ALBERTA VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION v SANDHU, 2016 ABCA 336
COSTIGAN, WATSON AND SCHUTZ JJA
14.74: Application to dismiss an appeal
Dr. Sandhu, a veterinarian, was found guilty by a tribunal of the Veterinary Medical Association (the “Association”) of unprofessional conduct on seven charges, and levied sanctions. He appealed the Decision to the Council of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (the “Council). Dr. Sandhu then applied to the Council seeking an order either setting aside or permanently staying the tribunal’s Decision because the Council had failed to schedule the Appeal hearing within 90 days of receiving the Appeal notice. Dr. Sandhu also sought the recusal of the Association’s legal counsel who had prosecuted the original complaints. When the Council dismissed Dr. Sandhu’s Applications, he appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Association applied to dismiss the Appeal to the Court of Appeal because it was “frivolous, vexations, without merit or improper”, or because the Appeal was an abuse of process pursuant to Rule 14.74. The Court noted that it had no statutory authority to stay or dismiss the tribunal’s chosen sanctions or findings of guilt. It also found that Dr. Sandhu had not fully exhausted the administrative process. The Court held that the Appeal was premature and should be dismissed. The Court further stated that the Council’s Decision regarding its own jurisdiction was something that is “generally left to the tribunal to decide”.
Finally, the Court noted that Dr. Sandhu’s Appeal on the merits of the Association’s Decision regarding unprofessional conduct was still pending – and that “intercepting” the Council’s involvement in those proceedings would not bring any benefit to Dr. Sandhu. As such, the Appeal would not be in the interest of justice or a prudent use of Court resources. The Court dismissed the Appeal.