Fashoranti v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Nova Scotia, 2015 NSCA 25, dismissing an appeal from the
disciplinary committee's finding that a physician committed
A physician was charged with unprofessional conduct in
performing an inappropriate breast examination. The disciplinary
committee found the complainant's testimony was credible and
the physician's testimony "evasive" and
"self-serving" and determined the physician was guilty of
unprofessional conduct. The physician exercised his statutory right
to appeal a point of law and appealed to the Court of Appeal on the
basis that the committee had erred in law by not giving sufficient
reasons. He argued the reasons were insufficient because the
committee failed to cite specific examples of evasive and
The Court of Appeal applied the Supreme Court's decision
in Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union v.
Newfoundland and Labrador,  3 SCR 708, in which the SCC
held that insufficient reasons are not a standalone ground of
appeal but may be assessed as part of the test of whether the
outcome was reasonable because it was justifiable, transparent and
intelligible and fell within a range of acceptable outcomes.
The Court of Appeal explained that the main role of written
reasons is to assist with determining whether the outcome was
justifiable, transparent and intelligible. As it stated, "the
issue is whether the Committee's reasons allow the reviewing
court to understand why the tribunal made its decision so the court
may determine whether the conclusion is within the range of
acceptable outcomes." Here, the Court had "no difficulty
understanding" from the reasons and the record how the
Committee reached its decision. As acceptability of the outcome was
not at issue, the decision was reasonable.
Comment: The issue of sufficiency of
reasons is frequently raised but not always completely understood.
For review tribunals, this case clarifies that the review body is
to consider the reasons together with the record to see if they
fulfill the requirement of transparency, justifiability and
intelligibility. For decision-makers, it stresses that the focus in
drafting reasons should be to explain how the decision-maker came
to the conclusion it did.
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