Any member of the public can make a complaint against a dentist. It must be made in writing, online or in another recorded medium. It cannot be anonymous.
The parties to the complaint are the dentist and the complainant (person who filed the complaint). The College assigns an investigator to review the complaint and gather relevant facts and information.
RCDSO sends a copy of the complaint to the dentist and requests the dentist’s records, as well as a response to the complaint. The College also routinely asks the dentist to provide a verbatim typed transcript of their chart notes. Some dentists choose to retain a lawyer to assist with this process.
Some complaints are deemed eligible for resolution through the College’s confidential Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. ADR is used only if both parties voluntarily consent to participate.
All correspondence submitted by a party during an investigation is disclosed to the other party. Both parties receive a copy of the entire record of investigation once the investigation is complete and have an opportunity to submit comments. At that stage, a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports (ICR) Committee deliberates on the file.
ICRC panels are comprised of two dentists and a public member of Council appointed by the government. After deliberating on a file, the Committee may take any action it considers appropriate. The outcomes available to the panel are:
- Take no action.
- Provide the dentist with advice and recommendations.
- Ask the member to enter into a voluntary remedial agreement.
- Ask the member to enter into a voluntary undertaking to resign or to restrict his or her practice.
- Require the dentist to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP).
- Require the dentist to appear before the panel in person to receive a caution.
- Refer specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee.
- Refer the member to a panel of the ICR Committee for incapacity proceedings.
The ICR Committee does not have jurisdiction to order any financial compensation.
Unless the panel of the ICR Committee decides to refer allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Discipline Committee or to refer the conduct for incapacity proceedings, the panel must provide reasons with its written decision. A copy of the decision and reasons will be sent to the parties.
For these decisions, both parties have the right to appeal on the grounds that the investigation was inadequate and/or the decision is unreasonable. Appeals are heard by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, which is independent from the College and its panels do not have any health professionals on them.