Time Might Eventually Be Enough

How long should a major breach of trust of a sexual nature with a minor exclude someone from practising in a different profession with little exposure to minors? That was the issue in CS v Registrar, Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, 2019 ONSC 1652, <http://canlii.ca/t/hz16c>. The practitioner applied for registration as a real estate salesperson. However, she had been a teacher and had participated in a long-term sexual relationship with a former student (who became her foster child) for which she was found criminally responsible. In addition, her status as teacher was revoked. The Registrar (and the appeal tribunal) found that this breach of trust was so serious that it was reasonable to assume she might not practise the real estate profession with honesty and integrity.

The Divisional Court upheld the finding:

The appellant committed a serious set of criminal acts involving violations of trust in the fairly recent past. She was not dissuaded by the school principal, her CAS training, or her own moral compass, from abusing someone to whom she was duty-bound and who she undertook to protect.

However, the Court indicated that it was unreasonable to expect the applicant to have self-reported her criminal conduct at the time; concealment was a natural aspect of the criminal conduct itself. In addition, the Court indicated that the passage of time may eventually be sufficient to permit registration as a real estate salesperson:

Almost nine years have now passed since the victim terminated his relationship with the appellant. I agree with the LAT [Licence Appeal Tribunal] that the reasonableness of relying upon past breaches of trust to ground an inference concerning future risks to the public may well be affected by the passage of time.

Arguably, this contrasts with the perspective that the passage of time is not, in itself, sufficient in the case (albeit with different facts) of: Chen v Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, 2019 ONSC 1680 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/hz16b>.

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