Mandatory Reporting Duty and Making False Allegations

Everyone is required to make a report to the Children’s Aid Society about any reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection. A person making a report has immunity for any such report unless it is made in bad faith. In order to facilitate the making of such reports, courts provide a strong immunity to those who make them. Otherwise, a chill might arise discouraging the making of such reports. However, in Grogan v Ontario College of Teachers, 2016 ONSC 6545 the Ontario Divisional Court has upheld that where the report is false, the regulator can and should take action.

In Grogan, the teacher made multiple reports about a colleague to the Children’s Aid Society, the police and the colleague’s employer about the colleague’s “involvement with a non-verbal, developmentally delayed female student”. The complaint was referred to discipline on the basis that the report was false. The Discipline Committee was troubled by not only the apparent falsity of the reports, but their persistent and repetitive nature. The panel held that the false reports amounted to professional misconduct and the practitioner’s registration was revoked. The Divisional Court upheld both the finding and the sanction on the basis that the Discipline Committee had provided detailed reasons explaining both determinations. The Court was impressed that the panel had explicitly addressed the potentially chilling effect of its findings.

Given this outcome, regulators can expect more complaints about allegedly false mandatory reports. However, only in those complaints where there is a preponderance of evidence that the report was falsely made will result in disciplinary action.

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