Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – College of Psychologists – Psychologists – Governance – Disciplinary proceedings – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Licence to practice – Unauthorized practice – Advertising – Judicial review – Compliance with legislation – Rules and by-laws – Standard of review – Reasonableness simpliciter – Correctness
Sydiaha v. Saskatchewan College of Psychologists,  S.J. No. 581, 2015 SKCA 113, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, November 4, 2015, R.K. Ottenbreit, M.J. Herauf and P.A. Whitmore JJ.A.
The Discipline Committee (the “Committee”) of the Saskatchewan College of Psychologists (the “College”) found the appellant psychologist, Dr. Sydiaha, guilty of professional misconduct in respect of two counts: (i) for failing to use the term “non practising” after the title of psychologist in advertising, and (ii) in advertising himself in that manner in the Saskatoon phonebook he held himself out as being entitled to practice as a psychologist. The Committee concluded that these actions contravened s. 11 of the Saskatchewan College of Psychologists Regulatory Bylaws, 2004 (the “Bylaws”).
The psychologist appealed the matter; although it was a statutory appeal, it proceeded in the same manner as a judicial review. The Chambers justice applied Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9 and determined that the standard of review of the Committee’s decision was reasonableness. The Chambers judge found the Committee’s interpretation of s. 11 of the Bylaws reasonable and therefore dismissed the appeal.
The psychologist appealed the matter to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. He argued that the Chambers judge erred by finding the Committee’s interpretation of the Psychologists Act (the “Act”) and Bylaws, in its determination that he held himself out as entitled to practice, was reasonable. He also argued the Committee’s interpretation of the Act and Bylaws ignored the context within which s. 11 of the Bylaws is found.
The standard of review of the Chamber judge’s decision was correctness.
The Appeal Court found the Chambers judge used the proper standard of review of the Committee’s decision and that he was correct in his analysis. The Appeal Court reasoned that “under the scheme of the Act, it is a privilege and right to use the title “psychologist” but not without parameters. The Act and Bylaws, properly interpreted, condition the use of the title “psychologist” by non-practising members with the use of the term “non-practising” (para. 17). The appeal was therefore dismissed.
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