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Saskatchewan nurse fighting $26K fine over Facebook comments

Last Updated Sep 16, 2019 at 2:34 pm PDT

FILE - In this March 29, 2018 file photo, the logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Facebook may be close to putting a Federal Trade Commission investigation behind it. But it faces a variety of other probes in Europe and the U.S., some of which could present it with even bigger headaches. While the $5 billion fine from the FTC, which Facebook has been expecting, is by far the largest the agency has levied on a technology company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

REGINA — 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.”

The Canadian Press