The College’s complaints and reports processes are an important regulatory tool the College uses to protect the public from unqualified, unfit, and incompetent social workers and social service workers.
Employers of social workers and social service workers may not be familiar with the College’s complaints and reports processes or aware that all members are held accountable to rigorous investigations and discipline processes. This is one of the ways the College protects the public and provides confidence to employers that members are committed to professional and ethical practice.
Through this introductory Employer Communiqué, we hope to shed some light on this essential regulatory function.
How the Complaints Process Works
As part of its public protection mandate, the College considers and investigates complaints about alleged misconduct by College members in relation to the care they provide or other aspects of the professional relationship. In accordance with the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (the Act), the College is required to have a formal complaints process, which enables members of the public who receive social work or social service work services to submit a complaint against a member of the College.
Filing a Complaint
The College’s Complaints Committee will consider certain preliminary matters to determine its jurisdiction over the complaint. Provided that the Complaints Committee determines to proceed, an investigation will be carried out.
The Complaints Committee reviews the results of every investigation to determine what the appropriate regulatory response should be. In all cases, due process is followed to ensure fairness and transparency.
For more information on the complaints process, including what kinds of decisions the Complaints Committee can make, download the College’s complaints process brochure.
The College may receive reports concerning social workers or social service workers from a wide variety of sources, including law enforcement agencies and the media. These reports may form the basis of a College investigation if the College’s Registrar has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a College member has committed an act of professional misconduct or is incompetent or incapacitated.
Under the Act, there are specific circumstances in which members and employers must provide a report to the College. The mandatory reporting obligations are not to be confused with the College’s complaints process, which is intended to be used by members of the public who receive social work or social service work services. For more information on the College’s mandatory reports process, please visit our website.
Stay tuned for the College’s next Employer Communiqué for more information on mandatory reports.
Ensuring Fairness and Due Process
The College’s investigations process can be a time-intensive and resource-heavy endeavour. In 2016, for example, the College’s Complaints Committee received and considered 61 complaints from members of the public concerning the conduct of registered social workers and registered social service workers. During this same period, the Complaints Committee issued 114 decisions and reasons and made nine referrals to the Discipline Committee.
“No matter the volume, the College works diligently to ensure every complaint is processed in a timely and respectful manner,” said Richelle Samuel, the College’s Director of Complaints and Discipline. “The College takes its public protection mandate very seriously and is committed to ensuring a fair and transparent process for all affected parties.”
For More Information
If you would like more information on the College’s complaints process, visit our website.