April 23, 2012

HPRB Process: The inadmissibility of new evidence going beyond the time, parties and place of the original complaint

Administrative Law
Health Professions Review Board
Inquiry and Investigations
Professional Regulation

While the HPRB can accept new documentary evidence that was not before an Inquiry Committee, the HPRB may also refuse to accept new evidence where it relates to a time period before or after the period originally identified by the complaint, concerns parties other than the registrant-respondents, concerns care facilities other than the facility where events complained of occurred, or is inflammatory in nature. These limitations were the basis for the HPRB to refuse to receive parts of the 400 pages of new documentation a complainant submitted, in addition to the 500 pages already forming part of a record, in The Complainant v. The College of Registered Nurses of BC and others, 2010-HPA-G09.

In that case, after the Inquiry Committee of the College decided to take no further action after a complaint that four registrants had failed to provide appropriate care for a complainant’s mother, the complainant sought review and submitted another 400 pages of documents. The HPRB accepted some of the documents as being reasonably required for a full and fair disclosure of all matters relating to the issues under review, but noted that,

“[17] … The Review board’s jurisdiction flows from its mandate to examine whether the Inquiry Committee’s investigation was adequate and/or its disposition was reasonable. The Inquiry Committee’s investigation and disposition would have focused on the time, parties and place identified in the complaint. Therefore, documents relating to other times, places or parties would not be relevant to this complaint.”

The HPRB accepted, however, that “often, information relating to time periods other than that of the complaint might be admitted to provide background information for a full and fair disclosure of the matters under review.” Given the already-full record in that case, however, further information could obscure the matters in issue.

The Complainant v. The College of Registered Nurses of BC and others, 2010-HPA-G09

(link here)