Canada: nurse who stole opioids wins reinstatement, damages

Over a period of two years at a nursing home in Waterloo, Ontario, a nurse identified in legal papers as DS “[stole] opioids for her own use and [falsified] medical records in order to conceal the thefts.” Now “a labor arbitrator has ordered the Regional Municipality of Waterloo to give DS her job back, and to compensate her financially for her unfair dismissal, including general damages for ‘injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.’ The care home had a duty to accommodate the nurse’s unquestioned diagnosis of severe opioid use disorder and mild to moderate sedative-hypnotic use disorder, ruled arbitrator Larry Steinberg. This disease had left her with ‘a complete inability or a diminished capacity’ to resist the urge to feed her addiction.” [National Post]


  • The judge should have given her a five-year jail sentence, suspended on condition she stay out of that Waterloo Ontario nursing home.

  • According to the article, she is also remorseful, in the way one always is after being caught.


  • Let’s assume that the arbitrator is correct—she had this massive need that she couldn’t resist. There was nothing preventing her from telling her superiors. So can her for that.

    • Exactly. She never requested accommodation.

  • By this logic, every DUI alcoholic should have his or her driving license reinstated and driving record expunged.

  • Not to mention the basic problem that if she is, indeed, unable to resist feeding her addiction then she is a danger to patients who require such medications.

  • In a just universe, the arbiter would be sentenced to her care for an extended period while himself afflicted with some malady requiring pain management therapy.

    Mercy for the perpetrator has overcome any veneer of justice for the victims in this case.

  • And there’s no deduction for the value of the stolen opioids?

  • did the theft start before the disability? After all, becoming addicted to stolen medications is slightly worse than stealing medications to which you are already addicted. Based solely on her justification and the fact that the arbitrator bought it…