Extraordinary suspension hearings and a registrant’s right to respond

Does an investigation committee’s failure to provide a registrant with a right to respond to a notice of extraordinary suspension violate procedural fairness?

A professional regulator should provide a registrant with notice of an extraordinary hearing, and an opportunity to respond, but the specific circumstances of the case may make express notice and an opportunity to respond unnecessary. This is illustrated in Farbeh v. College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, 2009 BCSC 1120 (August 17, 2009), where an Inquiry Committee did not provide the pharmacist with an opportunity to respond to a second extraordinary suspension.  The pharmacist claimed her right to procedural fairness was violated, but the Supreme Court found no violation of procedural fairness.  Many of the conduct issues addressed in the second suspension were similar to those issues addressed in the first suspension, and during the investigation.  The College and the pharmacist were in regular contact during the investigation, and the pharmacist had the opportunity to provide ample information during the investigation. Accordingly, no violation of procedural fairness was found.

Farbeh v. College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, 2009 BCSC 1120 (August 17, 2009)