Saskatchewan nurse fighting $26K fine over Facebook comments

Case features issue of freedom of expression versus professional responsibility
By The Associated Press
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 09/27/2019
The nurse's Facebook comments included saying not everyone at her grandfather's health-care facility was up-to-speed on end-of-life care. Chinnapong/Shutterstock

REGINA (CP) -- A Saskatchewan nurse is fighting a $26,000 fine she received after posting critical comments to Facebook about her grandfather's care in a long-term health facility.

Carolyn Strom was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association in 2016 and later handed the financial penalty.

She tried unsuccessfully to appeal her case last year and is to appear before Saskatchewan's Appeal Court on Tuesday to ask that it quash the regulatory body's decision.

Strom made Facebook comments in February 2015, weeks after her grandfather died, that criticized some unnamed staff at his long term-care facility in Macklin, Sask.

In one of her comments she said that not everyone at the institution was up to speed on how to approach end-of-life care.

Court documents filed on behalf of the nurses association ask whether professionals have a charter right to publicly denigrate health-care facilities without getting all the facts from administration.

``In short, do professionals have a charter right to be unprofessional?'' the document reads.

Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, says there's no question Strom's case raises issues of freedom of expression.

``What has happened here can certainly be understood as a restriction on this individual's ability to express herself, to criticize the operation or activities of a particular institution.''

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