Frequently Asked Questions

How is a complaint investigated?

College staff fully and impartially investigate each complaint. The College may review medical records or seek information from the complainant (or the patient if applicable), the practitioner, and other healthcare professionals who may have pertinent information to share.

Can I talk to the owner/manager/pharmacist/technician about the complaint directly?

You may wish to discuss the problem directly with the owner/manager or practitioner before filing the formal complaint. After the complaint has been filed, the College asks that the complainant and the pharmacy or practitioner named in the complaint to refrain from any communication with each other about the matter. The College expects that the complainant and the pharmacy or practitioner will fully cooperate with the investigation.

Who decides the result of the investigation?

After the investigation is complete and all of the supporting documentation is received, a report of the investigation is reviewed by a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). The ICRC deliberates over the results of the investigation and makes a decision about how to dispose of the complaint.

The ICRC is a screening committee that is composed of professional and publicly appointed members of the College Council and non-council committee members. College staff are not members of the ICRC and therefore they are not involved in ICRC’s decision-making process

What can the ICRC do?

There are a number of options available to a panel of the ICRC. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the panel can:

  • Refer the member and specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee
  • Refer the member to another panel of the ICRC for health inquiries
  • Require the member to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP)
  • Issue a caution to the member
  • Take no action against the member
  • Take other action not inconsistent with the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991
Watch this whiteboard video to learn more about the options available to the ICRC.

Are the ICRC’s decision and/or reasons for decision public information?

Complaints are a confidential process. The results of an investigation remain on the member’s file but are not available to the public. The exceptions to this rule are when a member is ordered to complete a SCERP, receives an oral caution from the ICRC, or when specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence against the member are referred to the Discipline Committee. Information about the SCERP, oral caution or referral to the Discipline Committee is public information and available on the Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional.

What can I do if I don’t agree with the ICRC’s decision and reasons for the decision?

Either party has the right to appeal the decision and reasons for the decision to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). The only exception to this is if the decision is a referral to the Discipline Committee or a referral to another panel of the ICRC to conduct health inquiries.

If the member is referred to the Discipline Committee, does the complainant become a party to the disciplinary proceeding?

Complainants are not parties to such disciplinary proceedings. They do not direct the prosecution or make submissions separate from the College’s submissions. However, it is possible that the complainant may be called as a witness in the proceedings.