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Queen's University
 

College of Nurses of Ontario v Trozzi [2011] OJ No, 4744

Facts

This is an appeal for judicial review of the OHRT’s 2010 decision not to dismiss a human rights complaint against the College of Nurses of College by Edith Trozzi (RN, RPN). The The College of Nurses is a regulatory body whose double mandate is to govern the nursing profession and to protect the public interest.  It administers registration exams and certificates for registered nurses (RN) and registered practical nurses (RPN).  It has the duty/authority to impose (in accordance with section 15 of Schedule 1 of the RHPA) “to impose terms, conditions or limitations on a certificate of registration” of nurses with physical or mental disabilities which may impact their ability to provide safe medical services to the public. When Trozzi applied to certify as an RN and RPN, she requested and received accommodation for two disabilities which affected her ability to concentrate: clinical depression and fibromyalgia. She passed her practicum and her exams, but was required by the Registration Committee to agree to thirteen conditions (regarding the necessity of continued medical treatment and a requirement to disclose her disabilities when applying for future employment) which were applied to her RN and RPN certificates.  She appealed the College’s decision to place conditions based on disability on her certificates to the Health Professionals Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). The Board dismissed her appeal, determining that the Registration Committee’s that the conditions were reasonable and within the proper mandate and responsibility of the College which had discharged its duty to accommodate Ms. Trozzi. The College applied to the OHRT to dismiss Ms Trozzi human rights complaint based on the fact that the HPARB had already made a ruling on the same issue. The OHRT did not dismiss the complaint because, pursuant to Section 45.1 of the Code, it determined that HPARB had not appropriately addressed Trozzi’s human rights concerns. According to the tribunal, the board had not accommodated Trozzi to the point of undue hardship. 

Issue

Did the OHRT err in declining to exercise its discretion to dismiss the human rights application? 

Decision

Yes 

Reasons

  1. “First, it failed to take into account HPARB’s specialized expertise and public protection mandate.” (30) 
  2. “Second, though it purports to ask itself whether HPARB “appropriately” addressed Ms. Trozzi’s claims, the Tribunal’s reasons actually concern themselves with whether HPARB adequately addressed her claims, using the Human Rights Tribunal’s yardstick of “accommodation to the point of undue hardship”. The fallacy of the Tribunal’s logic is illustrated by the prospect of the Human Rights Tribunal ultimately having to substitute its own view on public health protection concerns for that of HPARB, or making a decision which ignores such concerns, and is potentially harmful to patients” (30)
  3. It determined that the Board had, in fact, adequately addressed Trozzi’s claims, as it addressed the alleged discrimination within the context of its own statutory mandate.
  4. Therefore, the Tribunal was not permitted to assume jurisdiction to substitute its own statutory mandate for the mandate of another tribunal having responsibility and expertise in that area.  Order the Tribunal’s decision was quashed and Trozzi’s impending case was dismissed

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000