Far Reaching Interim Order in Unauthorized Practice Case

In Ontario College of Pharmacists v Thi Kim Tien Nguyen, 2016 ONSC 7639, a pharmacist undertook to resign, cease practising and transfer ownership or close down her pharmacy in exchange for a stay of discipline proceedings. She did not do so. College witnesses provided evidence that she continued to operate the pharmacy and to dispense medications, including a narcotic.

The College brought an application under s. 87 of the Regulated Health Professions Act to require the former pharmacist to comply with the Act and cease practising. The College asked for an interim order to be made in the meantime (before the application was heard on the merits), which the Court granted. The Court applied the usual test for an interlocutory injunction (i.e., there must be an arguable case, irreparable harm and the balance of convenience must favour the injunction) but accepted that there was a presumption of irreparable harm where an individual was willfully breaching the law. The Court also declined to order the College to undertake to pay damages should the interim order later prove to have been unwarranted.

Perhaps most interestingly, the Court granted the College’s request that it be permitted to enter the pharmacy and remove all of the drugs to store in a secure location until such time as the issues could be resolved. Since this was just an interim order that, officially, was made without prior notice (although actual notice had been given and the former pharmacist’s spouse was present and made submissions), a date was set to hear further arguments on the matter.

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