College of Chiropractors of Alberta v Dr. Curtis Wall

Updated May 14, 2024

Case Description

Dr. Curtis Wall is a Christian and a chiropractor in Calgary. He has been providing quality care to his patients for over 20 years.

In May 2020, the College of Chiropractors of Alberta implemented a no-exceptions mask mandate for all Alberta chiropractors through its Pandemic Practice Directive. The College required chiropractors to wear a face mask while treating patients. Dr. Wall attempted to wear a mask for several weeks, but found he was unable to due to severe anxiety and claustrophobia he experienced when wearing a mask. Given the harm wearing a mask caused him, and understanding the ineffectiveness of masks, Dr. Wall did not wear a mask while treating patients from June 2020 onward. His patients were understanding, and some were thankful because they appreciated being treated by someone not wearing a mask.

In early December 2020, the College of Chiropractors of Alberta received a complaint from Alberta Health Services that Dr. Wall was not wearing a mask. The College initially attempted to suspend Dr. Wall’s permit to practice chiropractic on the absurd basis that he posed an imminent threat to the public by practicing without a mask. That attempt failed and Dr. Wall continued to treat his patients throughout 2021 and 2022 without wearing a mask. Unsurprisingly, there is no evidence any of Dr. Wall’s patients were ever harmed in any way by Dr. Wall’s decision not to wear a mask.

The College then issued a long list of charges of unprofessional conduct against Dr. Wall, most of which related to Dr. Wall not wearing a mask while treating patients and permitting his patients to not wear a mask. A disciplinary hearing before a Tribunal was scheduled to commence in July 2021.

In April 2021, as part of his defence against the charges, Dr. Wall provided the College with three expert opinion reports from Respirologist Dr. Bao Dang, Viral Immunologist Dr. Byram Bridle, and Infectious Diseases consultant, Dr. Thomas Warren.

The College sought an adjournment of the July 2021 hearing dates because it had not yet secured an expert witness. The College eventually obtained an expert witness, a public health physician by the name of Dr. Jia Hu, and submitted an expert opinion report. The hearing commenced on September 1, 2021. Prior to the hearing, Dr. Wall submitted a fourth expert opinion report from Occupational Health and Safety consultant, Chris Schaefer.

On cross-examination, the expert witness for the College twice retracted portions of his report and was repeatedly rebutted by Dr. Wall’s expert witnesses. Dr. Wall’s expert witnesses established that within minutes of wearing a mask the wearer begins suffering the toxic effects of oxygen deprivation and overexposure to carbon dioxide, and that the wearing of masks by asymptomatic people has no meaningful impact on the rate of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Eight days of evidence was heard by the Tribunal between September 1, 2021 and January 29, 2022. Transcripts of all eight days were produced.

In February 2022, shortly before final transcripts were produced, Mr. Kitchen notified the College that Dr. Wall would be exercising his constitutional rights to freedom of expression and a fair and public hearing by publicly sharing the transcripts of the testimony of all the expert witnesses. The College objected to any form of publication and applied to the Tribunal to make the entire record secret. Dr. Wall contested the application. The Tribunal decided the transcripts of testimony could be shared with the public, but that the identities of all witnesses, even Dr. Wall’s expert witnesses, must be kept secret.

The law is clear that all proceedings before courts and tribunals are presumptively open and accessible by the public and the media, including the evidentiary record and the identities of individuals involved in the proceeding. Publication bans cover professional disciplinary proceedings in secrecy, which prevents the public scrutiny necessary to ensure professional disciplinary tribunals remain in the business of conducting fair trials, not mere show trials or proceedings in which conviction is a foregone conclusion. The supervision of the public discourages state actors like the College or the Tribunal from abusing the right to be presumed innocent or ignoring evidence the College has acted unlawfully.

In August 2022, Mr. Kitchen provided the College with a court application to strike down the Tribunal’s publication ban orders. Implicitly acknowledging the unlawfulness of the publication bans and wishing to avoid likely defeat before the courts, the College agreed to the rescission of the publication bans. As a result, the identities of Dr. Wall’s expert witnesses were no longer secret and the identities of the College’s witnesses and of the tribunal members would cease to be secret once the tribunal rendered a decision regarding the College’s allegations of unprofessional conduct against Dr. Wall.

