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Filing a Complaint

The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (the "College") is one of Ontario's 21 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 their complaint investigated by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee ("ICRC" or "Committee"). Each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the person filing the complaint, and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist 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 Practitioner

Before you make a formal complaint to the College about unsatisfactory care, it is highly recommended you discuss your concerns directly with your Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. If you are unsure of the quality or appropriateness of care a patient has a right to expect from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, you can contact the College.

How Do I Make A Complaint?

A formal complaint must be sent to us in must be in writing (either by email, or by mail), on visual or audio tape, or on any other recorded formatwriting (c/o ICRC, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario, 55 Commerce Valley Drive West, Thornhill, ON L3T 7V9

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 Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist;
  • as much detail as possible about your concerns;
  • the names of other Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and/or Acupuncturists, health care practitioners or persons that may have relevant information.

You may choose to use the Complaint Form provided or provide a detailed description in writing in your own format. Once we have received a formal complaint, we will forward a letter acknowledging receipt of your formal complaint.

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 maintains that certain complaints must be made within a reasonable time frame.

Who Deals With The Complaints?

The ICRC will consider your complaint. The Committee consists of three Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturists who are elected to Council and three public representatives appointed by the provincial government.

How Does The Process Begin?

When the College receives your complaint, a copy is forwarded to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist has 30 days to submit a written response to the College. The complainant usually has an opportunity to review the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist’s response. Your name and the nature of your complaint will be shared with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, unless there is a question of personal safety or risk involved.

What Happens Next?

Investigation of the complaint includes written submissions from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist and any other Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturists or healthcare providers who have treated or consulted with the patient. The College may request relevant records, charts and other information from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, who has a duty to co-operate during the investigation. The Committee strives to complete the investigation and render a decision on every complaint within 150 days of having received the original complaint.

Can The Committee Award Money Or Damages?

The law governing health professions only permits the Committee to make a decision about the conduct and actions of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. The Committee cannot award compensation of any kind. Only the courts have that authority. If you are considering suing your Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist for compensation, be aware that there is a time limit for civil litigation. Your legal advisor can answer any questions that you might have about your rights to sue a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist.

How Will The Committee Deal With My Complaint?

There are a number of options available to the Committee under the RHPA including:

  • Taking no further action regarding the complaint.
  • Requiring the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist to appear beforethe panel to be cautioned.
  • Referring specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the DisciplineCommittee.
  • Referring the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist to the Fitness toPractise Committee for Incapacity Proceedings.
  • Taking such other action that the panel considers appropriate.

What Happens Once A Decision Is Made?

Once the panel of the ICRC reaches a decision, both you and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist will be sent a copy of the decision.

Is There An Appeal Process?

In most cases, there is an appeal process available that provides additional protection for both the patient and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. On request of either party, an arms-length provincial board called the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board may review the Committee's decision. The only exception to this right of review is in cases where the Committee has referred the matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing or to the Fitness to Practise Committee for Incapacity Proceedings.