Physician Complaints & Discipline Hearings

The CPSO (College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario) encourages a complainant and a physician to come to an agreement amongst themselves where possible, in cases of minor severity, such as communication, medical records, appointments, financial or clinical issues, etc. However, concerns around a physician’s competence, their professional conduct, and improper treatment of a patient, are unable to be addressed through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). For these cases, physician complaints are dealt with by the CPSO. The complainant fills out a complaint form, after which the CPSO notifies the physician, who is required to submit his response.

Following the initial complaint, a formal investigation is launched, which focuses on the gathering of any information relevant to the complaint. This entails multiple interviews with family members, hospital staff, etc., all of which is summarized in a report and submitted to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. Both the complainant and physician will receive word from the Committee on their decision following receipt of the report. 

The action the College could take, if it decides to take any at all, comes in many forms. The College could provide the physician with information as to how to improve their conduct, in the form of a reformative educational program, inform the physician that they must limit their practice, etc. Furthermore, in the case that the physician’s own health is the cause for concern, the College may send the physician for mandatory testing and assessment to evaluate their ability to practice. For the severest cases, the physician may be referred to the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal.  

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