CNO Lawyer: Learn How a Professional Discipline Lawyer for Nurses Protects Your Rights
A CNO lawyer is more in demand than ever.
We’ve seen a large spike over the pandemic in the number of complaints filed with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO); 2021 had over an 80% increase in complaint dispositions compared to 2020, jumping to 448.
The professional consequences of these complaints can be significant; fines, suspensions, and even a revocation of your certificate of registration, barring you from the ability to practise.
But if you are being investigated due to a complaint, you have the right to legal counsel.
Your best bet is to find a CNO lawyer who has a deep understanding of the disciplinary process and is able to protect your rights throughout.
Below, we’ll go into more detail about CNO lawyers and how they can help when you’re being investigated with a complaint.
How the CNO Disciplinary Process Works
When a complaint is levied, the CNO will begin a formal investigation of the complaint and notify the subject of the investigation. The investigation will be undertaken by th eInquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).
If the complaint is deemed to have merit by the ICRC, it will be referred to the Discipline Committee.
At this point you have the right to defend yourself before the Discipline Committee panel which is composed of professional nurses as well as members of the public before a judge.
You will receive a Notice of Hearing if you are being referred to the Discipline Committee which will outline the date, time, place, and reason for the hearing.
Following the hearing, a decision will be rendered by the Committee.
Some of the potential consequences include:
- In-person reprimanding before the panel
- A fine of up to $35,000
- Terms, conditions, or limitations on your certificate of registration
- Suspension or revocation of your certificate of registration
Additionally, you may be ordered to pay the legal costs of the CNO.
A summary of the decision must be published if the nurse is found guilty, and typically the process is open to the public, the charges posted publicly, and names released.
How a CNO Lawyer Can Help
While you can represent yourself before the Discipline Committee, this is highly inadvisable. You will be matched against expert legal professionals representing the opposition.
They will bring expert witnesses, evidence, and other relevant information/documents against you.
By working with a lawyer specializing in CNO complaints, you can rest assured that your defence is equally robust and leverages every available legal protection.
In fact, upon first hearing of an investigation against you by the ICRC, it’s best to retain a leading professional discipline lawyer who can represent you.
They will help you construct your case, begin gathering evidence that supports your defence, access a pool of expert witnesses that can testify on your behalf, and otherwise help you prepare the best defence possible before you reach the Discipline Committee – or potentially preempt that stage entirely by countering the complaint early.
What You Can Do If You’re Being Investigated by the CNO
If you receive notice of an investigation, your first and best move is to consult a professional discipline lawyer in Toronto. They will be able to provide you with the appropriate steps to take to ensure you are able to reach the best possible outcome.
Next, you’ll want to write down your recollection of the events relating to the complaint and gather any supporting documentation. These investigations can take months so getting a clear, detailed, and accurate accounting of the event from your perspective can be critical to your defence.
You’ll also want to avoid sending anything to the CNO without first consulting with a CNO lawyer. That’s because what’s sent in could be used against you during the investigation or potentially be shared with prosecutors in a criminal case (if warranted).
Work with a Leading Teach Professional Discipline Lawyer to Ensure the Best Outcome Possible
With your career potentially in the balance, you need to work with an experienced professional regulation lawyer Toronto. You need to work with a CNO lawyer that understands the ICRC and its investigatory process – you need Unified LLP.
At Unified LLP, our team of professional and experienced lawyers for nurses in Toronto are ready to deliver quality counsel relating to all CNO complaint matters, so you can get peace of mind knowing your defence is in safe hands. And if the complaint reaches the Committee, our team will fight to protect your interests. Get a free consultation with a nurse lawyer can better assess your needs and how our legal experts can help.