Case Summary: Good Character Requirement
Perspectives for the Professions Newsletter
Nowoselsky v. Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers, 2015 SKQB 390, dismissing an appeal from a Council decision upholding denial of registration.
Mr. Nowoselsky disclosed in his application for registration with the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers (the “Association”) that he had previously been registered by the Alberta College of Social Work, but that his registration was cancelled following a suspension in 2013.
An ad hoc Committee (the “Committee”), struck by the Council of the Association to consider the application, was concerned about whether Mr. Nowoselsky was of good character. The Committee wrote to Mr. Nowoselsky to notify him of this concern and to request his written input. After receiving Mr. Nowoselsky’s written input, the Committee denied his application on the basis that he lacked good character, noting that Mr. Nowoselsky had failed to recognize the seriousness of his conduct in Alberta and failed to comply with the supervision requirements imposed.
Mr. Nowoselsky appealed to the Council of the Association, providing further information of good character, including his positive employment history and evidence of his community involvement. Nevertheless, his appeal was dismissed. He then challenged the dismissal to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, filing a notice of appeal, which was subsequently treated as an application for judicial review.
The Court dismissed the application for judicial review, holding that the Committee was entitled to consider both the negative aspects arising from Mr. Nowoselsky’s suspension from practice as well as the positive aspects of his career. It was open to the Committee to decide as it did and its decision was reasonable and supported by the material before it.
Comment: Nowoselsky supports the proposition that a regulator is entitled to weigh multiple factors in a good character assessment and come to an overall conclusion on the preponderance of the evidence. So long as the outcome is reasonable, the regulator’s decision on how to weigh the factors and its determination of whether the member possesses sufficient good character will be entitled to deference.