Alternative Dispute Resolution

How does ADR work?

The ADR process includes the use of a mediator, who is not an employee of the College or a member of a College Committee. The mediator will work with you and the practitioner involved to help reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement. An impartial College practice consultant may be involved if information about pharmacy practice is necessary.

Learn more about the benefits of ADR in this short, helpful video.

Where does ADR mediation take place?

Mediation typically takes place via telephone (either one-on-one or with both parties by teleconference). The mediator can also arrange an in-person meeting if requested.

What type of complaints can be referred to ADR?

Complaints that involve little or no risk of patient harm or to public safety are often suitable for ADR. Generally, cases involving communication concerns or minor practice issues are selected for resolution through ADR. However, not all complaints are suitable and the College will review each case to determine its suitability. The College will reach out to you if your case is deemed to be a potential candidate for ADR.

What happens if ADR is discontinued or is not successful?

ADR may be unsuccessful for a variety of reasons: a party can withdraw from the process at any time, the mediator or the College may choose to end the process in certain circumstances, or the parties may not be able to reach an agreement.

If the ADR process is unsuccessful or if the ICRC does not approve the settlement agreement, the complaint will proceed through the College’s formal complaints process. Any documents created during ADR will be sealed and will not be used in any other process and anything disclosed during the course of the mediation remain confidential.

What type of terms of settlement can the parties agree to?

It is up to the parties to determine how they wish to resolve the complaint and depends on the type of issue(s) involved.

The settlement could include an acknowledgement by the practitioner of the incident and their understanding of its impact on you, an apology by the practitioner, and/or an agreement by the practitioner to take an appropriate remedial or educational course relating to the issue(s) identified in the complaint. You, as the complainant, could also come to learn that the practitioner acted appropriately in the circumstances and acknowledge that no further action is required.

What happens after the parties agree to participate in ADR?

If a settlement is reached as a result of the ADR process, the settlement agreement will be reviewed by the ICRC to ensure that protection of the public interest is maintained.

The ICRC can approve the settlement agreement or reject it and start the formal complaints process by launching an investigation into the complaint. If approved, all aspects of the settlement agreement are enforceable by the College.

Is there a cost to me?

The College covers the costs and expenses of the mediator. Any costs incurred by the parties outside of the mediation (e.g. meals, travel, or accommodation, if applicable) are carried by the parties.

How long does the whole process take?

The length of the ADR process is dependent on many factors, including the number/complexity of the issues to be resolved and the availability of the parties. Cases that go through the ADR process are often completed sooner than those that go through the formal complaints process.

Will this form part of the practitioner’s prior history at the College?

Complaints resolved through ADR will not form part of the practitioner’s prior history at the College.

Note that a practitioner can only have one complaint resolved through ADR. If in the future, another complaint is filed against the practitioner, the complaint must be resolved through the College’s formal complaints process, and the ICRC will not have access to any information about the practitioner’s ADR case or its resolution.

Who can I speak with about the College’s ADR Program?

Please contact the College’s ADR Liaison at 416-962-4861 ext. 2215 or 1-800-220-1921 ext. 2215. Alternatively, you can email