2019 CLEAR Award Recipients

CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award (Group)  |  Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA)

CLEAR is pleased to present the 2019 Investigative Excellence Group Award to Investigators Cheryl Rumpel and Holly Childs from the Real Estate Council of Alberta.

What began as a single complaint from an unhappy homeowner in February of 2017, ultimately uncovered a web of approximately fifteen individuals involved in a mortgage fraud scheme. In the complaint, a single-parent immigrant homeowner with limited English language skills had been pressured by a real estate agent to sell her home at a price much lower than market-value. Upon completion of the sale, the real estate agent immediately listed the property on the local board’s database at a substantially increased value and within days, recorded a pending sale of the property at its newly listed price.

Were it not for the keen eye of RECA’s investigators, Cheryl Rumpel and Holly Childs, who took notice of a critical unmet condition date in the original contract, the complaint might have been dismissed as seller’s remorse. Pain-staking review of financial transactions, contracts and documentation were only one part of this multi-faceted investigation, which ultimately uncovered approximately 15 individuals involved in the fraudulent scheme. Significant language and cultural barriers could have thwarted the investigation, but with the help of RECA’s skilled interviewers, investigators were able to establish a rapport and rebuild trust with other sellers who had also fallen prey to the scheme.

After issuing administrative fines and penalties and exhausting the scope of RECA’s jurisdiction, investigators shared their findings with other relevant agencies and regulatory bodies. Their collaboration served to further expose other instances of fraud, money laundering and corruption. Ultimately, a referral to the Canada Revenue Agency and Edmonton Police Service led to a joint criminal investigation involving 78 properties. Additional investigations led by the other institutions are now on-going.

The dedication of RECA’s team led by Cheryl Rumpel and Holly Childs, is a prime illustration of what it means to be an investigator in today’s global marketplace. Their meticulous and unrelenting yet objective and culturally sensitive approach to the case is what sets them apart and makes them so deserving of this award.

CLEAR Regulatory Excellence Award (Group) | Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

CLEAR is pleased to present the 2019 Regulatory Excellence Group Award to Matthew Hardy, Monica Lambley and Susan Biggar of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

In Australia, health practitioners were asked to rate the complaint notification experience on a scale of 1 to 10. Over 90% of health practitioners rated their stress levels between 7 and 10 and over 50% of health practitioners reported a solid 10. On the patient side, notifiers or those who had submitted a complaint reported the outcome to be unsatisfying and non-validating of their concern or effort in raising it. Coupled with the fact that AHPRA is faced with an increasing number of notifications each year, a serious review of the notification experience was deemed a priority.

Over the past three years, Matthew Hardy, Monica Lambley and Susan Biggar have worked diligently and creatively to improve the notifier and practitioner experience when a member of the public raises a complaint concerning a health practitioner. Through the distribution of a survey with over 3,500 responses and over 73 recorded interviews, this three-person team gathered and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data on the levels of satisfaction and feelings of respect during the notification process. Using this data, they have improved multiple facets of the notifications process, ranging from updates to the style of written correspondence to practitioners, development of new risk-based approaches and service principles, to encouraging and tracking organizational culture change.

The work accomplished by this high-functioning team is fundamental and significant on several levels. An effective reporting culture in which people raise concerns requires community trust and engagement with the regulator. The focus of this team on gathering and responding to details of the experience of those involved in the notifications process is making an important contribution to how AHPRA approaches its role as a regulator and is why CLEAR is pleased to recognize their significant efforts with this award.

CLEAR Regulatory Excellence Award (Individual)  |  Peggy Sellers Benson, Alabama Board of Nursing

CLEAR is pleased to present the 2019 Regulatory Excellence Award (Individual) to Peggy Sellers Benson, Executive Officer for the Alabama Board of Nursing.

In the Summer of 2017, recognizing the urgency occasioned by the Opioid Crisis' impact on all facets of society, Peggy devised, implemented, and directed the Alabama Board of Nursing's first Awareness Campaign for its Voluntary Disciplinary Alternative Program, also known as VDAP. In more than 25 years since the program’s creation by the Alabama Legislature, VDAP has helped hundreds of nurses who carry a substance use disorder diagnosis return to safe practice.

By utilizing a variety of media outlets, including social, personal and print, Peggy furthered the campaign’s reach and stated goal of alerting licensees, coworkers, families and the public to the Program’s existence, thus allowing countless numbers of nurses the opportunity to break out of the throws of addiction and back to the profession they love. In a year-over-year comparison, the Alabama Board of Nursing was able to quantify substantial increases in the reporting of substance use issues among nurses, demonstrated by a 10% increase in direct reports, a 91% increase in coworker reports, and a 19% increase in reports from nurses themselves.

