The College of Denturists of Ontario (the “College”) is one of Ontario’s 26 self-governing health-care regulatory colleges and operates under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (“RHPA”), legislation which sets out the processes that must be used in dealing with the investigation of complaints.
The College has a formal complaints process which gives everyone the right to have his/her complaint investigated by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). Each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the person filing the complaint, and the denturist who is named in the complaint. Every complaint that is received by the College is thoroughly and objectively investigated to determine if there is any evidence of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH A PROBLEM WITH MY DENTURIST?
Before you make a formal complaint to the College about unsatisfactory denture care, it is highly recommended that you discuss your concerns directly with your denturist.
HOW DO I MAKE A COMPLAINT?
A formal complaint must be sent to the College in writing, by e-mail, surface mail, audio, videotape, film, or a recordable medium. (c/o Complaints Committee, College of Denturists of Ontario, 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1606, Toronto, ON M4W 3L4).
The College cannot accept a verbal complaint by telephone.
We require the following information:
- Your full name;
- A clear statement that you are submitting a complaint;
- Your mailing address and telephone contact info;
- The full name of the denturist;
- As much detail as possible about your concerns;
- Type of complaint (denture problem, conduct problem, other);
- Type of denture (full/partial/both, upper/lower/ both); and
- The names of other denturists, health-care practitioners or persons that may have relevant information.
Once the College receives a formal complaint, we will forward a letter acknowledging receipt of your formal complaint. All correspondence from the College will be sent by regular mail to preserve confidentiality.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR MAKING A COMPLAINT?
While there is not typically a time limit on complaints, the College recognizes the diverse nature of complaints and prefers that complaints must be made within a reasonable time frame.
WHO DEALS WITH THE COMPLAINTS?
The ICRC will consider your complaint. The mandate of the ICRC is outlined in provincial law. The ICRC members include both denturists and members of the public who are appointed by the provincial government to represent the public interest.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS BEGIN?
When the College receives your complaint, a copy is forwarded to the denturist. The denturist has 30 days to submit a written response to the College. The complainant usually has an opportunity to review the denturist’s response. Your name and the nature of your complaint will be shared with the denturist, unless there is a question of personal safety or risk involved.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Your complaint is fully and impartially investigated by College staff or an appointed investigator, with the investigation limited to your specific complaint. This investigation includes written submissions from both you and the denturist, any other denturists or health-care practitioners who have treated you or consulted on your treatment. An investigator may also formally get in touch with any third-party insurers involved, such as your insurance company.
As part of this process, the College may request relevant records, patient charts and other relevant information from other regulated health-care professionals who have a duty to cooperate with the investigation. The ICRC may also engage an expert to help with the investigation. The ICRC makes a decision based on the documentation placed before it.
CAN THE COMMITTEE AWARD MONEY OR DAMAGES?
The law governing health professions only permits the Committee to make a decision about the denturist’s conduct and actions. The ICRC cannot award compensation of any kind. Only the courts have that authority.
HOW WILL THE COMMITTEE DEAL WITH MY COMPLAINT?
The ICRC decides whether the information gathered during the investigation supports the claims made in the complaint.
There are a number of options available to the ICRC under the RHPA, the ICRC may:
- Take no further action.
- Remind, counsel, or caution the denturist in writing, if the ICRC believes the denturist would benefit from some advice or direction as to how to conduct him or herself in the future.
- Require the denturist to appear before the panel of the ICRC in Toronto to be cautioned.
- Direct or accept the denturist’s agreement to participate in training or educational programs to improve his or her practice.
- Refer the denturist to a panel of the ICRC if there are concerns about the denturist’s health that may be affecting his or her ability to practise.
- Decide not to investigate because the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith or is an abuse of process.
- Refer specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE A DECISION IS MADE?
Once the panel of the ICRC reaches a decision, both you and the denturist will be sent a written copy of the decision. College staff are not members of the ICRC, nor are they involved in any way in the ICRC’s decision-making.
IS THERE AN APPEAL PROCESS?
In most cases, there is an appeal process available that provides additional protection for both the patient and the denturist. On request of either party, an arms-length provincial board called the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board may review the ICRC decision.
The only exception to this right of review is in cases where the ICRC has referred the matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing or to the Fitness to Practise Committee for an Incapacity Proceedings.