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Health Law - Health care professionals - Government of - Registration and licensure - Admission to practice - Eligibility and qualifications - Particular professions - Dentists

Thursday, July 07, 2016 @ 8:00 PM  

Appeal by Lum from this dismissal of his application for judicial review of a decision denying his application to be registered as a dentist in Alberta. Lum was a dentist registered to practice in British Columbia. The registrar of the Alberta Dental Association and College refused his application because he had not provided satisfactory evidence of good character and reputation as required by the Health Professions Act and the Dentists Profession Regulation. The registrar’s decision was based on Lum having had 22 complaints over 10 years arising from his practice in British Columbia. None of the complaints resulted in a finding of professional misconduct. Two complaints were outstanding when he applied for registration in Alberta. The review panel of the Council of the Alberta Dental Association and College upheld the registrar’s decision. A Queen’s Bench judge dismissed Lum’s application for judicial review. Lum submitted that the review panel and the chambers judge erred in concluding that the registrar’s decision was subject to review on a reasonableness standard. He also contended that it was both incorrect and unreasonable to conclude that he was not of good character and reputation merely because of the complaints. Lum further submitted that Article 13(1) of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between Alberta and British Columbia required the Dental Association to accept his registration in British Columbia as prima facie evidence of good character and reputation.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. Reasonableness was the appropriate standard of review of the review panel’s decision. The reviewing judge applied a correctness standard to interpreting the Mobility Agreement as it related to the Act and the Regulation. This was also correct. Lum failed to demonstrate any reviewable error in the review panel’s decision. The decision demonstrated the existence of justification, transparency and intelligibility within the decision-making process and fell within a range of possible, acceptable outcomes. The review panel concluded that it was reasonable for the registrar to have concerns about the number, nature and resolution of the 22 complaints. The complaints by the College were serious, and established that Lum had several incidents that reflected poor judgment, anger management issues, practice management issues and competency issues that required resolution and additional education. Lum’s argument that requiring evidence of good character from someone already certified in another Mobility Agreement jurisdiction was a failure to recognize him or her as qualified to practice was not accepted. On a plain reading of s. 8 of the Regulation, an applicant must provide evidence of good character by one of the approved methods on the request of the registrar. The Mobility Agreement was a trade agreement between two jurisdictions that had not been legislated. Disputes under the Mobility Agreement were between the province and should be resolved using the procedures in the Agreement.