Physician suspended after being prohibited from issuing Covid-19 medical exemptions

The Toronto Star has reported that the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (the “ICRC”) of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) has suspended a physician whom it previously barred from issuing medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.

The ICRC has the extraordinary power under the Health Professions Procedural Code (which is part of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991) to make an order directing the Registrar to suspend a physician’s certificate of registration where it is of the opinion that the physician’s conduct exposes or is likely to expose their patients to harm or injury. This is the same provision under which the ICRC previously ordered that this physician cease providing medical exemptions related to vaccines for COVID-19, mask requirements and testing, and cease providing certain prescriptions. The ICRC imposed a similar restriction on at least one other physician earlier this month. That physician was alleged to have engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct, to have failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and to be incompetent in relation to his communications (including on social media) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues. This included making misleading, incorrect or inflammatory statements about vaccinations, treatments and public health measures for COVID-19.

The ICRC does not hold hearings and its decisions are not published. As noted, such orders can only be made where the ICRC forms the opinion that the physician’s conduct exposes or is likely to expose their patients to harm or injury. Accordingly, the fact that such an order was made means we can draw the inference that the ICRC believed that the by issuing improper vaccine exemptions, the physician exposed or likely exposed patients to harm. If allegations of professional misconduct are referred to the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal, the physician will have the opportunity to contest the allegations.

 

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