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Oakville psychiatrist stripped of licence for sexually abusing her patient

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Warning: Graphic content follows.

One fall afternoon in 2010 while Dr. Jane Gilbert was drinking with a patient at his home, she asked him if he wanted help getting an erection.

It would prove to be the beginning of the end of her career in psychiatry.

But not before she also had sex with Patient A, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, at her home, his cottage, her office at the Oakville hospital and a hotel room.

And not before she took Patient A to a sex store, a place he had never visited before, to try on a penis ring to maintain an erection.

All of this is laid out in a statement of uncontested facts filed Wednesday at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, where a discipline panel stripped Gilbert of her licence, having found she sexually abused a patient and committed professional misconduct.

Gilbert, who is the owner of The Bear Clinic in Oakville, was a no-show for the hearing, having sent two lawyers in her place who entered a plea of “no contest,” meaning she consents to the discipline panel accepting the allegations as correct for the purpose of the hearing only, but was also not admitting guilt.

“Rather than provide help for this vulnerable patient during his most difficult time, she initiated a personal and then sexual relationship with him to satisfy her own needs at the time,” college prosecutor Carolyn Silver told the discipline panel Wednesday.

It all began in October 2009, when Patient A saw Gilbert for a psychiatric consultation at the Oakville hospital. (Gilbert resigned from the hospital clinic in 2011 to open her own clinic.)

Patient A had been hospitalized for anxiety the previous month, having suffered from mental health issues following years of intense treatment for cancer, according to a statement of facts.

During a September 2010 appointment with Patient A, Gilbert started to cry, telling the patient her husband was leaving her, the discipline panel was told.

“Patient A did not know what to do. He gave Dr. Gilbert a hug to console her,” says the statement. “He invited Dr. Gilbert to his house to have dinner with him and his wife,” which she accepted.

She then became friends with Patient A and his wife while still treating him, and started coming to their house regularly as early as 7:30 a.m. and staying for hours while the patient’s wife was at work, the panel was told. She would drink alcohol with him at home on Friday evenings.

When she first initiated sexual contact with Patient A at his home in the fall of 2010, she told him she wanted to “cultivate ‘that kind of friendship,’” according to the statement of facts.

Patient A told her getting an erection was difficult as a result of cancer-related surgery, and initially declined her offer to help him.

“Wouldn’t you like to get back on track and take that back to (your wife)?” she asked, according to the statement, and asked to see his penis.

“Should I help you with my mouth?” she continued, an offer that was also declined. But they did end up having some sexual contact that day, according to the statement, and would go on to have sex a number of times in the future.

“Dr. Gilbert breached boundaries with Patient A and then engaged in serious, repeated acts of sexual abuse over a number of years,” Silver said, noting Patient A was “extremely vulnerable.”

Gilbert also filled out over 90 prescriptions for Patient A, the panel was told, for medications including antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives and pills for erectile dysfunction. She even provided non-prescription pills for erectile dysfunction, which she said she had ordered from a “third-world country.”

Gilbert tried to end the sexual relationship in 2013, but it continued until April 2014, according to the statement.

As of January 2018, Gilbert was barred from practising on anyone unless in the presence of a health professional, pending the outcome of Wednesday’s proceedings, according to her profile on the college’s website. Aside from losing her licence, Gilbert must post credit for $16,000 to cover patient therapy as well as pay $6,000 for the cost of Wednesday’s hearing.

“Dr. Gilbert was who I thought was a very close friend to (my wife) and myself,” Patient A wrote in a victim impact statement, which Silver read to the panel. “I felt like I was the doctor and she was the patient. I became like a slave to her, started missing work and taking better care of her than anybody. I lost friends, my business and my wife.

“I would never trust a psychiatrist for the rest of my life.”

In an unusual move, Gilbert’s defence team — lawyers Trevor Fisher and Sonia Fabiani — opposed the media’s request for access to exhibits from the discipline hearing, including the statement of uncontested facts and Patient A’s victim impact statement, noting that they contained personal information about Patient A. The college was consenting to the release of the documents, subject to them being redacted to comply with the publication ban.

“The documents requested have also already been read into the record in the presence of the person(s) requesting access,” the defence argued. “The publication of the documents would serve no public interest and are highly prejudicial to Dr. Gilbert and Patient A.”

The discipline panel sided with the media and will release the exhibits once the redactions are completed.

“The committee accepts that the request made by the media is for the purpose of accuracy and completeness in their reporting, which is important, given the fact that transparency is an accepted value for public hearings,” wrote panel chair John Langs in the order releasing the exhibits.

“The fact that portions of the documents were read into the record and are available through a transcript … is not a reason for refusing access to those portions of the exhibits. The legislation is clear that the hearing is public, and the committee concludes that without good reason, exhibits shall be accessible to the public.”

Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering legal affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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