Following a hearing on March 7, 2007, a panel of the Discipline Committee of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario found that Mr. Anand Santhagunam engaged in professional misconduct by:

  • 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.
Mr. Santhagunam and the College submitted an agreed statement of facts, which was accepted by the Discipline Committee panel. Based on the agreed statement of facts, the panel found that in March 2005, Mr. Santhagunam entered into an undertaking with the College whereby he undertook to, among other things, practise only under the supervision of a Practice Supervisor for a period of time. In August 2006, Mr. Santhagunam advised the Deputy Registrar of the College that he had been meeting with his Practice Supervisor once a month, when in fact this was not true. Mr. Santhagunam also left a telephone message for his Practice Supervisor in which Mr. Santhagunam asked the Practice Supervisor to corroborate the false statement that Mr. Santhagunam had made to the Deputy Registrar.

Mr. Santhagunam admitted that his conduct constituted professional misconduct.

The issues of penalty and costs were contested. After hearing submissions from both the College and Mr. Santhagunam, the panel made the following order:

  1. Mr. Santhagunam shall be required to attend before a panel of the Discipline Committee to be reprimanded on a date to be determined by the Registrar;


  2. The Registrar shall suspend Mr. Santhagunam’s certificate of registration for a period of two months commencing on a date to be determined by the Registrar but after the date this order becomes final;


  3. The Registrar shall impose the following terms, conditions and limitations on Mr. Santhagunam’s certificate of registration:

    a) Mr. Santhagunam shall successfully complete an ethics course approved by the Registrar, such course to be completed within twelve months of the date the order becomes final;

    b) Mr. Santhagunam shall complete six ethically-based case studies and discuss those cases with a practice supervisor or a practice consultant approved by the Registrar within six months of the date the order becomes final;

    c) Mr. Santhagunam’s practice shall be supervised by another member of the College approved by the Registrar for a period of 18 months from the date of the lifting of the suspension referred to in paragraph 2 of the order. The supervisor shall ensure that the supervision includes a review of Mr. Santhagunam’s ethical decision-making process by reviewing at least one patient chart and billing record during every six month period from the date of the lifting of the suspension referred to in paragraph 2 of the order. Furthermore, the supervisor shall provide to the Registrar and Mr. Santhagunam a written report on the appropriateness of Mr. Santhagunam’s conduct immediately following the expiry of this term, condition, and limitation which report shall include the supervisor’s opinion as to whether Mr. Santhagunam understands and has demonstrated appropriate ethical behaviour; and

    d) Mr. Santhagunam shall be prohibited from supervising any student or any member holding a provisional practising certificate of registration for a period of two years from the date the order becomes final;


  4. The terms, conditions and limitations referred to in each of subparagraphs 3(a), (b) and (c) shall be removed from Mr. Santhagunam’s certificate of registration when the Registrar is satisfied that Mr. Santhagunam has complied with the requirements of each of those subparagraphs; and


  5. The terms, conditions and limitations referred to in subparagraphs 3(d) shall be removed from Mr. Santhagunam’s certificate of registration two years after the date this order becomes final.


  6. The panel found that Mr. Santhagunam’s conduct was very serious. In addition to lying to the College, he attempted to cover up his deceit by involving another member. The panel held that the penalty was appropriate as it served as a deterrent for Mr. Santhagunam and for other members of the profession; it provided Mr. Santhagunam with an opportunity to engage in remediation activities to help him in the future; and it would restore the reputation of the College and the profession.

    Mr. Santhagunam was also ordered to pay the College its costs in the amount of $2,400.00, to be paid in monthly instalments of $100 over a two-year period commencing after the end of the suspension.