Medical Professionals Complaints - Overview

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Issues the HPARB Hears

The information presented here about the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) is intended to give an overview of the HPARB and how it holds reviews of investigations and decisions by self-regulated professions in Ontario.

This information aims to help people understand the HPARB's process, and to be able to make a complaint if they feel they have been treated in an unprofessional way by a member of one of the regulated health colleges.

You do not need a lawyer to have the HPARB review a decision by the complaints committee of a college. But if your issue is complicated or difficult to explain, you may want to see a lawyer before you begin.

Regulated Health Professions

In Ontario, there are 28 self-regulated health professions that have regulatory colleges. Everyone who is in one of these health professions must belong to his or her college and follow the rules on how they carry out their profession.  Find a list of the 28 Regulated Health Professions here

Each college must have a way of dealing with complaints from the public. Before anyone can take a complaint about a professional to the HPARB, they must first go through the complaint process at the college.  

For Example: a complaint against a doctor must first be sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The College of Physicians and Surgeons must investigate every complaint and must respond to every complaint in writing.  

If someone makes a complaint to one of the regulatory colleges about one of its members, and they feel the investigation done by the college was inadequate.or that the investigation resulted in a decision that is  unreasonable, the person can ask the HPARB to review the decision.

Will the HPARB work for you?

The HPARB’s Mandate

If you have made a complaint about a health professional to the complaints committee of their college, and you are not satisfied with the decision reached by the complaints committee, you can go to the HPARB for a review of that decision.

The HPARB is independent. Members of the HPARB are not government employees, nor will they ever have been a member of one of the colleges.  

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Issues the HPARB Hears

The HPARB can only consider two very specific issues.

  1. Whether the investigation of the complaints committee was inadequate/adequate.
  2. Whether the decision of the complaints committee was unreasonable/reasonable.

    What the HPARB Can Do  

    The HPARB review can have 3 different results:

    1. You win: This means the HPARB thinks the investigation of the college complaints committee was inadequate, or unreasonable. Your issue will be sent back to the complaints committee of the college, where the committee will consider it again.
    2. You lose: This means the decision of the college complaints committee remains the same.
    3. HPARB might, in some cases, make a recommendation to the complaints committee.

    What the HPARB Cannot Do

    The law limits what HPARB can do for you.

    The HPARB cannot:

    • give you medical advice.
    • examine patients or give a diagnosis.
    • make a finding of malpractice.
    • give a money award.
    • do its own investigation.
    • replace its decision for the one made by the complaints committee if it finds the complaints committee decision was reasonable.
    • make findings of fact.
    • make findings of credibility.

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