Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Licensed Practical Nurses – Nurses – Disciplinary proceedings – Competence – Complaints lacking merit – Judicial review – Compliance with legislation – Evidence – Burden of proof
Yukon v. O.G.,  Y.J. No. 109, 2014 YKSC 52, Yukon Territory Supreme Court, October 24, 2014, C. Kenny J.
The applicant, the Government of Yukon, is an employer for O.G., a licensed practical nurse. The applicant had concerns about O.G.’s competency and decided to restrict her practice. The applicant made a report to the registrar of the licensed practical nurses. The report was treated as a complaint and was reviewed by the respondent the Licensed Practical Nurses Advisory Committee (the “Committee”). The Committee rejected the complaint on the basis that it was frivolous. The Committee reached that conclusion because it was not satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for the complaint. The applicant made an application for judicial review relating to the Committee decision.
The Committee took the position that it was constrained by the two options set out in the Licensed Practical Nurses Act. The Act allowed for two conclusions to be reached by the Committee. One option was to reject a complaint if it was frivolous. The other option was to refer the complaint to a committee of inquiry if there were reasonable grounds for the complaint. The Committee argued that all complaints without reasonable grounds must be rejected as frivolous.
The applicant argued that the Committee had misinterpreted its options and reached an incorrect result. The applicant argued that complaints should be referred for a committee of inquiry unless they were frivolous.
The Court accepted the applicant’s argument and held that the relevant wording of the Act is problematic. The Court held that the standard of proof is whether or not a complaint is frivolous. If a complaint is not frivolous, it should be referred for a committee of inquiry.
The Court held that the Committee erred in concluding that the complaint was frivolous just because it did not have reasonable grounds.
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