BCCLA Reacts: Nurse punished for publicly criticizing healthcare system

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The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench decided to uphold the punishment of a nurse who criticized a public healthcare facility. Ms. Strom had recently lost her grandfather when she voiced concerns on her Facebook page regarding the quality of his end-of-life care.

The $26,000 disciplinary fine and cost award against Ms. Strom was upheld by the Court, which found the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association had made a reasonable disciplinary decision.

BCCLA intervened in the case to highlight the danger that too much professional regulation can pose to free expression. Professionals, such as nurses, must feel free to speak to the public about their concerns with our public systems. We rely on those systems, and those with insider knowledge to alert the rest of us to any potential internal problems.

Jay Aubrey, counsel with BCCLA stated: “We don’t want to see criticisms of our public institutions stifled by professional regulation. We also don’t want to see people’s private lives and ability to freely express themselves too greatly interfered with by professional regulation. BCCLA will continue to speak to the chilling effect of over-regulation in this context.”

The Court’s decision can be found here.

BCCLA’s summary of the case can be found here.

BCCLA was represented in this case by Greg Fingas and Kara Moen of Gerrand Rath Johnson LLP in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Contact: Jay Aubrey, BCCLA Counsel, available for comment at (604) 630-4986, [email protected]