Step-by-Step Through the Process

The Complaints Committee and the Investigation Committee must take certain steps in dealing with a complaint. These requirements are set out in the Complaints Investigations Resolving Conflict and CPSM's Complaints and Investigations Process.

STEP 1: The complaint is received

The Registrar has set up a process to review your complaint and respond with the most appropriate option to address your concerns. Complaints are assessed and triaged in one of four ways:

  1. Addressed to achieve resolution through facilitated communication.
  2. Referred to the Complaints Committee for review.
  3.  Referred to the Investigation Committee for review.
  4. The complaint is dismissed.

Once you have submitted a complaint, a Public Support Advisor is available to assist you. 

A Public Support Advisor is available if you have questions throughout your complaints process. Once you submit a complaint, you may be contacted by the Public Support Advisor to see if you have any questions about the process or discuss community resources available to you if necessary. Where the concerns are being addressed by an informal resolution, the Public Support Advisor will assist the medical consultant to understand your perspective. 

STEP 2: The Complaint is reviewed and managed under these four different scenarios: 

1. When the complaint is addressed through facilitated communication:

The medical consultant can assist the complainant and the registrant to communicate to resolve the matter. This is an appropriate way to address straightforward concerns that do not need a committee to determine an outcome. The process follows these steps:  

    1. Your complaint is sent to the doctor.
    2. The medical consultant may speak with the doctor to discuss relevant issues.
    3. The doctor is expected to respond in writing within 30 days.
    4. When the doctor’s response is received, it is sent to you and along with any details of what was done to address the complaint.
    5. The medical consultant or the Public Support Advisor will follow up with you to see if there are remaining concerns.

2. Where the complaint is referred to the Complaints Committee:

The CC aims for both parties to understand each other’s perspectives and to resolve concerns informally through facilitated communication led by the medical consultant. Unlike matters solely resolved by communication as noted above, the Complaints Committee will become involved if the parties cannot agree on a resolution. This committee can endorse an informal resolution and has the authority to assess your care or conduct and provide advice or constructive feedback about your practice of medicine.

    1. Your complaint is sent to the doctor.
    2. The doctor is expected to respond in writing within 30 days.
    3. You receive the doctor’s response and any other information that may be helpful. You will have an opportunity to provide your comments in response to that information.
    4. Once you submit your reply, if the medical consultant sees an opportunity to address the complaints through further communication, they will try to do so. If they cannot satisfy your concerns through discussion, the matter will proceed to the Complaints Committee for a decision.
    5. The Complaints Committee receives all the information from you and your doctor and meets for discussion. The Committee decides the outcome. They can:
    • Take no further action if the Committee decides the doctor’s care or conduct was considered appropriate.
    • Provide advice or constructive feedback to help the doctor improve.

     6. CPSM will send you a letter by registered mail once a decision has been made. If you move before the complaints process is complete, please notify the medical consultant of your new address.

3. Where the complaint is referred to The Investigation Committee:

      This route is appropriate for more complicated, specialized, or severe concerns. It is still possible for complaints to be resolved by agreement between the complainant and the doctor, but there are more options for getting information and addressing any concerns that the Investigation Committee finds. For example, if your complaint is about the care you received from a specialist, it may be necessary to have a specialist give an opinion.

    1. Your complaint is sent to the doctor.
    2. The doctor is expected to respond in writing within 30 days.
    3. The doctor’s response is provided to you, along with any other information that may be helpful. You will have an opportunity to provide your comments in response to that information.
    4. At this point, we may collect other documents, get a specialist’s opinion and/or conduct interviews.
    5. Where there are serious patient safety concerns, conditions may be requested or imposed on a doctor’s practice during the investigation.
    6. The investigator writes a report that is provided to the doctor for review. This is necessary to offer the opportunity to address any issues that may impact their certificate of practice (license).
    7. The Investigation Committee receives the report and the doctor’s response.
    8. The committee meets for discussion and decides the outcome. They can:
    • Take no further action because the doctor’s care or conduct met the expected standard.

    • Provide advice or constructive feedback to help the doctor improve.

    • Where the doctor agrees;

      • Make arrangements for specific education requirements.

      • Accept and monitor changes or conditions to their practice.

      • Issue and publish formal discipline through a Censure (reprimand).

    • Where the member does not agree, OR where further action is necessary to address the circumstances or misconduct, the matter will be referred to the Inquiry Committee to conduct a hearing.

4. When the complaint is dismissed: 

Complaints may be dismissed when they are deemed to be trivial, vexatious, or unsustainable under the RHPA. Complainants are informed and provided with the reasons for dismissal. You may appeal the decision for dismissal to a panel of the Complaints Committee. 

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 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 ask for a referral 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.