1. Initial steps: The initial steps involved in receiving and reviewing a complaint typically include the following:
- The College receives a completed complaint form or a written letter of complaint from the patient.
- The College confirms receipt of the complaint by letter to the complainant and notifies the registrant that a complaint has been received.
- The College reviews the complaint and requests any clarification or further information from the complainant.
- The College may request copies of the patient’s clinical records from the registrant at this stage or at a later stage, depending on the nature of the complaint.
2. Steps involved once all information has been received: Once the College has received any further requested and relevant information from the patient, the registrant(s) and/or other individuals, and it has been determined that the College has jurisdiction to investigate the matter, the following steps ensue:
- The complaint will be summarized.
- If the complaint is a “serious matter” (defined in the Health Professions Act as a matter that, if proven, would result in limitations or conditions on the registrant’s practice, or a suspension or cancellation of registration), the complaint will be taken to the Inquiry Committee.
- The College sends a letter to the Registrant along with a copy of the letter of complaint, and requests a response to the allegations.
- The College may contact other individuals involved in the patient’s care or who otherwise might have additional relevant information.
- Where appropriate, the College may provide the patient with a copy of the response obtained from the registrant and ask for any further comments.
- If the allegations, even if admitted or proven, would result in no more than a reprimand, it will still be completely reviewed.
3. Steps once the complaint has been investigated: Once the investigation is concluded, the complainant and the registrant will receive a report. The report typically includes a summary of the allegations and the registrant’s response to the allegations, a description of the information and documentation considered in the investigation, and the Inquiry Committee’s review and opinion in response to the complaint.
4. Steps if corrective action is requested of the registrant: If any corrective action on the part of the registrant is required, the College may:
- inform the registrant about the concerns and provide remediative advice including the requirement to have consultation, supervision or take educational courses;
- request that the registrant attend the College for an interview;
- circulate advice and suggestions to all registrants on matters relevant to the general practice of registrants in its official publications;
- reprimand the registrant about the conduct;
- order a general review of the registrant’s practice; and/or
- issue a citation for a hearing by the Disciplinary Committee if remediation is not appropriate or sufficient to address the concerns.