In some discipline cases the defence relates to the process rather than the merits. To a large extent, Walia v College of Veterinarians of Ontario, 2018 ONSC 6189, http://canlii.ca/t/hvl9g was such a case. In brief, a number of process challenges were dismissed by the Ontario Divisional Court as follows:
- If the allegations are within the scope of the complaint and the practitioner had an opportunity to respond to the complaint, then it does not matter that the formulation of the allegations in the notice of hearing differs from the summary of the complaint initially provided to the practitioner.
- It is acceptable for prosecuting counsel to draft the specific allegations referred to discipline.
- There is no conflict in having overlapping committee members on both the screening committee and the hearing committee if those overlapping members do not participate in the hearing.
- It is permissible for a member of the hearing panel to have heard preliminary motions.
- An expert’s involvement with a committee of the regulator in the past does not necessarily give rise to bias concerns.
- When assessing costs for a discipline hearing, the dockets of prosecuting counsel need not have been disclosed or filed.
Courts look to whether the procedures followed actually affected the fairness of the hearing.