Lawsuits for Failure to Act on a Complaint

Two recent decisions in different provinces and different contexts reiterate the same principle: regulators and investigators cannot be sued for failing to act on complaints.

In Fariad v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2021 ONSC 374 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jcmzk the police investigated a complaint of assault. Following the investigation the officer chose not to lay charges. The complainant sued arguing that while the officer had broad discretion as to whether to lay charges, that discretion was not exercised for proper purposes in this case. The Court struck out the claim on the basis that the police officer’s duty was to protect the public interest generally and not to the individual complainant. The complainant’s remedy, if there was one, was to make a misconduct complaint against the officer.

Similarly, in Lu v Real Estate Council of British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 109 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jcslp an individual sued the regulator for failing to investigate complaints. They claimed that failure to do so resulted in financial losses to them. The Court struck out the claim as there was no cause of action against a regulator for failing to investigate a complaint. Regulators choose to take action, or not, with a view to the public interest in general and not out of any legal duty to the individual complainant. The immunity provision also protected the regulator.

Prudent regulators view complainants as a valuable resource to their regulatory activities. However, they do not act on behalf of complainants.

More Posts

Stays Just Got Harder to Obtain

Once a final regulatory decision has been made, a registrant can usually appeal or seek judicial review. Such challenges take time. At least months. An

Regulation by Objectives

The Interprofessional Council of Quebec has released a major study on the overarching approach to regulating professions. It is written by professors Popescu and Issalys

Sanctioning Sparseness

It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for some applicants to use the protected title and begin practising before the application for registration is completed. Regulators struggle

Risky Resolutions

Negotiated resolutions are generally considered a good thing, including in the discipline hearing context. They generate an almost certain outcome, without the risk of unpredictable