Whichever process we use to resolve complaints, our goal is to ensure the public receives safe and effective medical care from competent physicians.
When we receive a written complaint, our Complaints Director reviews it and considers if it is within our mandate to resolve. If it is within our mandate, the Complaints Director then decides how best to proceed based on options outlined in the Health Professions Act, including:
Direct Resolve is an informal resolution process best suited for single-issue complaints usually related to practice management or explanation of a medical decision. With this process, the College takes a step back and encourages the physician to work directly with the complainant to resolve the matter.
Resolve with Consent
Resolve with Consent is an informal resolution process most effective when a physician needs to make a change to their practice, yet the complaint seems fairly straightforward. In this case, the College will work directly with the physician to make necessary practice changes. Agreement from the complainant is required to proceed with this approach.
An investigation is a formal process used when informal resolution fails or when more information is necessary to fully understand the issue(s). An investigation is also mandatory for complaints involving a serious allegation of unprofessional conduct.
Resolve with Consent After Investigation
Depending on the “Findings” of an Investigation Report, the Complaints Director might want to work with the physician to make practice improvements through education and/or remediation. This quality improvement approach results in better care for future patients.
After careful review of all the information submitted, the Complaints Director also has the option to dismiss a complaint due to insufficient evidence or if the complaint is trivial or vexatious in nature. If the College’s Complaints Director dismisses a complaint, the complainant can request a review of that decision.
Complaints about sexual abuse or misconduct
A physician is in a position of power over a patient by virtue of having professional knowledge and skill that a patient must rely on for their well-being. In addition, they have access to patients’ personal health information.
Physicians must always maintain professional boundaries with their patients. They are prohibited from engaging in any form of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a patient as defined by law in the Health Professions Act.
If you believe your healthcare professional may have crossed a sexual boundary, we urge you to contact us.