This is a guest post by Jeremy Quesnelle the College's Deputy Registrar.

There are times when the College needs to formally investigate circumstances or information related to a complaint about a naturopath, or when concerns about a naturopath’s conduct or behaviour come to our attention from other sources.

In these cases, this requires the appointment of an investigator under section 75 of the Health Professions Procedural Code (the Code), Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) to carry out investigations on the College’s behalf. A formally-appointed investigator will obtain information relevant to the matter and make reasonable inquiries of anyone including, but not limited to, the Member who is the subject of the investigation, their patients, employees, and employers. In some cases, generally where there is a concern that evidence may have been tampered with and/or witness testimony interfered with, there may be an unannounced investigation at a Member’s workplace.

Powers of an Investigator

A formally-appointed investigator has the power to:

  • enter the place of practice of the Member and examine records or equipment and, if necessary, copy or remove them;
  • require any person by summons to give evidence under oath or to produce documents and objects relevant to the subject matter of the investigation; and
  • obtain a search warrant authorizing an investigator to enter and search a place and examine any document or thing specified in the warrant. 

Inspectors are not staff of the College but are independent professionals who are contracted for their knowledge and experience in conducting investigations. They act in full compliance with the law and with the legislation governing the organization on whose behalf they are conducting the investigation

Members of the College are required to cooperate fully with an investigator. The RHPA prohibits any person from obstructing an investigator and withholding, concealing or destroying anything that is relevant to the investigation. Failure to cooperate with a College-appointed investigator contravenes sections 76 (3) and (3.1) of the Code and may be viewed by the College and the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee as an act of professional misconduct. 

It is not the role of the investigator to draw conclusions or to communicate an opinion. Once an investigation has been completed, the investigator reports the results and provides any relevant evidence to the College.