The VDAP Awareness Campaign’s success serves as a model for health professional alternative programs throughout the United States. Prior to implementation, the Board struggled for means to demonstrate the Program’s benefits to licensees and the public. Through her dedication and commitment to both nurse and patient, Peggy has made an immediate and long-lasting contribution to the nursing profession and regulatory community. CLEAR thanks her for her efforts and is proud to name her as recipient of this award.

CLEAR James L. Guffey NCIT Development Award  |  Kim Williams, Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators

CLEAR is pleased to present the 2019 James L. Guffey NCIT Development Award to Kim Williams, Acting Manager of Professional Conduct with the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators. Throughout her years of membership with CLEAR, Kim has been an active volunteer on CLEAR committees, specifically CLEAR’s National Certified Investigator and Inspector Training (NCIT) committee.

Kim’s knowledge of regulatory investigations come from her years of work in the field as a senior investigator, program coordinator and supervisor at a watchdog organization for dentists. As the Supervisor of Investigations for the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators, she has implemented skills gained through working with CLEAR’s NCIT program, and has taken the lead in building, motivating and training a team of unseasoned investigators.

Behind the scenes, Kim’s relationship with CLEAR’s NCIT committee spans more than a decade, during which time she has generously lent her knowledge and time, helping modernize CLEAR’s NCIT–Basic program for its Canadian audience. In addition to her committee service, Kim has participated in a task force charged with developing a training program for regulatory attorneys, the development of investigator content for CLEAR’s Annual Educational Conference, and most recently, has aided an NCIT working group in updating its sexual misconduct and drug diversion investigative modules.

The common theme that runs throughout Kim’s work is regulatory excellence and public protection; and, through her engagement with CLEAR and its NCIT programming, she not only extends her support to CLEAR’s immediate membership, but to her colleagues around the world. CLEAR thanks Kim for her service and is pleased to honor her with this award.

CLEAR Consumer Protection Award  |  Julie Maciura, Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc 

CLEAR is pleased to present the 2019 Consumer Protection Award to Julie Maciura, Managing Partner at Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc.

For the past 25 years, Julie has devoted herself to a career in administrative law and professional regulation, with a specialization in health law. During this time, she has served as general counsel, prosecutor, and independent legal counsel to numerous Ontario regulators. While Julie’s contributions to professional regulation are many, a notable highlight is her work with regulators on the development of harm reduction and victim protection frameworks - policies and strategies designed to protect and reduce the risk of harm to victims and vulnerable members of the public receiving professional health services.

Julie has used her strong legal knowledge, creative thinking and strong work ethic to educate healthcare professionals and provide them with tools they need to ensure strong frameworks are in place for the treatment of patients. She is a leader in her field and enjoys a reputation as someone regulators can count on for sound legal advice. Julie also displays a keen understanding of the challenges facing regulators and is skilled in handling issues sensitively, effectively and efficiently.

With her generous nature and wisdom, Julie is always willing to share her expertise, knowledge and passion for the law with regulators and the public they are charged with protecting. This area of regulatory law is fortunate to have someone like Julie at its helm, and her leadership, along with her commitment to public protection, makes her a particularly deserving recipient of this award.

CLEAR Service Award for Lifetime Achievement |  Deanna L. Williams

CLEAR is honored to present the 2019 Service Award for Lifetime Achievement to Deanna L. Williams for her significant contribution to the regulatory community, and her long-standing commitment to CLEAR and its role in promoting regulatory excellence.

Deanna’s career has been devoted to regulation for the past 24 years, during which she has served CLEAR in numerous capacities.  When not instructing one of CLEAR’s Board Member Training or Executive Leadership programs, she can be found either speaking, moderating or helping to coordinate sessions at CLEAR conferences and other in-person events. In addition to her consistent hands-on participation, Deanna has served CLEAR as a board and committee chair and member, and in 2003 became CLEAR’s first Canadian president.

In 2012, Deanna was appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care as the Supervisor to the Ontario College of Denturists. In just under two years, she was able to successfully address operational and regulatory concerns raised in a previous audit report. Most recently, Deanna served as an expert advisor to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care where she assisted in the development of best practices concerning the handling of complaints, investigations and discipline, in matters related to sexual abuse of patients by health care practitioners.

Within and beyond CLEAR, Deanna is trusted for her professional honesty and integrity. She knows the principles and practices of good regulation, and even in the face of opposition, will not waver in her advice or actions. CLEAR is proud to call Deanna Williams a member, leader and former President and recognizes her extraordinary service with this award. 

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