You Gotta Come to the Party to Dance

A self-represented practitioner was referred to the Discipline Committee for failing to attend a caution before the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (Lum v. College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, 2018 ONSC 567). The practitioner did not attend their discipline hearing and a finding of professional misconduct was made. The practitioner then tried to appeal the decision on a series of procedural concerns. The Divisional Court held that failing to attend the hearing to raise the procedural concerns was sufficient to deny the appeal. This was so even though the practitioner was self-represented (“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse”). The Court also held that the grounds of appeal were without merit:

  1. That the hearing panel composition overlapped with the panel hearing a motion to exclude prejudicial evidence was neither unfair nor contrary to the panel’s rules of procedure permitting a separate panel to conduct preliminary motions;
  2. There is nothing prejudicial or unfair in the hearing panel referring to the history of the proceedings, including the practitioner’s attempts to obtain an injunction to prevent the hearing from proceeding;
  3. There is no duty on the regulator to specify which portions of the disclosure it will rely upon at the discipline hearing; and
  4. The sanction for failing to attend at the caution was a reprimand, a suspension until a particular course was successfully completed and costs of $4,500 was “a very reasonable one, having regard to the seriousness of the misconduct”.

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