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 Registrants. 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.
If you have a concern or complaint about a naturopath, you have the right to submit a formal complaint to the College.
When a complaint is received the College will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint and send out letter of confirmation.
- If applicable, request the Registrant to submit the original patient file to the College.
- Send a written notice of the complaint to the Registrant, together with a copy of all or part of the letter of complaint, so that the Registrant can provide a response.
- Provide the Registrant‘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 provided to a Panel of the ICRC, which consists of naturopathic doctors and appointed public members, who will investigate 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.
After a thorough review of the investigation materials, the ICRC issues a Decision and Reasons.
College staff are not members of the ICRC, so are not part of decisions.
The investigation of a complaint should be completed within 150 days of it being filed with the College. Should more time be necessary a notification will be sent to the complainant explaining the reason for the delay and a proposed new date of completion that is no more than 60 days from the date of the notice.
Request for Review
Unless the decision is a referral to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee both the complainant and the Registrant have the right to request a review of the decision by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) within 30 days of receipt of the ICRC’s decision. The Board is an independent body established by the provincial government and is made up of non-health care professionals.