File a Complaint
If you have a concern about the care or treatment you received from your doctor, we want to hear about it.
One of our most important responsibilities is to respond to concerns and investigate complaints about Ontario doctors.
Your relationship with your doctor may be one of the most important in your life. But that relationship can become strained when you have concerns about your doctor’s competence or behaviour. If you’ve had a worrisome encounter with an Ontario doctor, we’re here to help.
Before you make a complaint
Often the best way to get answers is to talk to your doctor or the patient advocate at the hospital where you were treated. You should do this before contacting the CPSO. If it isn’t possible, or you’ve tried without success to get answers, you can speak to us at 416-967-2603 or 1-800-268-7096 ext. 603 or send us an email at [email protected].
How do you make a complaint?
If you’re filing a complaint on behalf of someone else, submit both the complaint form and an authorization for representation form.
We’ll try to follow up with you within two business days. The doctor will be notified of your complaint and will have a chance to respond.
By talking with you and your doctor, we are often able to resolve the complaint in a way that satisfies you both.
What if I've been sexually abused by my doctor?
Coming forward with a complaint about sexual abuse can be very difficult. We can help you with:
- Answers to questions you may have.
- Information to help you decide whether you wish to file a formal sexual abuse complaint against your doctor.
- A list of community resources in Ontario for victims of sexual abuse.
What happens with my complaint?
- We notify the doctor of the complaint.
- An investigator gathers information about the issues you raised. They may interview witnesses, including family members, pharmacists, nurses, other doctors involved in the care, and hospital administrators. Their goal is to try to answer questions, address concerns, and clear up any misunderstandings between you and the doctor.
- Your doctor has a chance to respond to the complaint.
- The investigator then submits a report to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. They may ask for more information, including an expert opinion. You and the doctor will receive a copy of the Committee’s decision and its reasons.
- The College may or may not take further action. We may:
- Advise the doctor on how to improve their practice or conduct, or require remedial self-study.
- Come to an agreement with the doctor, called an “undertaking,” that they will improve or restrict their practice.
- Order the doctor to take specific courses to improve their skills or practice.
- Issue a formal caution.
- Refer the doctor for assessment if there are concerns the doctor’s health may be affecting their ability to practise.
- Refer the concerns about the doctor to our Discipline Committee.
How long does the complaints process take?
Our goal is to conclude your complaint within three to 10 months. You will receive the Committee’s decision in the mail two to three months later.
Is there a time limit to filing a complaint?
No, there is no time limit. But we do recommend that you tell us what happened as soon as possible after the event. By doing so, it becomes more likely that:
- Relevant documents will still exist;
- We’ll have a better chance of locating witnesses;
- Memories have not faded; and
- Evidence is not missing.