The Law Society of Alberta has scheduled a virtual hearing starting Oct. 17 to decide whether former health minister Tyler Shandro broke its code of conduct.
It stems from incidents in 2020 when reports emerged that Shandro confronted a Calgary doctor in his driveway over a social media post, obtained personal phone numbers through Alberta Health Services to call at least one doctor, and emailed an individual who tried to contact a company operated by Shandro’s wife.
Shandro is now the province’s justice minister, after previously being shuffled to labour and immigration, but the hearing will investigate complaints about the three incidents during Shandro’s tenure as health minister, including one complaint alleging he “behaved inappropriately by engaging in conduct that brings the reputation of the profession into disrepute.”
To avoid a potential public perception of bias, the law society has hired an external law firm to represent it in the conduct hearing.
Elizabeth J. Osler, the law society’s CEO and executive director, said in a statement to Postmedia, “It is best practice for a regulatory body to use external counsel in situations where the individual is in a public position, and/or where the circumstances of the case are high profile.”
“This is done to ensure that there can be no allegations about the legitimacy of the hearing process,” Osler said. The society is an independent body but does report to the minister, who appoints some public members to its governing board.
If the hearing finds that Shandro’s conduct deserves sanction, consequences could range from a fine to suspension or disbarment.
According to the society’s conduct process, after a complaint is reviewed it can be dismissed or referred to a practice review committee or the conduct committee.
Joseph Dow, Shandro’s press secretary, has previously noted that anyone with a concern against a lawyer can make a complaint to the Law Society of Alberta.
He said two years ago, an anonymous account on social media published a post that encouraged the public to file complaints with the law society.
“Minister Shandro looks forward to resolving the matter through the Law Society of Alberta’s complaint process,” said Dow in February.
The Opposition NDP has repeatedly called for Shandro to resign as a cabinet minister following the incidents that are now the subject of the law society’s investigation.