The Tribunal heard closing arguments from the College and Dr. Wall on June 16-17, 2022.

On January 30, 2023 the Tribunal issued their decision. Disappointingly, but predictably, the tribunal ruled entirely against Dr. Wall and in favour of the College. The decision is riddled with errors of fact and law and is so poorly decided it is an embarrassment to the chiropractic profession.

Although Mr. Kitchen and Dr. Wall hoped for an unbiased decision from the tribunal, they knew it was more likely the tribunal members would lack the courage to oppose the government’s COVID narrative by accepting the scientific evidence masks are utterly ineffective at preventing the transmission of COVID and harmful to wearers. Nonetheless, it is shocking the lengths the tribunal went to dismiss the evidence of Dr. Wall, three of his patients, and his four expert witnesses while blithely accepting all the evidence of the College. In what would appear to be an attempt to avoid scrutiny, the tribunal did not once cite to the 1,300-page transcribed record of testimony to support its summaries of the evidence of each witness. These summaries often leave out important evidence that favors Dr. Wall and conflicts with the tribunal’s conclusions. The decision is an egregious manifestation of pre-determined, results-oriented decision-making.

The tribunal members who decided to accept and rely upon the evidence of Dr. Hu, despite that evidence having been repeatedly refuted by Dr. Wall’s four experts, are:

Mr. James Lees, member of the public

Mr. Doug Dawson, member of the public

Dr. Dianna Martens, a chiropractor in Red Deer; and

Dr. Leslie Aldcorn, a chiropractor in Lethbridge.

On July 31, 2023, the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta issued a rare and now famous decision in favour of those challenging COVID-related public health orders by striking down all of the CMOH Orders in Alberta. This case, Ingram v Alberta (Chief Medical Officer of Health), 2023 ABKB 453 [Ingram], was not appealed and is therefore binding law in Alberta. All government bodies such as the College of Chiropractors are required to abide by it.

That, however, did not stop the tribunal from deciding—after the release of Ingram—to ignore the law by ordering Dr. Wall to pay the College a total of $65,000 in fines and costs, under threat of immediately losing his license to practice if he does not pay.

As a result of the CMOH Orders being invalidated by the Court in Ingram, many charges were dropped by Alberta Crown prosecutors, such as the charges against Alberta pastor James Coates, and fines reversed, like the $80,000 in fines to Church in the Vine for not letting a public health inspector into the sanctuary during Sunday worship. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta also dropped charges of unprofessional conduct it brought against Dr. Michal Princ for issuing COVID vaccine medical exemptions to patients. 

The College’s new Complaints Director, Kerstin Hurd has decided she will enforce the hearing tribunal’s court-defying order that Dr. Wall pay $65,000 or lose his license, despite the invalidation of the CMOH Orders and despite other charges based on those Orders being dropped by Crown prosecutors and other professional regulators. Dr. Wall and Mr. Kitchen believe this is unlawful, not to mention a further waste of Alberta chiropractors’ money, a stain on the reputation of the profession, and a threat to the future of professional self-regulation. Dr. Wall should not pay any fines or costs when the public health orders he was charged with not following have been declared void by the courts.

Mr. Kitchen has therefore submitted an application to the College to prevent this injustice. The application will be heard by the Council of the College on June 21 at 9:00 AM by Zoom. The hearing is open to the public, as it should be, although the College has a history of erecting barriers to people attending Dr. Wall’s hearings. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the hearing by registering with the College’s Hearing, Chelsea Stern by emailing her at [email protected].

The College of Chiropractors of Alberta’s has pursued its crusade against Dr. Wall for over 3 years—a crusade that has cost the College over $600,000 in legal fees. The College is funded through large annual payments that all Alberta chiropractors are legislatively required to pay to the College.

LCC asks supporters to donate toward Dr. Wall’s case so he and Mr. Kitchen can hold the College of Chiropractors of Alberta accountable and bring an end to the unjust persecution of Dr. Curtis Wall. Liberty Coalition Canada is assisting Dr. Wall with his legal expenses through the Legal Defense Fund

"Sometimes your freedom is not taken away at gunpoint but instead, one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one small silencing at a time. Never allow the government-or anyone else–to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to do or not do."

- Armando Valladares
CUBAN POET

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