Ethics training mandated, fine levied against dentist following service withdrawal over wind turbine stance

TORONTO—The case of Gore Bay dentist Dr. Bill Studzienny was presented before his peers at a November 7 disciplinary hearing of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario in Toronto after being charged with professional misconduct for refusing to serve supporters of wind turbine projects on Manitoulin Island. Dr. Studzienny had maintained that he was so upset by the issue that his hands shook so badly he could not safely work on wind turbine supporters.

The dentist refused service to members of the M’Chigeeng First Nation band council, which has built two turbines and, as part of the UCCM Mnidoo Mnising Power Corporation, has partnered with Northland Power’s 24-turbine McLean’s Mountain project as well as at least one member of the Northeast Town council where the McLean’s Mountain project is located, leading to accusations of human rights abuse and engendering a heated debate on the subject in the community and online at The Expositor website (manitoulin.ca).

“Dr. Studzienny pled guilty to professional misconduct in four complaints,” said Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario Registrar Irwin Fefergrad when contacted Monday. Dr. Fefergrad said that Dr. Studzienny was fined $4,000, must write a letter of apology and has been ordered to take a course in professional ethics, a sentence largely congruent with that handed down by the Ontario Human Rights Commission heard earlier this fall. “He has also been reprimanded,” said Dr. Fefergrad. “That stays in the online registry.”

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The panel considered a joint submission on the issue before rendering their decision, noted Dr. Fefergrad. “The detailed reasons for the decision will be on the website in about three weeks,” he added.

“The complainants were very satisfied with the apology,” said Dr. Fefergrad.

M’Chigeeng First Nation Chief Joe Hare described his reaction to the conclusion of the issue as “partial satisfaction.”

“It is unfortunate that this ever occurred,” said Chief Hare. “There is the fact that he is apologizing.” Chief Hare said his ambivalence to the resolution was in that the dentist was “being forced to apologize.”

Dr. Studzienny was unavailable for comment.

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