In a decision of the Superior Court dated November 12, 2018, the Honourable Justice Benoît Moore dismissed the application to set aside the decision of the professional inspection committee (PIC) of the Collège des médecins that the Plaintiff be inspected. Fasken successfully represented the Collège des médecins in its defence in this case. The issues raised were whether the PIC had breached its duty of procedural fairness and whether it had exceeded its jurisdiction.
Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the decision to inspect her was abusive and was based on a biased assessment by the Collège, dictated by the chief of the department in the hospital where she worked. She also contended that the PIC had exceeded its jurisdiction. The defendant’s argument, on the other hand, was that the PIC was at the core of its jurisdiction and the Court should allow the inspection to run its course.
The Court accepted the defendant’s argument and held that all physicians can be required to submit to a professional inspection, which may be random or be based on selection criteria such as a report, as in this case. It also held that the applicable standard of review was reasonableness, pursuant to the teachings of the Supreme Court.
The reviewing court owes great deference to the decision and expertise of the PIC, as set out in sections 194 and 195 of the Professional Code. Because the plaintiff was unable to convince the Court that the PIC had exceeded its jurisdiction or breached its duty of procedural fairness by sidestepping the inspection stage, the Court was of the opinion that the PIC had complied with its enabling statute. The Court also sustained all objections to questions relating to the identity of the person who had made the report based on which the decision to inspect was made.
The Court of Appeal of Quebec dismissed the application for leave to appeal on February 1, 2019, thereby accepting the arguments made by the Collège des médecins du Québec.
The Fasken team that successfully advised the Collège des médecins du Québec was composed of Antoine Aylwin and Paul Côté-Lépine. The Court of Appeal denied leave to appeal.