Conduct between Members and Complaintants during a College Investigation

Background

Occasionally, members when notified that a complaint has been made to the College, contact the complainant in an attempt to resolve the matter informally. Although the member’s intentions may be genuine, the College believes that this contact should not occur. By the time a complaint has been lodged with the College, the relationship between the member and the complainant has usually deteriorated to the extent that the contact may be misconstrued.

Policy

In the absence of express written consent from the Registrar, members are not at liberty to contact complainants, directly or indirectly, following receipt of notice that a complaint has been filed with the College.

Rationale

Once a complaint has been submitted to the College, a member who contacts a complainant, may be accused of:

  • interfering with the College’s investigation of the matter, and/or;
  • trying to intimidate the complainant into withdrawing the complaint.

Verbal contact particularly places a member at risk, as the complainant may use this conversation to add new issues to the existing complaint.

Scenario

Ms. Smith complained to the College that she was misled about the fee that Ms. Jones (the Massage Therapist) charged for a half-hour appointment. Ms. Smith understood the fee to be $20 per half-hour, however, when she received the bill she had been charged $30. Ms. Smith called the clinic and spoke with the receptionist who advised her that she must have misunderstood, as the usual fee was $30.

Ms. Smith then wrote her letter of complaint to the College. When Ms. Jones received notice of the complaint, she was shocked as this was the first she had heard of Ms. Smith’s concern. Ms. Jones immediately contacted Ms. Smith. Ms. Jones apologized for the misunderstanding and offered to accept payment of $20 for the service because she admitted that contrary to Standard 2 of the Standards of Practice, her fees were not posted in a visible place within the clinic and she did not obtain Ms. Smith’s agreement to a fee schedule. Ms. Smith then accused Ms. Jones of trying to buy her way out of the situation, and wrote a second letter to the College complaining about Ms. Jones’ professional conduct.

Conclusion

While Ms. Jones motives in contacting Ms. Smith were genuine, another therapist in a different type of complaint situation may not be. An individual submitting a complaint to the College relating to sexual abuse would be very distressed to be contacted by the therapist.

 

Approved: November 20, 1995 
Revised: November 19, 1999