HPRB Summaries: Summary dismissal of a registration review brought by a complainant

A complaint against student registrants of a health professions college may lead to decisions about the students by both registration and inquiry committees, but a complainant will not have a right to apply for review of a registration decision by the Health Professions Review Board. This is illustrated in Complainant and College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of B.C. (January 25, 2010), HPRB BC Decision No. 2009-HPA-0010(a))

In that case, a complaint alleged that five student registrants had graduated from a three-year program in Korea that was not equivalent to a Canadian four-year program, contrary to an earlier Registration Committee decision to admit them. The complainant also alleged the students conspired to fake their transcripts. The Inquiry Committee, concluding the program was not equivalent to a Canadian program, referred the matter to the Registration Committee and recommended that the students be required to make up hours of study and re-take examinations before re-applying for registration. The Registration Committee followed this recommendation. The complainant sought a review of both committee decisions, and the College sought summary dismissal.

The Health Professions Review Board summarily dismissed the registration review on the basis the complainant was not an “applicant” for registration under s. 50.53(1)(a) of the HPA.

Further, the Review Board summarily dismissed the inquiry review due to no reasonable prospect of success. The record and evidence had to bring the possible success of the application for review “out of the realm of conjecture”. Citing its earlier decision in 2009-HPA-0052a, the Board stated its summary dismissal power served a gatekeeper function, intended to “weed out applications that are unworthy of consideration by a panel of the Review Board” [18]. The Review Board found that no inferences could be drawn from the evidence to support the allegations.

The complainant alleged an inadequate investigation, as the Inquiry Committee used a credential evaluation service (ICES) to evaluate the foreign program. The service did not find any evidence of faked transcripts, but advised that the foreign program was not equivalent to a Canadian program. The use of such a service balanced the goals of full investigation with administrative efficiency. ICES could find no evidence of faked transcripts, and no inference could be drawn from the evidence that the students had conspired to fake transcripts.

The complainant also alleged the Inquiry Committee’s resolution was not severe enough, but the Review Board decided the resolution would be reviewed on a standard of reasonableness. Given the decision of the Inquiry Committee, the complainant had no reasonable prospect of establishing an unreasonable outcome.

Complainant and College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of B.C. (January 25, 2010), HPRB BC Decision No. 2009-HPA-0010(a).