SK Nurse Threatened Discipline over Social Media Posts: Wilson v. CRNS

Shelley Wilson is an experienced Nurse Practitioner serving southern Saskatchewan, where she offers clinical services to rural communities suffering healthcare shortages, especially due to a lack of physicians. In 2021, Shelley Wilson had expressed views on social media regarding Covid-19 vaccines, masks, and treatment options, which did not accord with public health or mainstream media narratives.

The CRNS proposed that Shelley Wilson “voluntarily” enter into an agreement which required her to admit that her expression amounted to professional misconduct, with the looming threat that if she did not agree, she could be referred to the discipline committee for an oral hearing.

The CRNS has a record of attempting to discipline nurses for expressing views on social media. The ground-breaking SK Court of Appeal case Strom v. Saskatchewan Nurses’ Association (Strom) had clarified the limits of the College’s reach into the expression of its members.

Lawyers representing Shelley Wilson are pleased to announce that the CRNS opted to abandon its attempt to demand Shelley Wilson admit professional misconduct under threat of discipline. “We applaud the CRNS for revisiting the key principles of the Court of Appeal decision in Strom to arrive at this result,” states Andre Memauri, one of the lawyers for Shelley Wilson.

Mr. Memauri continues:

“The Court of Appeal said it best in Strom: ‘Such criticism, even by those delivering those services, does not necessarily undermine public confidence in healthcare workers or the healthcare system. Indeed, it can enhance confidence by demonstrating that those with the greatest knowledge of this massive and opaque system, and who have the ability to effect change, are both prepared and permitted to speak and pursue positive change. In any event, the fact that public confidence in aspects of the healthcare system may suffer as a result of fair criticism can itself result in positive change. Such is the messy business of democracy.’” 

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