Dufresne, Hogue, Ruel
Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for judicial review of a decision of the board of directors of the Collège des médecins du Québec sitting in review of a decision of the Collège’s committee on admission to practise. Allowed.
The appellant filed an application for recognition of training equivalence that was rejected because he had not completed 60 months of postgraduate training in general internal medicine. Hence his appeal.
The appellant’s professional competence is not at issue. He in fact practices full-time in general internal medicine. He has even been a lecturer in this field at Université de Montréal.
The trial judge correctly found that the standard applicable to her analysis was that of the reasonableness of the decision. The Collège’s decision, however, did not meet this standard.
First, the judge did not note the failure of both of the Collège’s decision-making bodies to consider the appellant’s application from the perspective of section 28, subparagraph 4 of the Règlement sur les conditions et modalités de délivrance du permis et des certificats de spécialistes du Collège des médecins du Québec (CQLR, c. M-9, r. 20.1). The application was assessed only in light of section 18 of the regulation, even though it was based on section 28, subparagraph 4. Not only does the omission mean that the standard of justification, transparency and intelligibility was not met, it also constitutes a decisive failure in the logic underpinning the Collège’s assessment of the appellant’s file.
The trial judge offered an interpretation of section 28, subparagraph 4 that was too restrictive.
She recognized that the assessment of the three criteria in section 28, subparagraph 4 –the physician’s training, the training periods he completed and his professional experience – had to be performed as a whole, but she distorted the scope of this assessment by finding that each criterion had to be fully met and that there could be no recognition of equivalence without additional postgraduate training or an examination in that specialty.
The regulatory provision at issue sets up a veritable recognition of equivalence regime. Nothing in the wording of this provision prevents an applicant from obtaining full recognition of considerable experience as an equivalence to training in the new specialty, based on the contents of the applicant’s file, without being required to complete additional postgraduate training in the given specialty and to pass an examination.
Ultimately, for the purpose of exercising its power to review the decision of the committee on admission to practise, the board of directors could not import standards that would in any way hamper the assessment of the criteria set out in section 28, subparagraph 4, namely the standards for equivalence of training in a new speciality. The decision of the Collège’s board of directors was unduly coloured by standards foreign to this provision and is therefore irremediably flawed.
The file is referred back to the committee on admission to practise for a new consideration of the application.
Legislation interpreted: section 28, subparagraph 4 of the Règlement sur les conditions et modalités de délivrance du permis et des certificats de spécialiste du Collège des médecins du Québec.
*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca