Good Reasons Save the Day

Good reasons are always essential, especially when a serious finding is based on circumstantial evidence. In Taylor v College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 2018 ONSC 4562, http://canlii.ca/t/htrqw, it was acknowledged that there had been systematic overbilling for surgical procedures and that there had been elaborate efforts made to cover it up. The issue was whether the physician was behind it or whether the overbilling and cover up was orchestrated by the physician’s office staff. The discipline tribunal’s conclusion that the physician was responsible for the scheme was challenged on appeal. The Divisional Court found that both the evidence and the reasons for decision supported the conclusion. The Court held that the reasons for decision:

  • contained no major gaps;
  • addressed the inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses;
  • addressed the concern of whether the communications amongst the prosecution witnesses amounted to collusion;
  • considered the prior inconsistent statements given by the prosecution witnesses;
  • applied a similar level of scrutiny to the evidence of the witnesses on both sides;
  • did not reject the evidence of defence witnesses in a cursory way; and
  • did not reverse the burden of proof or base the findings solely on its rejection of the practitioner’s evidence.

The Court also upheld the order of revocation noting that the reasons for decision addressed the mitigating factors and appropriately addressed the aggravating factors including the level of dishonesty involved, the harm to the reputation of the profession and the harm inflicted on the staff members who were asked to participate in the cover-up.

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