What happens after the written complaint has been sent to HRPA?
Once received, the information in the complaint is reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and, if necessary, the complainant will be contacted for clarification. In an effort to maintain full disclosure, once all information relevant to the complaint has been received, a copy of the complaint including supporting documents is sent to the registrant who is the subject of the complaint. The information sent to the registrant includes the name of the complainant but not their contact information.
The registrant is given 30 calendar days to respond to the complaint. The response must be in writing (letter mail or email) and submitted to the Office of the Registrar. The complainant is provided with a copy of the registrant’s response to the complaint (if any) and is given an opportunity to respond. This is not an opportunity for the complainant to restate their case, but instead for them to either refute statements made by the registrant, or address any new issue raised by the registrant.
The complaint and documentation are provided to the Chair of the Complaints Committee . The Chair appoints members of the Complaints Committee to a Panel to consider the complaint.
What process does the Complaints Committee Panel follow?
After reviewing the information provided in the complaint, the Complaints Committee Panel may decide that the matter requires further investigation. The Panel may interview witnesses to assist in the determination of facts or to bring clarity to the circumstances that initiated the complaint. The Panel may also engage an investigator to conduct an investigation on their behalf. The power and authority of an investigator is articulated in the Act.The Panel will provide their decision and reasons in writing to both the complainant and the registrant who is the subject of the complaint.
What decisions can the Complaints Committee make?
Once the investigation (if any) is complete, the Panel considers all of the evidence and may do one or more of the following:
Direct that the matter not be referred to the Discipline Committee
Take any action that it considers appropriate in the circumstances, including requiring the registrant to attend before one or more members of the Panel to receive a caution or admonishment
Negotiate a tentative settlement agreement between HRPA and the registrant and refer the agreement to the Discipline Committee for approval
Direct that the matter be referred, in whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee
Is there anything the Complaints Committee cannot do?
It is important to note that HRPA has no authority to provide a financial remedy to the complainant, therefore the Complaints Committee cannot award any damages. Additionally, the Complaints Committee cannot dictate whether an individual shall be rehired once they have been terminated by their employer.
If, at any time in the complaints process, the complaint appears to be frivolous or vexatious or otherwise inappropriate to investigate, the Complaints Committee Panel may decide not to investigate the complaint. The Panel will give reasons for this decision and notify the complainant of his or her right to ask for a review by HRPA’s Appeals Committee.
In extraordinary circumstances (for example where a complainant chooses not to proceed or is no longer available), HRPA’s Complaints Committee may continue to proceed with the complaints process.
Is it possible to appeal a decision of the Complaints Committee Panel?
If the Complaints Committee Panel does not direct that a matter be referred to the Discipline Committee, either the complainant or the registrant who was the subject of the complaint may request a review of the Panel decision by the Appeal Committee. The request for an appeal must be made within 30 calendar days of the Panel’s decision and reasons being provided to the complainant and the member. The decision of the Appeal Committee is final. Learn more about HRPA's appeals process.
How long does the complaints process take?
The timeline for the resolution of a complaint depends on the complexity of the case. Once all information relevant to the complaint has been received, the Complaints Committee Panel makes every effort to reach a decision within 150 calendar days.
How does HRPA ensure that complaints matters are kept confidential?
All members of the Complaints Committee and Office of the Registrar staff are bound by confidentiality requirements. Information regarding individual complaints cases provided to Panel members is destroyed when it is no longer needed.
However, it is important to note that if the decision of the Complaints Committee Panel is to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee, the information regarding the Discipline process and results are publicly available, but the original complainant’s identity is removed.
What happens if the complaint issue is before another adjudicative board?
HRPA may defer to the resolution of other adjudicated processes. Complaints may not be dealt with by HRPA while they are the subject of litigation and/or filed with an official legal body (e.g., the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal).
If HRPA defers to the resolution of another adjudicated process, we reserve the right to reopen any matter if there are issues not dealt with through the other adjudicated process. It is the obligation of the registrant to advise HRPA of the nature of any settlements.