Road back to practice an uphill battle

Despite the difficulty to regain the privilege of practising a given profession due to serious misconduct, the law does permit a person to regain that privilege, regardless of how egregious the conduct may be, Toronto health lawyers Elyse Sunshine and Lonny Rosen write in The Lawyers Weekly.

However, the road to reinstatement is an uphill battle and requires significant time, effort and investment on the part of the health professional, they add in the article.

“Revocation does not always mean the end,” write Sunshine and Rosen, partners with Rosen Sunshine LLP. “This has been a concern for the public, particularly in light of media reports of health professionals who re-offend after being reinstated. But for members who have engaged in even the most serious acts of professional misconduct, it can be the beginning of a path back to professional practice."

Despite the pLonny Rosenublic perception that health professionals look out for their own, write Sunshine and Rosen, the road to reinstatement is far from easy. The Health Professions Procedural Code, being Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, and cases interpreting it, “provide that a health professional whose certificate of registration was revoked may be reinstated as a member of the profession where reinstatement is in the public interest,” they write.

“A professional seeking reinstatement is entitled to a hearing before the discipline committee of his or her college,” Rosen and Sunshine write. “Such an application may be brought by a health professional one year after the date on which their certificate of registration was revoked, unless the reason for the revocation was sexual abuse of the patient, in which case the application can only be brought five years after the revocation.”

And there is no test for when reinstatement can be granted, they write. The professional has the burden of proof, and must establish that it is in the public interest that he or she be reinstated, they write in the article.

Chief among the issues to be considered by the panel hearing are the facts that led to the revocation in the first place, the article says, and “when the conduct that resulted in the revocation order is shocking and disturbing, it will play a significant role in the application, with witnesses or even victims from the original hearing giving evidence on the reinstatement application.”

Another issue that will be considered is whether any rehabilitation the professional sought was successful. The million-dollar question, Rosen and Sunshine write, “is whether the professional has gained insight into the behaviour that resulted in their revocation, the impact this behaviour had on their victims or those impacted by it, and the impact on the profession as a whole.”

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