If the Complaints Director, after reviewing the complaint investigation report, determines there is sufficient evidence of unprofessional conduct, they may refer your complaint to the Hearings Director, who will schedule a disciplinary hearing with the Hearing Tribunal.
What is a hearing?
A hearing is a formal legal process used to resolve complaints and is conducted by a Hearing Tribunal. A Hearing Tribunal consists of members of the profession and members of the public whose role is like that of a jury. They will hear evidence presented by the investigated member, the Complaints Director of the College and witnesses.
The hearing process is similar to that of a court proceeding. There will be three groups of participants, who may all be accompanied by legal counsel:
- Hearing Tribunal
- Investigated member
- College’s Complaints Director
As a matter of process, a court reporter will be present to document the proceeding.
The investigated member and the Complaints Director may call witnesses to be questioned, under oath, regarding the allegations against the investigated member.
Note: The College recommends that the investigated person engage legal representation for participation in a hearing.
Hearings relating to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct
If the Hearing Tribunal is reviewing a matter that constitutes unprofessional conduct based, in whole or in part, on sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, the complainant will have an opportunity to present a written or oral impact statement before the Tribunal determines the penalty.
If the Hearing Tribunal finds the allegations of sexual abuse are proven, the Hearing Tribunal is required to cancel the member’s practice permit and they will not be allowed to practice for life.
A finding of sexual misconduct requires the Hearing Tribunal to suspend the member’s practice permit; timelines imposed will depend on the circumstances of the case.
In accordance with the HPA, a hearing will be open to the public unless the Hearing Tribunal accepts a motion or application to close it.
The decisions of the Hearing Tribunal are subject to an appeal process whereby the investigated member or the Complaints Director, on behalf of the College, may, within 30 days, request an appeal to the College Council.
Decisions of the Hearing Tribunal
Information about complaints received by the College is confidential unless sent to a formal disciplinary hearing. Under the HPA, the Registrar must release certain information when a regulated member’s practice permit is:
- suspended, or
- restricted with conditions.
This information will be included on the member’s record on the Public Register.
The Hearing Tribunal will make a ruling based on all evidence presented and will also determine the penalty as specified in the HPA. Penalties may include, but are not limited to:
- restrictions on a practice permit
- additional education
- monetary fines
- costs relating to holding the hearing
The College reserves the right to publish or distribute information about any discipline hearing not held in private to ensure transparency and accountability to the public.