Must Read FAQs

If you are a member of the public thinking about submitting a complaint, or have a question, read through these FAQs to see if your question is answered.

Who can I make a complaint against? 

All physicians, residents, physician assistants, and clinical assistants with a certificate to practice in Manitoba, as well as medical students, are CPSM registrants. The public can make a complaint against a CPSM registrant through our complaints process. 

Who can make a complaint?

Any member of the public who has concerns about the care received by a CPSM registrant or about their conduct can submit a complaint to CPSM.

Making a complaint is a personal decision. CPSM treats all complaints seriously and with confidentiality.

Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?

If you have concerns about the care provided to someone else, you may not have a right to participate in the complaints process due to privacy concerns, unless you are their legal representative. A complainant is free to obtain the assistance of anyone they wish, but CPSM responds only to the complainant. Complaints about the care provided to children, vulnerable persons, adults legally deemed mentally incompetent, or deceased individuals must be submitted by the legal representative of such persons.

What are valid reasons to complain?

Misunderstandings or a lack of information can create many problems. Your doctor may not be aware that you are unhappy about aspects of care and may be able to provide further information, an explanation, and/or an apology to resolve the issue. Some concerns can be resolved through open and honest discussion between you and your doctor and we encourage you to start there.

If you have already attempted to address your concern through direct communication, or if direct communication is not an option for you, CPSM’s complaint process ensures your concerns are reviewed.

What do I need to know before making a complaint?

If you are considering making a complaint, you should understand what to expect and the possible outcomes before you submit your complaint (see questions about your involvement in the process below).

Can I continue seeing the doctor I made a complaint against?

You should be aware that a formal complaint about a doctor often disrupts the physician-patient relationship and CPSM encourages conflict resolution whenever possible, but many physicians may decide to end the relationship. You may need to find another doctor if that happens. However, this should not stop you from complaining about serious concerns.

How do I make a complaint?

Once you are ready to submit a formal complaint, go to Submit a Complaint to submit your complaint online or for instructions on mailing, emailing, faxing, or dropping off your complaint in person.

If you have concerns about the care provided to someone else for whom you are not a legal guardian or representative, you may submit these concerns to CPSM’s Registrar. The Registrar may refer these concerns to the Complaints Committee or the Investigation Committee, but you will not be informed of the outcome. 

How will I be involved in the complaints process?

CPSM is committed to addressing public complaints fairly and transparently. Review the Step-by-Step Complaints Process.

You must submit your complaint in writing to be processed and reviewed. Your written complaint will be provided to the doctor who is the subject of the complaint and they will be required to respond.

CPSM has the authority to access medical information without consent, but will only do so in exceptional circumstances and we will require your consent to proceed in our process.

It is important that you understand that your relationship with the doctor your complaints are against, is unlikely to continue.

How long will the process take?

Completing the whole process can take several months. CPSM strives to be efficient without compromising the thoroughness of the review. Serious issues that may pose an immediate risk to the public are prioritized. A Public Support Advisor is available to you throughout the process to answer any questions and let you know when important steps are completed.

What will CPSM do to address concerns?

It is not realistic for a doctor to meet every individual’s expectation of what perfect care looks like, one hundred per cent of the time, but CPSM expects that when problems arise, doctors will take responsibility and help patients address the issues of concern. Most physicians take the advice or constructive feedback CPSM provides seriously and take steps to improve their practice.

Where a complaint highlights the need for a physician to change their behaviour or improve an aspect of their practice, CPSM may require assessment and/or further training.

Discipline

The complaints and investigation process focuses on improving care and resolving conflict where possible. However, in circumstances where the care or conduct of a physician includes a serious breach of the expected standards (especially if the physician does not acknowledge it), CPSM may pursue formal discipline against the registrant to adequately protect the public.

CPSM has the authority to restrict or take away a physician’s right to practice where it has determined that a physician is not able to safely practice medicine. Reasons can include being too ill to practice safely, not being competent, or committing a severe act of professional misconduct that puts the public at risk.

What CPSM cannot do

CPSM is not responsible for complaints about medical matters or concerns about other health care professionals. We only take action where concerns relate to CPSM registrants. Concerns or complaints about other healthcare professionals or doctors in other jurisdictions should be directed to the appropriate professional regulatory body.

CPSM does not have authority to:

  • Obtain financial compensation for complainants;
  • Force a doctor to provide the treatment a complainant wants;
  • Arrange for alternative medical care or a referral to a specialist;
  • Force a doctor to apologize to a complainant.

What if I disagree with the decision?

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can ask that your complaint be addressed through another process. If the Complaints Committee heard your complaint, you can refer it to the Investigation Committee. Investigation Committee decisions can be appealed to an Appeal Panel.

To adequately address the reasons why you are not satisfied, you must provide the reasons for your request.

This must be done in writing within 30 days of receiving the registered letter that includes the decision of the Committee. The Regulated Health Professions Act outlines this process in subsection 108(2) and CPSM cannot change the deadline.

Questions

If you would like to speak to someone or have questions, please contact CPSM: 

  1. By phone at 204-774-4344 or toll-free at 1-877-774-4344. Ask that your call be directed to the Complaints and Investigations Department
  2. By email at complaints@cpsm.mb.ca.