Since the pharmacy professional must be provided with an opportunity to fully respond to the complaint, your complaint cannot be anonymous.
The College investigates all written complaints received, however College staff cannot direct a pharmacy professional to provide a specific treatment or service. For example, the College cannot direct that a medication be dispensed or that a fee be refunded.
The College does not have jurisdiction to award damages or require a pharmacy professional to provide financial compensation. As well, the College cannot direct how pharmacy fees are set. If you are seeking compensation for harm caused, you may wish to speak with a lawyer.
It is not a requirement to obtain legal counsel for the complaints process. However, it is your decision to seek legal advice if you wish.
There is no time limit to filing a complaint. However, the College recommends you file your complaint as soon as possible so both parties are able to recall the events in question.
College staff fully and impartially investigate each complaint. The College may review medical records or seek information from the complainant (or the patient if another party has filed a complaint on their behalf), the pharmacy professional, and other healthcare professionals who may have pertinent information to share.
If you are comfortable doing so, we encourage you to discuss your concerns directly with the owner/Designated Manager or the pharmacy professional before filing the formal complaint to see if a successful resolution to the matter can be achieved.
Once a complaint has been filed, the College asks that the complainant and pharmacy professional named in the complaint refrain from any communication with each other about the matter. The College expects the complainant and the pharmacy professional to fully cooperate with the investigation.
At any point after a complaint is filed, you can request to withdraw your complaint against the pharmacy professional. All withdrawal requests are reviewed by the Registrar who determines whether it is in the public interest to grant the withdrawal of the complaint. If the Registrar is of the view that it is in the public interest to continue with the complaint investigation, the withdrawal request will be denied, the investigation will be completed, and the results of the investigation will be reviewed by the ICRC.
The Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC) decides the result of the investigation. This is a screening committee that is comprised of publicly appointed members of the College’s Board of Directors and professional committee appointees. Note that College staff are not members of the ICRC and therefore they are not involved in ICRC’s decision-making process.
There are a number of options available to a panel of the ICRC. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the panel can:
Note that under legislation, the ICRC cannot award the complainant compensation, damages, or refunds of any kind, and/ or request or direct an apology from the pharmacy professional.
The College posts information about concerns that are relevant to a pharmacy professional’s suitability to practice. The results of an investigation are public information when pharmacy professionals are ordered to complete a specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP), receive an oral caution from the ICRC, or when specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence against the pharmacy professional are referred to the Discipline Committee. Information about the SCERP, oral caution or referral to the Discipline Committee is public information and available on the Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional tool (our public register).
Note that complaints are confidential and while the results of investigations remain on the pharmacy professional’s file, some investigation results are not available to the public if they are not relevant to the professional’s suitability to practice. You can learn more about the public register and what information is made public and not made public on our “About Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional” page.
Either party has the right to appeal the decision and reasons for the decision to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). The only exception to this is if the decision is a referral to the Discipline Committee or a referral to another panel of the ICRC to conduct health inquiries.
The decision of the ICRC is not admissible in a civil proceeding pursuant to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
Complainants are not parties to such disciplinary proceedings. They do not direct the prosecution or make submissions separate from the College’s submissions. However, it is possible that the complainant may be called as a witness in the proceedings.