• Concerns & Complaints


    The College must know the source of the complaint in order to investigate it. College complaints investigation procedures are designed to keep all information about complaints confidential within the College. If a member or complainant is dissatisfied with a decision of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC), he or she may seek a review by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“the Board”). The College has no ability to make assurances regarding confidentiality as reviews conducted by The Board, which is independent of the College are open to the public.

    If, after the investigation of a complaint, allegations are referred to the Discipline Committee, the case will be heard in a hearing which is open to the public. The College makes every effort to ensure that the Discipline Committee bans publication of the recipient of psychological services which gave rise to the complaint.

    Individuals with concerns about whether they will be identifiable if they lodge a complaint are encouraged to call the College and discuss these concerns with College investigation staff. Callers need not identify themselves when doing this.

    No. Any and all information provided to the College must be provided to the Investigations, Complaints and Reports Committee.

    Currently, it takes an average of approximately 180 days (six months) from the time a complaint is received until a decision is provided to the member and complainant. While in some cases it takes less time, in others it takes more, due to a number of factors, (eg. difficulty contacting witnesses or obtaining documents, excessive demands on College resources). The range of times for disposition of complaints is wide and in some rare cases, an investigation may take more than a year.

     

    As the College is the regulatory body investigating the complaint and must remain neutral during an investigation, staff cannot provide advice about whether or not to lodge a complaint or, for members, about how to respond to a complaint. Members of the College may always contact College staff with procedural questions arising from receipt of a letter of complaint, although staff cannot discuss the substance or merits of the complaint with them.

     

    All complaint decisions are made by a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints, Reports Committee. Each panel is comprised of two volunteer members of the profession and one public member of the College Council, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Discipline Committee and Fitness to Practice Decisions are also made up of a combination of the professional and public members, as set out the Health Professions Procedural Code, which is Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

     

    The College is authorized to make dispositions which are intended to protect the public by addressing a member’s future ethical conduct, competence or capacity. The College cannot, however, intervene in a financial dispute regarding fees or require an member to change an opinion or report.

     

    A member or complainant may apply for a review by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, which is an independent review body operated by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, unless the decision of the Committee has been to refer allegations to the Discipline or Fitness to Practice Committee.  After conducting a review of a decision, the Board may do any one or more of the following:

    1. Confirm all or part of the decision.
    2. Make recommendations the Board considers appropriate to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee.
    3. Require the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee to do anything the Committee or a panel may do under the health profession Act and the Health Professions Procedural Code, except to request the Registrar to conduct an investigation.

    Decisions of the Discipline Committee may be appealed following an application for appeal to the Divisional Court of Ontario.

    All complaints against members are considered by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC), however not all complaints are investigated. If a complaint is deemed by a panel of the ICRC to be frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith, moot or an abuse of process, the panel will provide the complainant and member notice of the intention to take no action with respect to the complaint and invite submissions from them in this regard. Following consideration of any submissions which are made, the panel may decide to either investigate the allegations or take no further action.

     

    Information about complaints is only available to the public if allegations against the member have been referred by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee to the Discipline Committee and a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence has been made. This information is available on the College website and can be found by using the “Member Search” feature.  Information about previous complaints, other than those which have been deemed to have been frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith, moot or otherwise an abuse of process is available to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee when considering a subsequent complaint against a member.

     

    The College only has the authority to address the conduct of psychologists and psychological associates in Ontario. The College would, however, take whatever action is necessary to prevent individuals who are not members from: 

    1. Using the title “psychologist” or “psychological associate” contrary to the Psychology Act.   
    2. Holding out as a person who is qualified to practice in Ontario as a “psychologist” or  “psychological associate” or in a specialty of psychology contrary to the Psychology Act.
    3. Using the word “psychology” or “psychological”, an abbreviation or an equivalent in another language in a description of services, offered or provided, contrary to the Psychology Act.  
    4. Performing the controlled act of communicating a diagnosis contrary to the Regulated Health Professions Act.
    5. Using the title “doctor” in the course of providing or offering to provide health care to individuals contrary to the Regulated Health Professions Act.

     

    Please follow this link:

     http://www.cpo.on.ca/Notices_of_Unauthorized_Practice.aspx

    for a list of individuals listed who have been, or are in the process of being, prosecuted under the Psychology Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 38,  the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18, and/or the Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33  for unauthorized activities, or have entered into an agreement with the College to cease unauthorized activity following the initiation of legal action.