Decision and Reasons on Penalty: Kanan K. Sinha, and 1523829 Ontario Ltd. o/a Engineering Online America

In the matter of a hearing under the Professional Engineers Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.28; and in the matter of a complaint regarding the conduct of KANAN K. SINHA, P.ENG., a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and 1523829 ONTARIO LTD. o/a ENGINEERING ONLINE AMERICA, a holder of a Certificate of Authorization.

In its decision dated February 23, 2016, the panel found the member, Kanan K. Sinha, and 523829 Ontario Ltd. o/a Engineering Online America guilty of professional misconduct. Further to that finding, the panel requested that the parties to this matter provide their recommendations with respect to an appropriate penalty.

The panel has carefully considered the submissions of counsel for the association, as well as the responding submissions from Sinha.

Further to the association’s request for an award of $10,000 in costs, the panel requested that PEO provide documentation in support of the amount requested. The association provided a detailed outline of costs on March 3, 2016, to which Sinha provided a brief response.

Having considered all of the foregoing submissions, the panel largely accepts the submissions of the association and, for the reason set out in those submissions, imposes the penalties that were requested, with one significant deviation.

The penalties imposed are as follows:

  1. Pursuant to subsection 28(4)(f) of the Professional Engineers Act (PEA), Sinha shall be reprimanded, and the fact of the reprimand shall be recorded in the register permanently;
  2. Pursuant to subsection 28(4)(a) of the PEA, Sinha’s licence shall be revoked;
  3. Pursuant to subsection 28(4)(i) of the PEA, the findings and the order of the panel shall be published, with reasons therefore, together with the names of the respondents, in the official
    publication of PEO; and
  4. Pursuant to subsection 28(4)(j) of the PEA, the respondents shall pay costs to PEO in the amount of $10,000, within three months of the date of this penalty decision. 

The panel finds that the above penalties are appropriate in this matter to ensure that this decision serves as a significant deterrent.

In the matter of the revocation of Sinha’s licence, the association had asked that a condition be imposed on the licence prohibiting the member from practising engineering alone. The panel, in its deliberations, concluded that the requested condition would not provide a sufficient level of protection to the public at large. This panel’s finding in this matter was the second finding of misconduct against Sinha. Furthermore, the misconduct in this case involved the approval of a design that the evidence demonstrated was likely to fail and, thus, in the panel’s view, posed a significant danger to the public. 

The panel has determined that the goal of protecting the public would not have been adequately served by the placing of a limitation on Sinha’s licence. The panel finds that the protection of the public is best achieved by the revocation of Sinha’s licence

The panel was advised by email dated March 3, 2016 that Sinha had advised that he is now retired. The panel finds that the need to ensure the protection of the public outweighs any interest that the member may have had in continuing to hold a licence.  The panel, therefore, finds that, in the circumstances, it is appropriate to exercise its power pursuant to subsection 28(4)(a) of the PEA to revoke Sinha’s licence.

With respect to costs, the panel has granted the association’s request in full. The panel notes that the costs awarded represent approximately a third of the association’s actual expenditure in this matter. One of the key factors in awarding costs was Sinha’s apparent disregard for the Discipline Committee’s process. He was fully aware of the hearing of this matter. Nonetheless, he did not appear at the hearing, nor did he plead guilty. Instead, he made submissions by email only, which, in the absence of sworn testimony and an opportunity to ask questions, were of little value to the panel or the discipline process. 

Accordingly, the association presented its case in Sinha’s absence. This expense could have, and should have, been avoided. Given that these costs were incurred entirely as a result of Sinha’s actions, the panel finds that the requested $10,000 award is appropriate in the circumstances.

Bruce Clarida, P.Eng., FEC, signed this Decision and Reasons on Penalty for the decision as chair of this discipline panel and on behalf of the members of the discipline panel: James Amson, P.Eng., Ishwar Bhatia, P.Eng., David Germain, JD, and Charles M. Kidd, P.Eng.