Mobility and Good Character

Dr. Lum is a dentist in British Columbia with a long history of complaints, some of which resulted in remediation. However, he was in good standing as none of the complaints had been referred to discipline and he had no discipline findings. He applied for registration in Alberta. The Alberta regulatory College refused to register him because Dr. Lum had not demonstrated that he was of good character given his complaints and remediation history. In Lum v Alberta Dental Association and College (Review Panel), 2016 ABCA 154, Alberta’s highest court upheld the decision. The Court held that regulators deserve significant deference in exercising its public interest discretion in this area. The Court said:

The requirement of good character and reputation is fundamental to that profession’s ability to self-regulate. It must be able to accept or reject members and discipline its own members. Of necessity, that determination is to some extent subjective. The considerations include but are not limited to whether the person has fulfilled all educational requirements, whether the person is of integrity and respects the professional guidelines, rules and ethics that are an essential part of the profession. This includes competence, responsibility to patients and to the public at large, respect for other members of the profession, comporting oneself as befitting a professional and conducting oneself at all times within those parameters.

The Court also found that mobility trade agreements were not directly enforceable against regulatory bodies and it was up to the government to change any laws necessary to implement such agreements.

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