Nova Scotia Independent Review of Sexual Abuse Processes

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia released a report of an independent review of the regulator’s processes for dealing with sexual abuse matters. The report made a number of recommendations that will be familiar for those monitoring such reviews in other provinces. Recommendations include making the process of filing complaints more accessible, providing supports to those making complaints of sexual abuse, and ensuring that the hearing process is sensitive to the needs of those who have experienced trauma (e.g., publication bans, testifying out of sight from the practitioner).

Unlike the Ontario legislation, the reviewers were supportive of informal resolution of such complaints so long as they were complainant-initiated and led. In addition, the reviewers promoted that serious consideration should be given to closing all or part of the hearings to protect the privacy of the patients (and not rely solely on publication bans).

Also somewhat novel, the reviewers recommended that the discipline tribunal develop written guidelines for assessing the relevance of questions that could be asked of complainants, including identifying impermissible myths and stereotypes that would be deemed not relevant. Those guidelines would be based on the experience developed in criminal law relating to sexual assault.

The report can be found at: https://sml-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/CCLISAR-CPSNS-Final-Report.pdf.

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