Some regulators have the ability to make interim orders before a discipline hearing is held. Typically, those orders are made by a screening or other committee, not the discipline panel itself. Those provisions often specify the circumstances in which such an order can be made. However, s. 16.1 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act permits a discipline tribunal to make interim orders.
In Dua v. College of Veterinarians of Ontario, 2021 ONSC 6917 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jjstn, it was confirmed that this provision permits the making of substantive orders, including orders suspending a practitioner from practising the profession, pending the outcome of the hearing itself. The Court also confirmed that the usual court test for injunctions should be used (serious issue to be heard, irreparable harm, balance of convenience).
The Court also upheld that the imposition of an interim suspension was reasonable in the case. The allegations were serious, summarized by the Court as follows:
These included inappropriate sexual conduct with a female minor; inappropriately obtaining and administering drugs to the female minor before, during and after the sexual conduct; being charged with various criminal offences; and breaching two of the conditions attached to his license, namely, failing to immediately report the criminal charges or allegations of misconduct to the College and being in the company of female under 18 alone in a clinical practice setting.
The Court also found that the tribunal’s reliance on similar sexual misconduct incident with other minors as being relevant to the issue.
The Court also said, for similar reasons, that a refusal to postpone the discipline hearing until the parallel criminal proceedings were completed was reasonable.
The Court also found that there was no evidence that the role of independent legal counsel in giving advice and in assisting in the preparation of reasons was inappropriate.