The College appoints a Complaints Committee to investigate complaints made against optometrists. All written complaints are considered by the Complaints Committee. A Complaints Committee is comprised of two optometrists and one member of the College who is appointed by government and who is not an optometrist.
Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Complaints Committee will provide the complaint to the Optometrist complained against and ask the optometrist to respond to the complaint in writing. After the optometrist has responded to the complaint the Complaints Committee must decide if the complaint qualifies for mediation.
Mediation brings the complainant, the optometrist and an independent mediator together in a safe and controlled meeting. The mediation only happens if the complainant and the optometrist agree. The goal of the mediation is the resolution of the complaint. If the mediation is unsuccessful or if mediation does not occur the complaints committee will proceed to investigate the complaint.
The complaints committee will conduct a thorough investigation of the complaint (if it is not resolved at mediation). The complaints committee may dismiss a complaint if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or malicious.
If the committee concludes that an optometrist may have engaged in unprofessional conduct the complaint may be referred to a Discipline Hearing. The complainant may be required to give evidence at the Discipline Hearing.
If, after considering the evidence presented, the optometrist is found to be in violation of the Optometry Act, the Discipline Hearing Committee has considerable flexibility in rendering its decision. The Hearing committee may suspend, restrict or revoke the optometrist’s license to practice or fine or reprimand the optometrist.
The College does not have the authority to order compensation for any harm that may have been done. The College will notify the complainant, in writing, about the outcome of the complaint.
It may take several months for a complaint to be fully investigated. If during an investigation the College decides that the public is at risk, necessary steps to protect the public such as license suspension or restriction will be taken.