How to Respond to a Complaint

The College sends a copy of the complaint and a letter explaining the complaints process to the Member within 14 days of the receipt of the formal complaint.  The Member is expected to respond to the complaint, provide the original patient file (if relevant), and any requested information within 30 days. The timelines set by the College refer to calendar, not business days.

If the Member fails to co-operate with the College or provide information at the College’s request, they may be subject to discipline proceedings (in addition to any proceedings relating to the original complaint).

When preparing their submission for the College, the Member should:

  • Review the College’s complaint process;
  • Read the complaint carefully, paying attention to each concern that is raised;
  • Respond to each concern in a factual and objective manner;
  • Refrain from discussing the matter with the complainant.

The College staff cannot assist the Member with preparing their response or facilitate a resolution of the matter. The Member may wish to contact their professional liability insurance provider and obtain a legal representative.  

If the complaint was made by the patient, the patient’s consent to release their medical records is implied and the College is not required to seek additional consent for the Member to release this information to the College. However, if a complaint is made by a third party, a family member of the patient for example, the patient’s consent to obtain their information may be requested.

The goal of investigation is to obtain the relevant and objective information about the conduct or actions of the Member, while at all times ensuring fairness to both parties. A College representative may ask the Member for an oral interview or visit their clinic, may request information from the Member, their colleagues or other witnesses.

The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) requires that the complaints process be completed within 150 days. While the College does its best to meet this requirement, it is not always possible. When delays occur and 150 days have passed, the parties will be notified about the status of the complaint on a regular basis. The parties may contact the College at any time to ask about the status of the complaint.

Once the panel of the Inquiries, Complaint and Reports Committee (ICRC) disposes of a complaint, both parties will receive a copy of the panel's decision.  Either party may request a review of the decision and reasons by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) unless the decision is to refer specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee or to refer to another panel of the ICRC to conduct health inquiries.