The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of of the Board of Directors of the Nurses Association of New Brunswick revoking the appellant’s membership and registration and setting terms for his re-application. The Court held that the lower court had given proper deference to the Directors’ decision, and that whether the appellant’s acts were done in good faith or not did not change the fact that they constituted professional misconduct.

27. August 2013 0

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Association of Nurses – Nurses – Disciplinary proceedings – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Penalties – Judicial review – Standard of review – Reasonableness simpliciter

Doak v. Nurses Assn. of New Brunswick, [2013] N.B.J. No. 200, 2013 NBCA 45, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, July 11, 2013, M.E.L. Larlee, J.T. Robertson and K.A. Quigg JJ.A.

The appellant, Jon Boone Doak, appealed from a decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench dismissing his appeal with respect to a disciplinary decision rendered by the respondent, Nurses Association of New Brunswick (the “Association”). The appellant, a registered nurse and former employee of the Drew Nursing Home, was found guilty of professional misconduct for, among other things, counselling a resident’s husband with respect to the administration of medication which had not been prescribed by the Medical Director and for administering medication and treatments to the resident which had not been approved or authorized by the Medical Director.

The Association’s Disciplinary Committee determined that the appellant’s conduct failed to meet the standards of the nursing profession and ordered that his registration and membership be revoked, that he pay a portion of the costs arising from the complaint, and that he would not be eligible to apply for reinstatement before three years and until the costs had been paid and he had successfully completed certain “modules” offered in the Nurse Refresher Program.

The appellant appealed the Disciplinary Committee’s decision to the Association’s Board of Directors, which dismissed the appeal. The appellant subsequently appealed the decision to the Court of Queen’s Bench.

The Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the appeal, noting that the Board had provided sufficient reasons to support its decision, and that the decision was reasonable in light of the standards defined in the Nurses Act. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the Appellant sought to have the finding of professional misconduct set aside, to have the revocation of his registration and membership quashed, to have the conditions on his re-enrollment quashed, and damages and costs of the applications.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The Court noted that the lower court had given proper weight to the jurisprudence of deference per Dunsmuir, and that whether the acts of professional misconduct were done in good faith did not displace an obligation to adhere to provincial standards and would go to the issue of the appropriate sanction if anything.

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