FAQ: The College’s Complaints Process

FAQ: The College’s Complaints Process

What’s involved in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers’ complaints process and how long does it typically take?

As part of its duty to serve and protect the public interest, the College is required to have a formal complaints process, which gives members of the public the ability to have their complaint about a member’s alleged conduct or actions submitted to the College’s Complaints Committee. The process ensures fairness to both the individual making the complaint, called the “Complainant,” and the College member who is the subject of the complaint.

What’s Involved in the Complaints Process?

Following the College’s receipt of a complaint, the complaints process typically involves the following steps:

  1. The Complainant can expect to receive communication from the College acknowledging receipt of the complaint and advising of the process that will follow.
  2. The complaint is reviewed and assessed to determine if it meets the prescribed legal requirements to be investigated. The complainant may be contacted to clarify their complaint.
  3. The member complained against is notified in writing of the College’s receipt of a complaint and is provided with a copy of the complaint form or a written summary of the complaint and is given at least 35 days to provide the College with a written response to the complaint.
  4. The College investigator will conduct an investigation into the matter, which includes gathering information about the issues raised in the complaint.
  5. The information gathered by the investigator is put before the Complaints Committee, which carefully reviews the information to determine the appropriate regulatory response.
  6. The Committee makes a decision, which may include taking no action with respect to the complaint; issuing a letter of concern to the member complained against; requiring the member to appear before the Committee to be cautioned or referring the matter to the College’s Fitness to Practise or Discipline Committees for a hearing

The Complaints Committee considers all complaints made against members; however, in accordance with the College’s governing legislation, not all complaints are investigated. The Committee uses its best efforts to dispose of a complaint within the timeframe suggested in the College’s governing legislation. However, this is not always possible, and investigations may take longer than this timeframe.

What Can Delay an Investigation?

  • The receipt of large volumes of documentation. It is always best to err on the side of submitting less documentation than more as the investigator will contact a complainant to ask for any information that may be needed for the investigation.
  • Lengthy allegations. It is best not to duplicate concerns and to limit concerns to those of the most importance.
  • Adding additional information/allegations during the course of the investigation.
  • Contacting witnesses.
  • Requests for extensions from the member and/or complainant.
  • Obtaining information from various sources

 For more information about the College’s complaints process, please visit our website.