Overview of the Process

Concerns may be brought to the attention of the College through a telephone call and will be handled informally where possible.  If you call with a concern which the College is unable to address, you may be referred to other organizations.  If your concern is serious and/or complicated, it may require a more extensive review by a medical consultant from the College, who will try to determine if the concerns can be addressed informally and satisfactorily without a formal review.  If a formal review is required, the complaint must be in writing, signed by the complainant

The College has established a process to ensure that all complaints are thoroughly researched and reviewed in a manner that is fair to both the patient and the physician and appropriately identifies and addresses problems. This involves:

  • ensuring that complaints are communicated in sufficient detail to the College and in a clear and reliable format;
  • requiring physicians to respond to the substance of complaints and providing them with an opportunity to communicate their perspective;
  • communicating with both the complainant and the physician as required to ensure all relevant facts surrounding the complaint are known and understood;
  • carefully considering all relevant documents and records and, in some circumstances information from other sources.

Thorough review and investigation of a complaint facilitates:

  • the identification of problems with physicians;
  • resolution of those problems;
  • the taking of steps to ensure that:
    • those problems do not continue;
    • the public is protected.

The process can take several months, depending on the complexity of the complaint and the extent to which information must be collected and whether formal discipline is necessary.  The average time is four to six months.

Anyone considering making a complaint should understand what to expect and the possible outcomes of their complaint before proceeding. [see Expectations and Outcomes]