This matter came before a Panel of the Discipline Committee on December 3, 2012.

Background

In May 2011, the College received a mandatory report from Ms. Tam's supervisor, expressing concerns with regard to Ms. Tam's practice while under the employer's supervision. After an extensive investigation of those concerns, the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (a screening Committee of the College) referred the matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. 

Before the hearing date, counsel for Ms. Tam and counsel for the College reached an agreement on the facts (an Agreed Statement of Facts) and an agreement on the penalty (a Joint Submission on Penalty). 

The Member's Plea

College counsel submitted to the Discipline Panel a Plea Inquiry Questionnaire signed by Ms. Tam on November 30, 2012 by which Ms. Tam admitted the allegations against her and confirmed that she made voluntary, informed and unequivocal admissions of professional misconduct. 

Professional Misconduct

Counsel for the College advised the Panel that agreement had been reached between the parties on the facts, and submitted the Agreed Statement of Facts as evidence. The Panel accepted the Agreed Statement of Facts and decided that Ms. Tam had committed acts of professional misconduct in violation of the following sections of the Professional Misconduct Regulation, Ontario Regulation 95/07 under the Occupational Therapy Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 33: 

  • Paragraph 1: Contravening, by act or omission, a standard of practice of the profession or failing to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.
  • Paragraph 18: Practising the profession while the member is in a conflict of interest.
    Paragraph 19: Submitting an account or charge for services that that the member knows is false or misleading.
  • Paragraph 27: Failing to keep records in accordance with the standard of the profession.
  • Paragraph 36: Contravening, by act or omission, a term, condition or limitation on the member's Certificate of Registration.
  • Paragraph 48: Engaging in conduct or performing an act relevant to the practice of the profession that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.
  • Paragraph 49: Engaging in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members as conduct unbecoming an occupational therapist.


Having been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Discipline Committee in 2007, Ms. Tam was subject to terms, conditions and limitations on her Certificate of Registration which required her to practice occupational therapy under supervision for three years. In December 2012, Ms. Tam was found by the Discipline Panel to have breached those terms, conditions and limitations on her Certificate of Registration: she practiced occupational therapy outside of business hours without supervision, including on evenings and weekends; she used her personal email account for her work; and she solicited her employer's clients following the termination of her employment contract with her employer, in breach of that contract. In addition, she failed to disclose to another employer that she had conditions on her Certificate of Registration, in violation of that employer's code of conduct. 

Ms. Tam failed to meet the standards of practice in that she did not communicate effectively with clients and staff. She issued false statements to her supervisor by stating that she was at a facility when in fact she was on vacation. She submitted invoices and accounts to her employer for assessments and visits conducted on dates that were different from the dates and times of the actual assessments and visits. She failed to substantiate in her records the need for occupational therapy for her clients. Lastly, she failed to return to her employer at least one client file within two weeks after the clients were discharged as required by the employer. 

Penalty 

The Panel of the Discipline Committee agreed that the penalty jointly proposed by Counsel for the College and Counsel for the Member, as set out in the Joint Submission on Penalty, was reasonable. 

The Discipline Panel considered Ms. Tam's conduct to be of a very serious nature, and stated that the penalty in this case needed to reflect the seriousness of that conduct. The Discipline Panel took into consideration that this was Ms. Tam's second offence and that it occurred while terms, limitations and conditions on her Certificate of Registration were still in effect as a consequence of the first finding of professional misconduct by the Discipline Committee. Since Ms. Tam's conduct in this offence was similar to her first offence, the Panel considered Ms. Tam to be ungovernable. Although there were mitigating factors in the case, the Discipline Panel determined that the only reasonable decision by way of penalty was to revoke Ms. Tam's Certificate of Registration. The Panel also determined that this was an appropriate case in which to order costs in the amount of $3,500 payable to the College by Ms. Tam.

The following is the text of the Joint Submission on Penalty which was accepted by the Panel: 

  1. The Discipline Panel directs the Registrar to revoke Ms. Tam's Certificate of Registration effective December 3, 2012; and
  2. The Discipline Panel orders Ms. Tam to pay the College's costs in the amount of $3,500.00 payable within 30 days of the date of the Discipline Panel's order.