Articles<< back to all Articles
Cameron v. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan, 2022 SKCA 118
This case deals with the rights of complainants in the conduct of professional conduct investigations. It confirms that complainants do not have substantive rights to disclosure or other rights in the context of reviewing a decision to dismiss a complaint. Their rights are limited to raising issues of procedural fairness.
Mr. Cameron had complained about two engineers. A Complaints Investigation Committee recommended no further action on the complaint. Mr. Cameron appealed this decision to the Council of APEGS. They found the Committee had overlooked some evidence and returned the matter to the Committee. This time, the Committee hired a third party who reviewed the evidence and made recommendations. These recommendations were relied on and, again, the recommendation was that no further action be taken. Mr. Cameron again sought Council review of this recommendation but, before Council could hear this review, Mr. Cameron asked for disclosure of the report that had been relied upon by the Committee and additional correspondence between the engineers in issue and the Committee. When this was reviewed, the matter stalled. Mr. Cameron then judicially reviewed the decision not to make the disclosure.
In the lower court, the Chambers Judge found that there was no duty to disclose the requested information to Mr. Cameron and he was not entitled to it. The Alberta Court of Appeal decision of Friends of the Old Man River Society v. Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta, 2001 ABCA 107 was relied upon. Mr. Cameron appealed this decision to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and confirmed the decision of the Chambers Judge. In doing so it confirmed the following important points:
- In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, courts should not interfere with ongoing administrative processes until they have been completed.
- A complainant has no standing to challenge the reasonableness of a decision to dismiss a complaint.
- A complainant may only raise an issue with the procedural fairness they were accorded in the processing of the complaint as set out in the relevant statute.
Our Two Cents for Free
Working backwards from the evidence to a decision is a method of making decisions that allows you to be more open to arriving at a result based on the evidence, rather than determining the result and then looking for evidence that supports the decision. Practicing making decisions in this way allows you to be more flexible and open-minded when listening to arguments and evidence. It also prevents you from engaging in tunnel vision or reductive thinking. While we are all taught to “trust our gut”, sometimes intentionally delaying a gut-based decision is actually better for the decision-making process!
What habits prime you to get into focused deep work? Having a set of habits or practices that prime your body and mind to focus can help you do deep thinking on a problem you or your organization needs to address. These days, it is difficult to block out distractions and interruptions. But setting aside this time can actually allow you to move the needle on issues that require deeper thought or research. Having practices or habits that support this make it easier to get into that frame of mind and make better use of time you have set aside.
Eye on Regulation is RMRF’s monthly newsletter for the professional regulatory community. Each month we offer:
- A Case: a (very) brief summary of a recent and relevant case;
- Our Two Cents for Free: practical insight inspired by the files on our desks right now; and
- A Question: something to get you thinking about ways to enhance your work.
This newsletter is for information only and does not constitute legal advice.