Ms. Debbie Shubat is a Registered Nurse and teaches nursing at Sault College in Sault St. Marie in northern Ontario. As pictured, she has been protesting plans for a local wind farm near Bow Lake.

The Environmental Review Tribunal appeal related to the wind farm differed in their decision released July 9, 2014:

[28] Ms. Shubat asked to be qualified to give opinion evidence as an expert in public health nursing and the interactions between wind turbines and human and community health. She has a Master of Science in Nursing degree, and was qualified as an expert community health nurse in a previous REA appeal, Moseley v. Director (Ministry of the Environment), [2014] O.E.R.T.D. No. 23 (“Moseley”). The Approval Holder and Director opposed her qualification on the basis that her expertise does not extend to the impact of wind turbines on human health.

[29] The Tribunal declined to qualify Ms. Shubat as an expert, ruling that the subject matter of her expertise, that being nursing and community health nursing, does not qualify her to give expert opinion evidence on the impact of wind turbines on human health. As outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v Mohan, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 9 (“Mohan”), the field of expertise must be relevant to the issue to be decided, in order for the Tribunal to receive opinion evidence. The Tribunal reviewed Ms. Shubat’s witness statement and found that all of the opinions she expressed were related to the impact of wind turbines on human health. She testified that any expertise she possesses in this regard comes from self-study. Ms. Shubat was clear that, as a nurse, she is not qualified to diagnose medical conditions and would not purport to do so. Ms. Shubat proceeded to give her evidence as a lay (fact) witness.

[30] A number of documents about the impact of wind turbines on human health were attached to Ms. Shubat’s witness statement as documents that she wished to rely upon. However, as Ms. Shubat was found not to have the qualifications to interpret and explain them for the Tribunal, or to put them into context within the existing scientific debate around wind turbines and human health, the articles could not be accepted for the truth of their contents and were not admitted into evidence.

Posted by Energy and Policy Institute