How toMake 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 dietitian’s professional conduct, competence or capacity to practise safely.

Read the information below to find out how to make a complaint and what happens after the College receives 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), audio or video format.
  2. In your complaint, include: the name of the dietitian, describe what happened, 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 must sign the complaint and give their contact information.
  5. Submit the complaint to the Registrar & Executive Director of the College.

College staff may be able to help you prepare your complaint or identify the relevant dietitian.

What happens AFTER the COLLEGE receives A complaint

 

The College ensures that the complaint process and outcomes are fair, consistent, and unbiased. We have a legal obligation to investigate a complaint and make a decision within 150 days. Investigations may require more time if they are complex.

Both the complainant (the person who has submitted the complaint) and the dietitian have the right to participate in the investigation and provide information for consideration. The College does not require it, but complainants and dietitians may seek independent legal counsel at their own expense if they choose. For dietitians, malpractice insurance may cover this.  Dietitians should consider discussing the matter with their insurance carrier if they are interested in having legal counsel represent them. 

Confirmation in Writing

The College will send the complainant confirmation in writing that their complaint has been received. In some cases, the College may ask the complainant to sign a summary of the issues for investigation. This helps ensure that we have accurately captured the concerns described in the complaint.

The Dietitian is Notified

The College then notifies the dietitian of the complaint within 14 days of receiving it. The dietitian has 30 days to submit a written response, which is usually provided to the complainant. Any reply from the complainant is presented to the dietitian for a final response.

Investigation by the ICRC

Following this initial investigation, a Panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) reviews all the information provided by the complainant and the dietitian. The role of the ICRC is to investigate and make decisions on complaints and reports. The ICRC investigation is a neutral, objective fact-finding process.

The ICRC is composed of members of the public and dietitians. College staff are not ICRC members and are not involved in ICRC decisions.

The timeline of the ICRC investigation depends on various factors, including the complexity of the complaint. The most important consideration is the level of risk a dietitian poses to the public.

Appointment of an Investigator

The ICRC may appoint an investigator if it requires more information before reaching a decision. The appointed investigator will contact the complainant and the dietitian to explain the process and answer any questions. The investigator may also interview the complainant and/or the dietitian about the concerns described in the complaint. Dietitians are required to cooperate with any College investigation; failure to do so could be considered professional misconduct.

The investigator may also contact any other individuals who may have relevant information or who could assist the ICRC in understanding the nature of the reported concerns. In some cases, investigations occur before the dietitian is notified of the complaint, to preserve evidence.

Investigators have authorities under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, and the Public Inquiries Act, 2009. These include attending a dietitian’s practice to examine evidence,  copying or removing evidence as needed, and requiring third parties and witnesses to provide information. All information obtained during the investigation may be used as evidence in proceedings before the College.

The ICRC's Decision

Once the investigation is completed, the dietitian receives a copy of the investigation report and has an opportunity to provide a final written response. The ICRC reviews the report and the dietitian’s response, and makes a decision. The ICRC can decide to:

  • Take no further action if the dietitian’s conduct or actions meet reasonable and acceptable standards of practice, or if there is not enough information for the ICRC to take further action.

  • Issue a written reminder or advice.

  • Require the dietitian to appear in person to receive an oral caution.

  • Direct the dietitian to complete a specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP).

  • Refer the matter to the Discipline Committee for allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence.

  • Refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee  or to another ICRC Panel to make inquiries into possible mental or physical health concerns that might interfere with the dietitian’s ability to practise safely.

Public Information

If the ICRC issues an oral caution, directs the dietitian to complete a SCERP, or refers the dietitian to the Discipline Committee, this information will be made available to the public on the Register of Dietitians,  on the College website.
 

Requests for an Independent Review

If either the complainant or the dietitian is not satisfied with the investigation or the final decision by the ICRC, they can request a review by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board, which is an independent agency.