Asking Good Character and Capacity Questions on Annual Renewal Form

In Health Sciences Association of Alberta v Alberta College of Paramedics, 2016 ABQB 723, the content of the annual renewal form was prescribed by subordinate legislation. The regulatory body added to the form three broadly worded questions relating to police or criminal interactions, to treatment for mental or physical conditions that could affect a practitioner’s capacity to practice, and to substance abuse. On a challenge to the questions, the Court held that there was no authority for the regulatory body to add the questions to the form. The Court rejected the regulator’s argument that the questions were not substantive because the questions did affect the human rights and the privacy rights of practitioners. However, the Court declined to make a general statement as to whether the College had the authority to ask practitioners about these matters in contexts other than annual renewal of registration. Because of the narrow focus of the decision of the Court in this case, it is difficult to extrapolate the ruling to other contexts, including annual renewal forms used under other legislation. However, the Court did view the asking of these questions as a serious matter.

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