FAQ: How can a Professional Regulation and Discipline Lawyer help me?

By Published On: March 28, 2022Categories: Articles

Many of our clients have never worked with a lawyer before they reach out for help. Read on for answers to some of the frequently asked questions we get from our prospective clients who face a process involving their governing College or regulator.

What is an advocacy lawyer’s role?

As advocacy lawyers, we help people and organizations resolve conflicts. Our goal is to achieve fair if not favorable results for our clients based on their unique circumstances and within the framework of the governing law.

When we are retained, we can only represent our client’s interests. This is why we cannot act if there is a conflict of interest.

As Professional Regulation and Discipline Lawyers, our law practice focuses on helping regulated professionals resolve conflicts with their governing College or regulator.

We also assist with resolving conflicts that involve a patient or client, a member of the public, an insurance company, a government agency, an employer or employee, or another entity.

Some of our clients request our advice on how to reduce legal risk and help protect their interests in the future, and we help them within our specific areas of expertise.

How can a lawyer help me deal with my governing College?

When you are facing a process involving your governing College, you deserve to know what you are facing. We provide our clients with answers about what to expect during the process they are facing so they know what to expect and can plan ahead for the future.

You deserve to be treated fairly and justly. We can advocate for you to ensure that your governing College or regulator treats you complies with the law in any steps they may take against you.

As Professional Regulation and Discipline Lawyers, our law practice focuses on helping regulated professionals resolve conflicts with their governing College or regulator.

We can help by

  • advising you about your legal rights, obligations, and options

  • preparing written submissions that you may be asked to make

  • negotiating with your College or regulator or other agency to resolve your case and achieve a fair outcome

  • representing you during an investigation or formal hearing, including for example, before the Inquiries, Complaints and Report Committee (ICRC) the Discipline Committee, the Fitness to Practice Committee, the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB), or the Courts.

Can a lawyer guarantee that I can keep my professional license?

No. Unfortunately, we cannot make any guarantees about the outcome of your case.

While many of our clients come to us worried that they will lose their license to practice their profession, most do not face the possibility of losing their license.

Can I rely on the information provided by my College?

It is important to understand that your College’s role by law is to govern the profession in the public interest. Its role is to protect the public.

It is not the College’s role to protect your license to practice your profession. Your governing College cannot provide you with any legal advice.

While your College will not be looking out for your bests interests, the information provided to you by your College can help you understand what you may be facing.

Your College or regulator may also provide you with important information about their process that you should be familiar with, and what is being expected of you during the process.

Be mindful that not cooperating with your governing College as required may be a ground for a finding of professional misconduct against you.

I think I need legal help, when should I retain a lawyer?

The sooner the better.

The investigation, discipline, and capacity processes of Ontario’s Colleges governing the healthcare professions are all formal and adversarial legal processes.

When you retain us, we will do our best to achieve the best possible outcome for you -whatever stage of the College process you may be facing. However, based on our experience, clients who have had legal advice and help early on in the process frequently achieve a more favourable and cost-effective resolution of their case as compared to those who wait to reach out for legal help.

Consequences of waiting too long to get legal help can include

  • providing statements to the College that can be used against you later on in the process, and/or that can negatively affect your credibility

  • missing an important deadline

  • facing a referral to the Discipline Committee that might have been avoidable

  • facing the need to appeal or seek a judicial review of a decision after having navigated the process without legal assistance

  • in the discipline context, the possibility of facing a significant cost award or harsher penalty

Whether you are dealing with an investigation by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) into a complaint or report made by an employer or a Facility, or your case has been referred to the Discipline Committee or the Fitness to Practice Committee (FTPC), it is best not leave reaching out for legal help to the last minute.

What will it cost to retain a lawyer?

As is the case for most professional regulation and discipline lawyers in Ontario, we charge for lawyer and law clerk services based on set hourly rates.

Each case is unique. In dispute resolution and College matters, it can be difficult to estimate legal fees with accuracy. Factors that can influence the cost of legal services include the number and types of issues involved, the scope of assistance requested, and complexity of the matter, and how long it takes to resolve the case.

We will provide you with our current fees and a general idea about anticipated fees during the initial consult or call. Hourly rates are reviewed from time to time and may be subject to increases based on prior notice to our client.

Other costs may include disbursements that we may be required to incur on your behalf, such as courier and process server fees, court filing fees, or expert fees for example.

We do our best to ensure our clients are provided with efficient services without sacrificing quality and effectiveness.

Do you need help and are interested in working with us?

Please schedule your initial consult. We look forward to hearing from you.