Reasons by a Complaints Screening Committee

It is not enough for a complaints screening committee to say that the complaint does not raise a significant concern of professional misconduct. The committee also needs to explain why this is so when choosing to give advice rather than refer the matter to discipline. In Harrison v Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, 2017 ONSC 2569 the complaint was by a supplier whose shop drawings were rejected by the practitioner resulting in the assignment of the contract for a public project to another supplier. The complainant was concerned that the practitioner and the other supplier had a personal relationship that may have influenced the rejection of the shop drawings. While the Court found the committee’s reasons inadequate, it found a sufficient basis in the file to support its conclusion, particularly in the well-articulated letter from the respondent to the complainant. The Court warned the committee to ensure that, in future, its reasons provide justification of its decisions in an intelligible and transparent manner. The Court suggested that it obtain advice on its reasons in a legally appropriate manner from its legal counsel.

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