Making A Complaint

The College of Dietitians of Ontario (the College) regulates the profession of dietetics to protect the public. Because responding to complaints is important for public protection, we investigate all complaints about a Registered Dietitian’s professional conduct, competence or capacity to practice safely.

Read the information below to find out how to make a complaint.
For assistance, contact

the Registrar & Executive Director of the College at 
416-598-1725 / 1-800-668-4990, ext. 228

HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT

  1. Your complaint must be sent to the College in a recorded format. You can make a complaint in writing (email or letter) or in any audio or video format.
  2. In your complaint, include:  the name of the dietitian, describe what happended, where the incident took place and who was involved.
  3. Include your name and your contact information.
  4. If the complaint is made by several people, each person is to sign the complaint and give their contact information.
  5. Submit the complaint to the Registrar & Executive Director of the College.
  • The College lets you know, in writing, that your complaint has been officially received.
  • The dietitian is given a copy of your complaint within 14 days of the College receiving it. After receiving the notice of complaint, the dietitian has 30 days to respond to it, in writing.
  • A Panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee is formed to oversee the investigation of your complaint and to ensure the investigation is fair and objective. The Panel is made up of Registered Dietitians and people appointed by the Provincial Government.
  • Your complaint is then investigated. In cases where the investigation involves more than interviewing the complainant and the Registered Dietitian, the panel will formally appoint investigators to interview others and access relevant records.

As the complainant, you have the right to:

  • Receive a notice from the College that the complaint has been officially received;
  • Participate in the investigation by:
    • being interviewed;
    • having an opportunity to comment on the member’s response to the complaint;
    • having an opportunity to comment if your complaint is considered to have no substance or no legal basis. A complaint is considered to have no substance or no legal basis when it frivolous or vexatious (intended to bother, annoy, or embarrass), is made in bad faith, or is otherwise an abuse of process;
  • Receive a copy of the decision made by a Panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee;
  • Apply for a review of the decision by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.
    • If the complaint is not resolved within 150 days, or,
    • If you are not satisfied with the decision.
  • Compensation for therapy and counselling, if sexually abused by a dietitian.

The Registered Dietitian named in your complaint has the right to:

  • Have a notice of the complaint within 14 days of the College receiving it;
  • Reply in writing to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee within 30 days of notification;
  • Seek legal counsel at their own expense;
  • Receive a copy of the decision made by a Panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee;
  • Apply to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board :
    • If the complaint is not resolved within 150 days, or,
    • If the dietitian is not satisfied with the decision unless the matter is referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee or the Discipline Committee. The dietitian cannot appeal the matter when it is referred to another committee.

A Panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC Panel) considers the complaint, the written response from the dietitian, and any other comment from the complainant.

An investigator collects information about the complaint. While the information gathered during the investigation is confidential, it is usually given to the dietitian or the dietitian’s representative for responding to the complaint.

Once the investigation of the complaint is complete, the ICRC Panel can:

  • Decide to take no action:
  • Refer the dietitian to the Discipline Committee for specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence;
  • Refer the dietitian to another panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee to consider incapacity;
  • Require the dietitian to appear in front of the ICRC Panel to be cautioned; or
  • Take any other action that is consistent with the Regulated Health Professions Act or the College’s regulations and by-laws, such as requiring the dietitian to complete a continuing education or a remediation program.

You and the dietitian will each receive a copy of the ICRC Panel’s decision and reasons, unless the matter is referred to the Discipline Committee or to the Fitness to Practise Committee.

Appealing a Decision of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee

If you are not satisfied with the decision of ICRC Panel, you may request a review of the decision by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.

The dietitian can also appeal the decision of the ICRC Panel by requesting a review by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.

When there is an appeal, all the information gathered during the investigation by the College must be given to the Review Board. Usually, the Review Board gives all this information to you, the complainant, and the dietitian for the appeal. It can also decide to keep some information confidential.

The Discipline Committee is responsible for holding hearings about allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence of dietitians referred by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. The Discipline Committee establishes a fair process for hearing evidence and taking appropriate action to address a dietitian’s conduct.

The hearing process and decision-making processes are in keeping with the Regulated Health Professions Act. A report of all discipline decisions is published in the College’s newsletter. Findings of professional College of Dietitians of Ontario Making a Complaint January 2015 | Page 4 misconduct or incompetence are also summarized in the Register of Dietitians, posted on the College website.

The Discipline Hearing

A discipline hearing is a formal process conducted in a setting that looks like a courtroom. The hearing is usually open to the public. The Panel of the Discipline Committee is composed of at least three people, and two must be members of the public.

The lawyer representing the College and the lawyer representing the dietitian present their cases to a Panel of the Discipline Committee. Evidence is presented to the Discipline Committee Panel under oath by witnesses and cross-examination is allowed. At the end of the hearing, the panel deliberates and makes a finding.

If the panel finds the dietitian guilty, it may:

  • Revoke the dietitian’s certificate of registration;
  • Suspend the dietitian’s certificate of registration;
  • Impose terms, conditions and limitations on the dietitian’s certificate of registration;
  • Reprimand the dietitian;
  • Require the dietitian to pay a fine to the Government of Ontario and/or some or all of the College’s costs for the hearing.

Appeals of the Discipline Committee’s decision may be made to the Divisional Court of Ontario.

If a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee suspects that a dietitian is physically or mentally incapacitated to the degree that the public may be harmed, they may refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee.

In the interim, the Committee can take action if it believes an urgent intervention is needed to protect the dietitian’s clients from immediate harm. In the interest of public safety, it can make an order to suspend the dietitian’s certificate or impose terms, conditions and limitations without advising the dietitian in advance.

The Fitness to Practise Committee and the Incapacity Hearing

The responsibility of the Fitness to Practise Committee is to make sure that all incapacity matters have a fair review. The Committee will appoint a Panel to conduct a formal hearing. The hearings are usually closed to the public unless the dietitian who is alleged to be incapacitated requests an open hearing.

If a Panel finds that a dietitian is incapacitated, it will take one or more of the following actions:

  • Revoke the dietitian’s certificate of registration;
  • Suspend the dietitian’s certificate of registration;
  • Impose terms, conditions and limitations on the dietitian’s certificate of registration for a specified or indefinite period.

Appeals of the Fitness to Practise Committee’s decisions may be made to the Divisional Court of Ontario

In the event that a Registered Dietitian sexually abuses a  client, the College of Dietitians of Ontario has funding available for that client for counselling and therapy. See links below for more information: