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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Often, you and your doctor can resolve your concern without the need for a lengthy investigation.

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When the CPSO receives a complaint, we review it carefully before deciding how to proceed. For straightforward complaints, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may be an option.

Resolving a complaint with ADR is quicker than an investigation and you don’t have to wait weeks for a written decision. It also ensures the resolution is one you and your doctor have chosen together, rather than an outcome chosen by a committee. You can change your mind at any time during the ADR and proceed with a formal investigation. Here’s what’s involved in ADR:

  • The CPSO mediator will contact you to discuss your complaint and will notify the doctor. 
  • If the complaint is eligible for ADR, the mediator will ask you if you agree to the process to resolve your complaint without an investigation. 
  • If both you and the doctor agree, and the CPSO registrar approves the use of ADR, the mediator will work with you and the doctor to try to resolve the complaint.

What types of complaints can we resolve with ADR?

Straightforward complaints that are eligible for ADR include:

  • Some communication concerns;
  • Consent issues;
  • Access to or transfer of your medical records;
  • Practice management issues such as wait times and booking appointments;
  • Financial issues such as block fees, charging for missed or cancelled appointments or for completion of medical notes and forms; and
  • Some clinical issues, such as concerns you may have about assessment, diagnosis, treatment and/or follow-up.

What types of complaints can we not resolve with ADR?

  • Any complaint involving an allegation of sexual abuse. The CPSO always investigates these types of concerns.
  • Any complaint that we have already referred to the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal.
  • Complaints that raise serious concerns about a doctor’s competence, capacity to practise or conduct concerns such as criminal behaviour or boundary violations.

What kinds of resolutions can ADR reach?

After hearing the doctor’s response to your complaint, you may be satisfied and wish to resolve the case without any other steps. Or your complaint might be resolved by the doctor: 

  • Agreeing to make changes or improvements to their practice.
  • Agreeing to some form of education.
  • Discussing ways they might improve their practice with CPSO medical advisors.
  • Apologizing to you.

What happens if we can’t reach a resolution?

If you and the doctor are unable to reach a resolution within the required 120 days, the CPSO will investigate your complaint and submit it to the appropriate committee for a decision.