For detailed information regarding the composition, authority and formal requirements of the Inquiry Committee click here (Inquiry Committee)
If the Investigation Committee decides that formal charges should be laid against a physician:
- the complainant and the physician will be notified;
- the physician will be issued a Notice of Inquiry setting out the formal charges against him/her;
- the matter will be referred to the Inquiry Committee and the Chair of the Committee will select a panel from among the members of the Inquiry Committee to hold a hearing. Panels are composed of at least three members, at least one of whom must be a public representative;
- a hearing will be scheduled
If you have made a complaint that leads to a hearing, you will be fully informed of the process and what is expected of you.
A hearing before an Inquiry Panel is a formal process with lawyers for the College (who will prosecute the charges), lawyers for the physician, a court reporter, sworn witnesses, examination and cross-examination, etc. The physician and/or the complainant may be called as witnesses at the hearing.
The hearing is held in the College offices and is generally open to the public. If it is necessary to protect certain information or an individual from public exposure, the panel may order that part of the proceedings be held in private or that identities of individuals not be published.
The Panel usually consists of three people, two physicians and a public representative. The Panel has its own lawyer. It is up to the Panel to decide whether or not the charges are proven.
In situations where the doctor agrees that the formal charges are valid and is prepared to admit fault, the matter may be resolved by a “consent agreement” with an agreed-to statement of fact, admissions, and an agreed-to penalty. In such situations a full hearing, as outlined above, is not required, but the physician may still be required to appear before the Inquiry Panel for the agreement to be implemented.
If the panel finds the physician guilty of the charges, one or more of the following may be imposed:
- reprimand – this is a permanent record of criticism placed on the professional record of the physician;
- suspension of the physician’s licence to practise medicine;
- imposition of conditions on the physician’s licence to practise medicine;
- direction to the physician to waive money owed, or to refund money paid;
- cancellation of one or both of the physician’s registration and licence with the College; and/or
- an order to the physician to pay to the College the costs of the investigation, pay a fine, or both.
Notification of the Decision
The decision of the Panel is forwarded to the Registrar of the College who notifies both the physician and the complainant. The matter may also be published with or without the physician’s name. The complainant is not named in any College publication.
The physician may appeal the Panel’s decision to the Manitoba Court of Appeal.