere. In Peddle v. The Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board, 2016 CanLII 29648 (NL SCTD), the court said:

In my view, it is impossible for the Committee to issue a “caution” without a finding of conduct deserving of sanction, even if the conduct is not sufficiently egregious to warrant sending the complaint to a discipline hearing. The fact that the consequences are less than a finding of guilt by a discipline panel does not change the fact that the Committee’s decision would be a negative incident on Peddle’s file. This finding did have consequences adverse to the Applicant, which would make the decision subject to scrutiny by this Court.

The caution relating to a verbal disagreement was removed because there was “no evidence” that it was the pharmacist’s fault.

In Peddle, the Court also held that there was no appearance of bias caused by staff attending at complaints screening committee meetings or by attempting to resolve the complaint.

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