Incapacity Incongruity

Regulators encourage practitioners with a disability to participate in assessment and treatment with the hope that the practitioner can remain in practice. Correspondingly, practitioners with health issues often cooperate with their regulator in their assessment and treatment in the anticipation that they will remain in practice. However, what happens when the assessment and treatment indicates to the regulator that the practitioner may not be able to practise safely and the practitioner disagrees? While regulators try to be as accommodating as possible (not only because it is a human rights obligation, but also to encourage participation in remedial programs), client safety has to come first.

In Collett v College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, 2019 ABCA 86 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/hxvvm> a physician, on his own volition, attended a neuropsychological assessment that identified some cognitive concerns. The physician declined to pursue further investigation into the concerns and refused repeated requests to cease practising until the cognitive concerns could be addressed. The regulator suspended the physician’s ability to practise until he could demonstrate that the cognitive concerns would not interfere with it. The physician applied to the courts to lift his suspension. The Court refused both on the basis that no error appeared to have been made in the process leading up to the suspension and because the public interest in allowing the regulator to fulfill its mandate outweighed the harm to the physician.

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