Professionals should not go up against their regulator alone
The College of Naturopaths of Ontario is the regulator for naturopaths in Ontario. They:
- decide who has a certificate to practice as a naturopath
- handle complaints against naturopaths.
But your College does not work for you. In fact, the College can:
- deny applicant’s applications for a certificate to practice or
- suspend, revoke or place terms, conditions, or limitations on naturopath’s certificate to practice
If you plan to apply to the College or have received notice of complaint it is important that you have representation to protect your interests and defend your rights.
Our team of experienced lawyers can assist naturopaths of Ontario with matters including:
- Advising naturopaths on compliance with relevant legislation and standards
- Responding to complaints and investigations at the College
- Representing naturopaths at the Fitness to Practise Committee
- Defending naturopaths in hearings before the College’s Discipline Committee
- Advocating for naturopaths to resolve matters through the College’s complaint resolution process
- Representing naturopaths in appeals before the Divisional Court of Ontario
- Advising naturopaths on issues within their field including those related to licensing, privacy, confidentiality, and employment issues related to staff and contractors
Applying for a license or in a College’s language – a “Certificate of Registration” for either supervised or autonomous practise is a complex process.
The College of Naturopaths has certain requirements that must be fulfilled for registration including:
- Completion of a 4-year accredited program in naturopathy
- Professional Experience
- Completion of Entry-to-Practice Exams
- Additional Certifications (i.e. First-Aid and CPR)
Applications are screened by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), resulting in:
- Approval of the application and the applicant is registered
- The referral of the application to the Registration Committee for further review
If sent to review, the Registration Panel may then issue a decision of one or more of the following:
- Issue a certificate
- Issue a certificate upon the completion of a suggested education or training requirement
- Issue a certificate upon the completion of set examinations
- Deny the application
Our office can help you prepare this information and offer legal advice on concerns you may have. If you are planning to apply for a certificate from the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, contact us today.
The College accepts complaints from:
- Members of the public
- Clients of naturopaths
- Employers of naturopaths
- Other health care professionals
Members of the College, as well as facilities/employers of Naturopaths are required to file a complaint if there are reasonable grounds for findings related to offences, professional negligence or malpractice, or information regarding registration and conduct.
When a complaint is made by email, mail, or fax, it is first reviewed by the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, often referred to as the “ICRC”.
Once the complaint is received it undergoes the following process:
- A confirmation receipt is sent to the complainant within 3 days
- The member is notified and given a copy of the complaint within 14 days
- The naturopath is asked to respond to the complaint
- The naturopath’s response is given to the complainant, and they have the option to write another statement based on the response
- The ICRC then reviews all documents and information
- The ICRC may choose to conduct a formal investigation to collect more information or request an expert opinion
The ICRC then issues a decision which may include the decision to:
- Take no action
- Issue a letter counselling the naturopath
- Order the naturopath to complete an education program or appear before ICRC for a caution
- Refer the matter to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee
These outcomes can have very serious financial and personal impacts on members. If you have received a complaint from the CPO, please contact us today.
Complaints are referred to the Discipline Committee when the ICRC finds that a member has committed an act of professional misconduct or may be incompetent.
However, before a matter progresses to a hearing at the Discipline Committee a pre-hearing may occur. A pre-hearing is an opportunity for the College and the member to present their case in an informal manner.
In our experience a pre-hearing at a college can be used to:
- Reduce the allegations against a member
- Reduce the penalty being sought by a member
- Raise important legal issues before trial
A discipline hearing is a formal process conducted before a panel of the Discipline Committee consisting of naturopathic doctors and public members who consider the allegations, hears the evidence, and determines whether that evidence supports the allegations.
The Discipline Committee can order a range of penalties including:
- A reprimand
- Restrictions on the member’s certification
- Requiring the member to complete a specified education and remediation program
- Imposing a fine
- Suspending or revoking a registrant’s certificate
These are extremely serious public outcomes. If your matter has or could be referred to the Discipline Committee, please contact us today.
Fitness to Practise Committee
If the College is made aware of information or a complaint is filed suggesting that a practicing Naturopath is unable to adhere to the standards of practice set by the College due to a physical or mental condition or disorder, the matter may be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee.
If referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee, a hearing may be held to determine whether a Registrant is “incapacitated” and if so, what actions need to be taken to carry out the College’s mandate.
Outcomes at the Fitness to Practise Committee include:
- Revoking or suspending the member’s certificate
- Imposing limitations on the member’s certificate
- Attaching terms to the member’s certificate if they enroll in an assistance program to receive appropriate medical treatment
In our experience, a referral to the Fitness to Practise Committee can offer a number of benefits to members, because:
- Complaints are generally resolved in a more private manner as incapacity proceeding are strictly confidential
- The process is intended to help the Registrant regain their health to enable them to return to practice
However, it is unusual for members to be referred to Fitness to Practise Committees without legal representation. It takes experienced and detailed representation to present the evidence screening Committees, like the ICRC, want to see to consider a referral to Fitness to Practise. If there is a complaint against you, please contact us today.
Decisions of the:
- Registration Committee
Can be appealed and reviewed before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”).
Decisions of the:
- Discipline Committee, and
- Fitness to Practise Committee,
can be appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court.
Unfortunately, self-represented individuals are very rarely successful in appeals. We have unique expertise in appeals from regulatory colleges. If you are considering an appeal, please contact us today.