Professional Discipline and Licensing Suitability: A Recent Case Image

Professional Discipline and Licensing Suitability: A Recent Case


An interesting 2011 case from the Quebec Court of Appeal has significant relevance for those in regulated professions across Canada (College des medecins du Quebec v. Genest, 2011 QCCA 1683).

The court case arose as the result of a member who was disciplined by the College des medecins du Quebec. Leading up to that disciplinary decision, the member had been provisionally struck from the register pending a decision on the merits of the case. The member was later convicted on eight counts by the College’s discipline committee, and among other things, the discipline committee imposed a permanent restriction on the member’s practice.

However, the time for the member to be struck from the register was not extended or made permanent. Upon compliance with the disciplinary sanctions and penalties handed down by the College, the member wished to re-register as a member in good standing.

As some permanent restrictions had been placed on the member’s practice by the discipline committee, the College’s administrative committee indicated she would have to re-apply for reinstatement to the College. Her application for reinstatement was denied, and an application for reconsideration of that decision was also denied. The College indicated it denied the member’s reinstatement in fulfillment of its public interest mandate. The Quebec Superior Court, in a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal, rejected this argument.

As summarized by Field Law in a recent publication, “Perspectives for the Professions”:

The Court of Appeal held that the Administrative Committee had no discretion or authority to deny reinstatement to the member once the sanctions had been complied with….where a disciplined member satisfies or complies with penalties or sanctions imposed as a result of misconduct, any further disciplinary action will be deemed improper and unlawful. Once a member has complied with sanctions ordered by a discipline tribunal, the registration committee cannot deny registration or reinstatement as that would have the effect of increasing the penalty ordered by the discipline tribunal.

Do you agree with the Court of Appeal’s decision – why or why not?