One of the functions of the College in fulfilling its mandate of protecting the public interest is to receive, investigate and act upon complaints made against its members. The formal process for investigation of a complaint is outlined in the legislation and each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the person filing the complaint, and the Naturopathic Doctor named in the complaint. Although the College investigates most of the complaints received, the law permits the Inquiries, Complaint and Reports Committee (ICRC) to decline to investigate complaints it considers to be frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith, moot or otherwise an abuse of process.
The College does not have authority to order monetary compensation for you from the naturopath. This can only be achieved through civil proceedings.
Submitting a Complaint
The College must receive your complaint about a Naturopathic Doctor in a recorded format.
The more information that you can provide, the easier it will be to look into the complaint. If you are having trouble writing your letter of complaint or have questions about the College’s Complaints process, you can contact the College for assistance.
A fillable complaint form that may be printed out and mailed to the College or saved in pdf format and sent by email is available in the resource library for your convenience.
The Complaints Process
When a complaint is received the College will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint and send out letter of confirmation.
- If applicable, request the member to submit the original patient file to the College.
- Send a written notice of the complaint to the member, together with a copy of all or part of the letter of complaint, so that the member can provide a response.
- Provide the member’s response to the complainant for additional comments.
Once all of the initial documentation has been collected from all parties involved in the complaint, the matter is referred to a Panel of Inquiries, Complaint and Reports Committee (ICRC), which consists of naturopathic doctors and appointed public members, who will initiate and investigation into the matter. The investigation may include interviewing parties or witnesses, appointing an investigator to obtain records, collecting any relevant documentation.
As part of the investigation process the patient's personal health information may be obtained by the College. According to Section 43 (1)(b) of Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) NDs are permitted to disclose personal health information about an individual to the College for the purpose of the administration or enforcement of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
College staff are not members of the ICRC, so are not part of this body’s decisions.
Decisions and Reasons
After a thorough review of the complaint, submissions, and results of the investigation the ICRC may do one or more of the following:
- Refer specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee. The discipline process is entirely separate from the complaints process. The Discipline Committee deals with allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence through a formal hearing.
- Refer the matter to another Panel of the ICRC for incapacity proceedings if there are concerns suggesting that the member is suffering from a physical or mental incapacity.
- Require the member to appear before a panel of the ICRC to be cautioned*.
- Require the member to complete a specified continuing education or remediation program (SCERP)*.
- Issue a letter of advice or caution.
- Take other action it considers appropriate that is not inconsistent with the RHPA, the Health Professions Procedural Code, the regulations governing the practice of Naturopathy in Ontario or by-laws of the College.
- Take no further action, if it finds that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
*As per section 23(2)7 of the Health Professions
Procedural Code, the register shall contain
a notation of every caution that a
member has received from a panel of the ICRC under paragraph 3 of subsection 26
(1), and any Specified Continuing Education or Remedial Programs required by a
panel of the ICRC using its powers under paragraph 4 of subsection 26 (1).
A written decision and the reasons for the decision will be provided to both the complainant and the member except where the matter has been referred to the Discipline Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee.
Click the link below to see the ICRC Decision-Making Flow Chart.