Case: 2018 0043

Pillai, Sanu Gopinathan—Registration #17374

June 18-20, 2019

On October 11, 2018 the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) referred a matter involving Sanu Gopinathan Pillai to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. The hearing took place on June 18 – 20, 2019.

The panel of the Discipline Committee confirmed its decision on the finding on April 30, 2020 and the Order was released on May 28, 2020. The decision and reasons on finding and the Order were released on May 28, 2020.

After having considered all of the evidence, the panel found Sanu Gopinathan Pillai to have committed the following acts of professional misconduct under section 1 of the Professional Misconduct Regulation, O. Reg. 388/08:

  • paragraph 1 (failing to maintain the standards of practice of the profession); 
  • paragraph 10 (sexual abuse of a patient);  
  • paragraph 18 (engaging in conduct or performing an act relevant to the practice of the profession that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional); and 
  • paragraph 19 (conduct unbecoming a physiotherapist)

The panel also found Mr. Pillai to have engaged in sexual abuse of a patient as defined under ss. 1(3), 1(4) and s.51(1)(b.1) of the Health Professions Procedural Code, which is Schedule 2 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c.18 (the "Code"). 

The panel issued an interim order on May 28, 2020 suspending Mr. Pillai’s certificate of registration until such time as the panel makes an order with respect to penalty.


The panel of the Discipline Committee reconvened on August 20, 2020 for a penalty hearing. This hearing proceeded by way of a Joint Submission on Penalty and Cost. The panel confirmed its decision on penalty and decision on costs on August 20, 2020. 

The panel of the Discipline Committee ordered the following penalty, that Mr. Pillai:

  • Receive a reprimand at the conclusion of the hearing (delivered on August 20, 2020)
  • Serve a suspension for the period of May 29, 2020 - August 29, 2021. The suspension could be extended if Mr. Pillai is unable to complete the remaining requirements 
  • Successfully complete (having received an unconditional pass) the ProBe ethics program offered through the CPEP 
  • Attend one-on-one coaching sessions with a consultant selected by the College
  • Complete a review of various College, standards, tools and resources
  • Mr. Pillai may not supervise physiotherapy students and/or PTA students and will not be eligible to be considered by the Registrar to be a practice supervisor for a physiotherapist who holds a provisional practice certificate of registration until all of the terms of the Order have been met and the registrant has practiced for a period of five years from the date of his return to practice without being the subject of any new concerns reported to the College.
  • Practice as a PTA only under the supervision of a pre-approved, registrant of the College who is a full-time physiotherapist in the registrant’s practice location. The practice location may only be either a hospital or a practice location owned by a regulated health care provider.

The Committee ordered Sanu Pillai to pay costs to the College in the amount of $15,000 to offset some of the costs associated with investigating and prosecuting this case. 

The Committee also ordered Sanu Pillai to pay $5,000 into the College’s fund for therapy and counselling.

As a part of the penalty the Committee also issued a reprimand which read as follows: 

Let me begin by saying that this panel takes matters of this nature very seriously. The physiotherapist-patient relationship is one that is based on trust. Preserving this trust and protecting members of the public is our paramount duty. Your actions in this matter have undermined these important and fundamental tenets of the profession. 
The panel acknowledges your representation and comments today. We accept them as genuine and self-reflective. We equally acknowledge your acceptance of your behaviours and actions and your willingness to take steps to ensure that they do not happen again. 

As a result, this panel accepts the joint submission on penalty, and it is our hope and expectation that you will undertake the steps outlined in the submission with a desire to ultimately understand and improve as a professional physiotherapist. It is our sincere hope that you will return to the profession with a renewed approach to being a physiotherapist, have good patient relationships and that you will not again repeat the behaviours that have brought you before this panel today.

You can read the full decision of the Discipline Committee of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario at:
Read about the Past Discipline Hearings Results held by the College at the Canadian Legal Information Institute (for complete decisions released after April 1, 2015). 

Public Register:
Find a Physiotherapist to access important information about the healthcare provider you are choosing to see.

Ontario Health Regulators: 
Complete List of Public Registers