From the Discipline Files: Ungovernability – When a Registrant refuses to abide
Posted On: November 29, 2022
From the Discipline Files is a periodic blog series that features important outcomes from matters taken before the Discipline Committee where there has been a finding. This series intends to draw these matters to the attention of the profession; however, it isn’t intended to cause undue embarrassment or harm to the Registrant involved. Therefore, although the information is publicly available, this series will not use the names of the Registrant(s) involved.
The Registrant involved in this instance had an extensive history with the College, including two prior appearances before the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) where the Committee made orders and three prior appearances before panels of the Discipline Committee.
One of the two ICRC matters resulted in a Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program (SCERP) being imposed. Unfortunately, the Registrant failed to complete the SCERP as required. An investigation into the Registrant’s non-compliance with the order was initiated and the ICRC referred the investigation findings to the Discipline Committee for a hearing.
The Registrant agreed to enter into an agreement with the College – namely an Agreed Statement of Facts (ASF). The ASF included an admission by the Registrant that they failed to complete the SCERP. The Registrant also agreed to a Joint Submission on Penalty and Costs. These agreements were put before the Discipline panel in September 2020 and as a result findings were made, and an order was issued by the panel that reflected the agreement in the Joint Submission on Penalty and Costs.
The Registrant had another hearing in September 2020 before the Discipline Committee that involved a breach of the standards of practice. Once again, the Registrant signed an agreement with the College to present an Agreed Statement of Fact as well as a Joint Submission on Penalty and Costs. The panel accepted these documents and made an order based on the Joint Submission on Penalty and Costs, namely, that the Registrant be reprimanded, suspended, complete remedial learning, complete the original ICRC SCERP and pay costs to the College.
Unfortunately, the Registrant failed to complete most of the requirements of the two Discipline Orders.
After extensive reminders and follow-up, another investigation was initiated, this time into the Registrant failing to comply with the two orders of the Discipline Committee. This was also referred by the ICRC to the Discipline Committee for a hearing which was held in early November 2022. The Registrant had declined to engage with the College in any dialogue around the matter and ultimately refused to attend the hearing or participate in any way in the discipline process.
The Panel of the Discipline Committee was satisfied that the Registrant received sufficient notice and directed that the hearing proceeds in their absence. In response to a request from the College, the panel revoked the Registrant’s Certificate of Registration on the grounds that the Registrant was ungovernable. In other words: the Registrant refused to comply with any of the regulatory requirements set forth by the College and was unlikely to do so in the future. The College simply couldn’t trust the Registrant to comply with the rules and expectations that are imposed to ensure public protection.
Refusal to be governed by the College posed a risk of harm to the public.
This is the first time that a panel of the Discipline Committee has issued an order of revocation of a certificate of registration. It is intended to send a clear message to both the public and the profession.
For the public, the message is that the Discipline Committee understands the importance of compliance by the profession with orders (and expectations) of the College and the ability of the College to regulate in the public interest.
For the profession, the message is that when any committee of the College issues an Order, you are obligated to fulfill that order. Failure to do so indicates that the registrant refuses to recognize the authority of the College to regulate the registrant. The Discipline Committee is clearly indicating to the profession that failure to fulfill an order will have serious consequences.