Fitness to Practise
The Fitness to Practise Committee considers cases of incapacity that are referred by the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee. The Fitness to Practise Committee consists of members of the public and the profession; Fitness to Practise panels are appointed from the committee and must be composed of at least one public member.
Referral to Fitness to Practise
The Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC) may receive a complaint or Registrar’s Report which suggests that a midwife might be suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder and that it is in the best interests of the public that the midwife’s practice be subject to terms, conditions or limitations or that the midwife no longer be permitted to practise.
In such a case, the ICRC will make inquiries that may involve gathering documents and statements from practices, colleagues, and clients of the midwife or requiring the midwife to be examined by an expert who will submit a report to the ICRC. On the basis of all information collected, the ICRC may choose to refer the matter to the Fitness to Practise Committee.
A notation of the referral will appear on the College’s public register until the matter is resolved.
If there are serious concerns pertaining to the capacity of the midwife, a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee may make an interim order directing the Registrar to suspend or impose terms, conditions or limitations on the midwife’s certificate of registration pending the outcome of the Fitness to Practise hearing.
The Hearing Process
Fitness to Practise hearings are closed to the public unless the midwife who is alleged to be incapacitated requests that it be open to the public. The hearing requires the Fitness to Practise panel to make a finding on whether a person is incapacitated and if so, what order would be most appropriate.
Finding on Incapacity
During the hearing, the panel will listen to each party’s submissions and review evidence regarding physical or mental incapacity. They will then deliberate to decide whether the midwife is incapacitated.
If after the hearing, the panel decides that the midwife is incapacitated, then it may impose one or more of the following orders:
- Order a revocation – the midwife’s certificate of registration will be revoked.
- Order a suspension – the midwife’s certificate of registration will be suspended for a specified period of time.
- Impose a term, condition or limitation on the midwife’s certificate of registration – the midwife’s practise will be restricted for a specified or indefinite period of time.
Applications for Variation
A midwife can bring an application to vary a term, condition or limitation imposed on their certificate of registration anytime unless the order stipulates a specific time period for which the term, condition, or limitation must remain on the midwife’s certificate. In that case, the midwife can only bring an application for variation once that time limit has passed.
A decision of the Fitness to Practise panel on an application for variation can be appealed to the Divisional Court for judicial review within 90 days of being issued. There must be a question of law, fact, or both in order for an appeal to be granted. The court may affirm, rescind, or rehear the matter in whole or in part.
A notation of the appeal and its outcome will appear on the College’s public register.
Applications for Reinstatement
A midwife can apply for reinstatement after one year from the original revocation or suspension of their certificate. A repeat reinstatement application can be brought six months after the prior application. A panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee will hold a hearing to make its decision regarding the application.
A decision of the Fitness to Practise panel on an application for reinstatement cannot be appealed to Divisional Court.