The Complaints Process


The mandate of the complaints process is to review complaints and, where appropriate, make findings and recommendations to improve a physician's practice by raising awareness and providing educational advice. The complaints process does not have the authority to impose sanctions, discipline a physician, remove a physician’s licence or award financial compensation.  Matters found to involve unprofessional conduct or that fall substantially below the expected standard of care may be referred by the complaints process to the Registrar and governing Council of the College for review and consideration of further action.   More information

For complaints regarding healthcare professionals who are not physicians, please  contact the appropriate regulatory organisation listed on the website of the Network of Inter-professional Regulatory Organizations.

Filing Your Complaint

If you decide to proceed with a formal complaint, the College can assist you in understanding the complaints process, advise you on what information is required, and send you the necessary forms for completion.  For more information, write to or call toll free 1 (800) 667-1668.

To initiate a complaint with the College, please complete this Complaint Reporting Form, print out, sign and mail, e-mail, or fax to the address provided in the form. Please ask for assistance in French if required.

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Handling Your Complaint

In order to fulfill its regulatory mandate, the College is entitled through legislation to access patient records in order to review complaints or to evaluate the quality of care provided by a College registrant. In the absence of specific direction to the contrary, it is the College’s position that consent to access patients’ personal records is implied when the patient initiates a complaint and asks the College to adjudicate the matter.

Reviewing Your Complaint

Once the College has received all the relevant information from you, the physician(s) involved, the physicians(s) office and chart notes, the hospital(s), and/or other physicians, the complete file will be reviewed by the College’s Quality of Care Advisory Committee (QCAC). 

The Quality of Care Advisory Committee consists of three physicians and three non-medical members. Its role is to determine whether a complaint is founded or unfounded, and to provide educational feedback to the complainant and the physician(s).

The review process requires time; however, the College tries to resolve complaints within 120 days. 

Responding to Your Complaint

Upon completion of the investigation, you and the physician(s) involved will receive a written explanation of the Committee's review and opinion in response to your complaint. This explanation will include a summary of the physician's response, a description of other information considered, and an opinion, along with reasons for that opinion.

Appealing Your Complaint

Complainants or physicians who feel the principles of natural justice and fairness were not adhered to in the review of a complaint and violated the principles in Council Policy GP-14 can appeal a decision made by the Quality of Care Advisory Committee. Appeals are submitted to the Registrar of the College who presents them to the governing Council of the College.

The Council is comprised of 18 members, 12 elected physicians, the Dean of Medicine, and 5 non-medical members of the public appointed by the Minister of Health.  Each member of Council reviews all documentation related to the complaint, including the correspondence sent to the complainant and the physician indicating how the Quality of Care Advisory Committee arrived at its finding.

If it concludes that rules of the process were violated, including violation of the principles of natural justice or fairness, the Council can agree or disagree with the finding, alter the finding by substituting its own decision, or refer the complaint back to the Registrar or the Quality of Care Advisory Committee.

Once Council has concluded its deliberations, the complainant is advised in writing of the outcome.

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