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Illegal Practitioners: Everything You Need To Know (Pt. 3)

Posted - September 2, 2022
Illegal Practitioners series: Silhouette of Team of Professionals

Listen to this series on Youtube or BuzzSprout

In part 3 of our illegal practitioners series, we explain how someone in the general public can avoid or, if necessary, make a complaint against illegal practitioners. We also explain what happens when illegal practitioners get caught, and what consequences they may face. 

What happens to illegal practitioners when illegal practitioners are caught?

There are going to be different remedies for dealing with these folks depending on the jurisdiction and the legislation in that jurisdiction. 

Regulators can go one of two routes: 

  1. Prosecution under the applicable provincial act
  2. Civil court to obtain injunctions ordering the person to cease and desist

Prosecution leads to fines and if the situation is egregious enough or it is not a first offence, (which it often isn’t) it can lead to jail time. Civil injunctions lead to court orders to cease and desist and often orders to pay the cost of the legal actions involved. Repeat offenders can get jail time for breaching these court orders.

We have achieved fines of over $100,000 dollars and jail time in prosecutions. Injunctions have led to huge costs to the offender, and we have seen significant jail time for those who have repeated the offences once a court order is issued. 

Another potential action that our investigations can lead to is that we tie it all up with a bow and give it to the police who can lay criminal charges in some circumstances. These could include charges for assault, administering a noxious substance, and various fraud charges.   

How can you avoid illegal practitioners?

There are many good resources out there that provide concrete tips and advice on avoiding illegal professionals. The single best thing you can do is research anyone you intend to use for professional services. Pretty much all regulators of professions have registers or rolls that you can search online to see if a person is a member of that profession. In most cases, you can also see if they have any history of misconduct. 

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, many of the illegal practitioners prey on those with limited choices like a small community where there is no other option, an immigrant community with limited knowledge of the rules around licensure, or economically depressed communities that also have limited resources. (Also check out part 2 to read some real stories on illegal practitioners!). Understand the red flags and watch out for people in your own community. 

To learn more.. 

Our goal for these articles, as with everything we do, is constant and never-ending improvement and we need your feedback to do that. If you want to hear more about this topic and or have specific questions that we did not answer, please send us an email or a message – Dean at dbenard@benardinc.com or Dean Benard on LinkedIn. And you can reach Brenda at bbenard@benardinc.com or at Brenda Benard on LinkedIn.  

Sign up for our  newsletter for specific workplace and regulatory investigation tips, and visit our Youtube channel to keep up on the latest industry trends with field experts themselves. 

If you believe you know of an unlicensed professional in Ontario or Nova Scotia, feel free to give us a call for general advice. Also make sure to contact the licensing body responsible for that profession in the province in which you believe they are operating. Just do an internet search such as, “[Insert profession name] licensing in [insert your province or state]. That should be enough to find the regulatory body that oversees that profession in your area. If you are concerned about a professional in another province, Canadian Immigrant magazine provides a comprehensive list of licensing bodies for regulated professionals in Canada.

About Dean Benard

Dean has been a professional investigator for almost 30 years, including roles as a police officer, regulatory investigator, Investigations manager, and has run Benard + Associates since 2003 where he and his team have conducted thousands of investigations in regulatory and workplace matters. He is an advisor, consultant, coach, and leader in the investigations and conflict resolution communities. 

His background educationally includes a nursing diploma from Fleming College, yes he was first a registered nurse working in critical care and research, before he entered the investigative field. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Health Administration and Ethics from York University, a Masters of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School, and has a postgraduate certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University