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Complaints

The College sets out and enforces professional standards of practise that midwives are required to adhere to in order to provide the public with safe, effective and ethical care. Professional misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of these standards and any other legal, ethical midwifery standard. You can read the College’s Standards of Practice here.  Our Professional Misconduct Guide provides a comprehensive review of what constitutes professional misconduct for midwives.

If you believe that a midwife has committed an act of professional misconduct, please contact the College and speak to our professional conduct staff.

1. File a Complaint
2. The Complaints Process
3. Alternative Dispute Resolution
4. The Complaints Process Flowchart
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Appeals

File a Complaint

The College’s complaints process allows a member of the public to submit a complaint about a midwife’s behaviour, conduct or practice to be investigated by the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).

To initiate a complaint against a midwife, please provide the following information in a written or recorded form, such as a letter, or audio or video recording:

  • Your full name
  • Your mailing address, email and phone number
  • Name(s) of midwife/midwives you are complaining about
  • Name of the midwifery practice associated with your complaint
  • Date(s) of the incident(s)
  • Description of events, and the details of the complaint in your words
  • If applicable, the name(s) of the hospitals or other health clinics related to your complaint

There are three ways to submit your complaint:

  • Submit your complaint as an attachment. Please include the information listed above, as well as any additional supporting evidence relevant to your complaint. You can submit your complaint on our secure deposit box by clicking here.
  • Submit your complaint by mail:
    • Professional Conduct, College of Midwives of Ontario
      21 St. Clair Ave E, Suite 303
      Toronto, ON M4T 1L9
  • Submit your complaint by email: conduct@cmo.on.ca. Please note that personal health information should not be submitted by email. If you would like to submit your complaint electronically the College recommends using our secure deposit box. If you need assistance with this, please call our Professional Conduct team at 416-640-2252 ext. 224.

The midwife will be notified within 14 days of the College processing your complaint. For a full overview of the complaints process please see below.

For additional support, please contact us at conduct@cmo.on.ca, or 416-640-2252 ext. 224.

The Complaints Process

After your complaint is received, a staff member will contact you within two business days confirming receipt. After this, you will receive documents in the mail to complete and return to the College. Once these are received, the College will gather the materials that are relevant to the investigation,  and these will be provided to the midwife for an opportunity to submit a written response. More information on the documents you will receive can be found in the Guide to Filing a Complaint.

The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) has the power to make an interim order at any time following the receipt of a complaint. The ICRC can make an order if it believes a midwife’s conduct exposes or is likely to expose clients to harm or injury.

The midwife’s submission and all of the other materials from the investigation are then provided to a panel of the ICRC that reviews your complaint. The ICRC is comprised of elected and appointed registered midwives and public members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The ICRC panel will use the College’s Risk Assessment Framework  to make a fair, consistent and transparent decision on your case. The panel could do one or more of the following:

  1. Take no further action, should the panel decide that the midwife met the standards of the profession
  2. Provide advice and recommendations to the midwife
  3. Require the midwife to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP) which can include courses, papers or chart audits
  4. Administer an oral caution, where the midwife appears before the panel
  5. Require the midwife to sign an acknowledgment and undertaking, which is a voluntary agreement between the midwife and the College to place certain restrictions on the midwife’s practise
  6. Refer specified allegations of professional misconduct and/or incompetence in the complaint to the Discipline Committee
  7. Refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee, should the matter involve an allegation regarding the physical or mental capacity of the midwife.

The panel has no authority to assess injury or award compensation to the complainant. That is the subject of civil court proceedings.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an alternative to the College’s complaint process. It allows for the complainant, the midwife, and a third-party facilitator to work together to create a resolution that satisfies all parties. With ADR, there is no formal investigation. The midwife considers the complainant’s perspective and provides an account of their conduct that was considered to be problematic by the complainant. The ADR process will only take place if both the complainant and the midwife agree to resolve the complaint through this process.

Many complaints are eligible for ADR, but the Health Professions Procedural Code states complaints involving alleged sexual abuse or matters that have already been referred to the Discipline Committee cannot be referred to ADR. The ADR Eligibility Policy further outlines the types of complaints that are not eligible for ADR.

Resolutions vary depending on each case, but they can include the midwife agreeing to engage in some form of education. In other cases, the midwife may apologize to the complainant.

Cases that go through ADR are often completed sooner than those that go through the formal complaints process. Resolutions must be reached within 60 days, with a possibility of an extension to 120 days.

You can find additional information about the ADR process at the College here in the College’s Guide to ADR.

The Complaints Process Flowchart

Click here for a larger version of the complaints process flowchart.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can make a complaint to the College?

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

Will the midwife know I made a complaint?

What does the complaints process look like?

How is a complaint investigated?

Is there a time limit to complain?

Will my information be kept confidential?

How long is the process going to take?

How will I find out the outcome?

Appeals

Both you and the midwife will receive a copy of the panel’s written decision in the mail. Within 30 days of the decision being issued, you and the midwife have the right to request an appeal of the decision to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). The appeal can be made to:

Health Professions Appeal and Review Board
151 Bloor St W, 9th Floor, Toronto, ON M5S 1S4
Tel: 416-327-8512      Toll-Free: 1-866-282-2179
Fax: 416-327-8524    Email: hparb@ontario.ca