Grey Areas

SML’s Grey Areas newsletter has been in publication since July 1992 and discusses the latest developments in professional regulation. New issues are published monthly – subscribe below to learn more about recent studies, case law and legislative updates in the regulatory world. Explore our catalogue below or on CanLII.

In recent years, many Canadian regulators have taken preliminary steps to address the racism facing Indigenous people. The reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada have contributed enormously to these activities. Initial steps by regulators have included public acknowledgements of the role of professions in the oppression of Indigenous peoples, education of regulatory staff and committees on the
In the distant past, a complaints screening committee only decided whether a complaint warranted a discipline hearing. However, more than four decades ago, the courts urged regulators to use their screening committees to be more innovative to encourage registrants to enhance their performance: Re Matheson and College of Nurses of Ontario, 1980 CanLII 1614 (ON CA). Remedial measures, such as
Identifying, preventing, and addressing conflicts of interest is a recurring and challenging issue for regulators. A board or committee member who acts in a conflict of interest can create reputational harm and even liability for both the regulator and the individual. The resulting decision can be set aside. Public confidence, including from the relevant government Minister, can be compromised.
Canada has a wide variety of approaches to external reviews for parties to a complaints screening decision. Some courts have suggested that, in the absence of a statutorily created right, a complainant can only challenge the procedural fairness (not the merits) of the screening committee’s decision: Makis v College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (Complaint Review Committee), 2020 ABCA 451
A major function of the Council or Board of a regulator is to make policies that direct the organization and guide the profession or industry. Most commentators agree that a sound process results in better quality policies. A model process might be described as follows: