(NC) Do you know what to do when you have a complaint about a healthcare provider? In Ontario, patients can turn to the bodies that regulate healthcare professionals.

There are 26 colleges in the province that hold over 300,000 healthcare professionals accountable. As part of that, each college responds to complaints about its members’ practice and conduct.

“Ontarians have the right to complain about regulated healthcare professionals and to have a transparent process for doing so,” says Shenda Tanchak, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario. “The colleges take all complaints seriously and have a legal obligation to investigate them to support public protection.”

Complaints can touch on a wide range of issues around a healthcare professional’s capabilities, safety and ethics. This can include concerns related to ignoring the rules or standards of practice for the profession, providing inappropriate care, inappropriate touching of a patient or client, and care that’s compromised because of a professional’s physical or mental condition.

Anyone can file a complaint to a college, including patients, family members, and colleagues or employers of the professional. There’s also no time limit.

The committees and panels that consider complaints include members of the public and members of the profession. The process is designed to be impartial. If a complaint is upheld, colleges have the power to impose the appropriate discipline, ranging from a warning to suspending or revoking a professional’s license to practice.

“College websites and staff can explain the standards that professionals must live up to,” says Tanchak. “The goal is always to ensure that professionals follow what’s expected to meet their regulatory and clinical requirements – and serve the best interests of their patients.”

Contact the relevant college for the complaint filing process. If you’re unsure a complaint is warranted, you can speak to college staff to learn more.

Find more information online at regulatedhealthprofessions.on.ca.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.