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.

Issues published before 2020 can be found on CanLII.

Whistleblowers are insiders within an organization who disclose apparent wrongdoing to outsiders because the organization is unable or unwilling to address the issue. The motivation of the whistleblower can be altruistic, for personal advantage, or to be disruptive (or a combination thereof). Often, but not always, whistleblowers want to keep their identities confidential.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Regulators of professions and industries dwell in inconsistency. Many registrants practice their profession within a system that is often beyond their control. Yet regulators usually only have jurisdiction over a registrants’ individual actions and oversee only individual registrants despite trying to address failures flowing from the work
Surprisingly little has been written about policy making by regulators. Thus, the UK’s Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) consultation paper on the topic is a welcomed introductory read.
Regulators of professions have adopted several different approaches to governance. Popular with some is a variation of the Policy Governance model created by John Carver. A recent governance review (Report) prepared for the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) by Harry Cayton and Deanna Williams has challenged the suitability of this approach for professional regulators (at least without significant
Canadian policy makers and regulators have been looking to other countries for insights into, and alternative ways of, regulating professions. Generally, the systems examined are from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. To a lesser extent, regulators have looked to the European Economic Community. Rarely have regulatory systems elsewhere been examined in detail.
Regulators are increasingly moving towards “compassionate regulation”. These initiatives sometimes follow instances of self-harm by registrants facing complaints, investigation, and discipline.