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Practice Direction on requests to participate

The Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal is committed to the just and expeditious determination of discipline proceedings. Practice Directions provide guidance to participants in Tribunal proceedings. They are not rules within the meaning of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure.

Before starting to prepare a request to participate, you should also review s. 41.1(1) of the Health Professions Procedural Code,  Rule 5 of the Tribunal Rules of Procedure and Form 5.

What is a request to participate?

In a Tribunal proceeding, the parties are the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario as prosecutor and the registrant alleged to have committed misconduct or to be incompetent. The Tribunal can allow other people to participate and decide on their role at the hearing. A participant almost always makes submissions, and the panel may grant other rights.

Do I need to be a participant if I want the Tribunal to hear my story?

No, you do not need to participate in the hearing for the Tribunal to hear your story. Depending on the circumstances, one of the parties can call you as a witness in a merits or penalty hearing or present a statement or letter from you at a penalty hearing. We strongly encourage you to contact the College’s and/or registrant’s representative to discuss these possibilities before filing a request to participate. The Tribunal Office can give you their contact information.

A party has made a motion for documents from a third party under Rule 11.3 asking the Tribunal to order production of my records or records I hold. Do I need to make a request to participate if I want to oppose it?

No, in this situation, you do not have to make a request to participate. Under Tribunal Rule 5.1.4, you are automatically a participant if a party is asking for records about you or records you hold. For example, if a registrant makes a motion asking for a patient’s medical records from a hospital, both the patient and the hospital are automatically participants and are entitled to notice and can present evidence and make submissions on the motion.

What factors will the Tribunal consider when it decides whether I can participate?

Under s. 41.1(1) of the Health Professions Procedural Code, the Tribunal may allow a person to participate in the proceeding where:

  1. the good character, propriety of conduct or competence of the person is in issue at the hearing; or
  2. where their participation would be of assistance to the panel.

To become a participant, you must show either that the hearing might deal with your “good character, propriety of conduct or competence” or that you would help the Tribunal make its decision. Even if you fall into one of these categories, becoming a participant is not automatic. The Tribunal has discretion to decide whether to grant your request, except in some limited situations.

Someone may ask to participate, for example, because of their connection to or involvement in the events or because they have something particular to contribute on issues or legal principles that may have a more general impact.

The Tribunal has discussed the interpretation of s. 41.1 in College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario v. Gerber, 2022 ONPSDT 42.

What is my role in the proceeding if my request is granted?

The Tribunal will decide on the scope of your participation, which may include making oral or written submissions, presenting evidence and/or cross-examining witnesses.

How do I make a request to participate?

You must make a motion using Form 5. Once you have completed Form 5 and attached any relevant evidence, you must deliver it to the parties and any other participants and file it with the Tribunal. The Tribunal will give directions about next steps. You must make your request as soon as possible after you find out about the proceeding or the issues that led to your request.