Alternative Dispute Resolution
WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS?
As the regulatory body of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in Ontario, The College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (the “College”) has a statutory responsibility to deal with all complaints received about a member’s practice or behaviour. This is one of the ways the College meets its mandate to protect the public.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution process (“ADR”) is an alternative to the formal complaint process. ADR allows the complainant and the member to work together to create solutions that satisfy everyone (the complainant, the member and the College) involved. ADR is entirely confidential.
The goal of ADR is to resolve complaints in a manner that protects the public interest while giving the parties the opportunity to participate actively in the process. This approach is less adversarial and focuses on quality improvement and education.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When the College receives a complaint, it is screened to determine its suitability for ADR. If the complaint is found suitable, the College, together with the member and the complainant, explore the option to engage in ADR. Everyone must be willing to participate before the process can begin. Although most complaints that are referred to ADR will be referred at the beginning of the complaints process, matters can be dealt with through ADR at any time so long as they are still eligible for the ADR process.
A facilitator will meet with the complainant, the member and, in most cases, a representative of the College who does not provide support to the ICRC, to mediate the discussions, either separately or together depending on the wishes of the parties and the nature of the complaint. The facilitator is a neutral person who is not involved in the complaint in any other way.
The facilitator’s goal is to work with everyone in a respectful and confidential way to assist them in reaching a resolution that is mutually agreeable. ADR may be discontinued for any reason at any time although it is expected that parties will make a good faith effort to resolve the matter. If ADR does not proceed, the College will process the complaint as if it had not been referred to ADR.
WHICH CASES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR ADR?
Many complaints are eligible for resolution through the ADR process. However, the Health Professions Procedural Code, being Schedule II to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, provides that complaints involving alleged sexual abuse cannot be referred to ADR, nor can matters which have already been referred to the Discipline Committee. The College may also decide that other complaints are not suitable for ADR.
Many types of resolutions are possible depending on the circumstances of the case.
Some options for resolving complaints through ADR may include the following:
- a letter acknowledging the incident with an understanding of the distress it caused the patient/client/family;
- changes or initiatives set forth by the member or the employer that will serve to improve overall care;
- an apology by the member;
- an acknowledgement by the complainant that the member acted appropriately/did not act inappropriately; or
- an agreement by the member to take a remedial course or participate in an educational session related to the issues brought forward in the complaint.
Both the complainant and the member are provided with a copy of the signed agreement. The agreement, together with the letter of complaint and any additional information, must be reviewed and approved by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee.
The College retains information regarding complaints that have been resolved using the ADR option. A summary that does not identify the parties may be published by the College in CASLPO Today or on the College’s website to educate the profession and the public about the ADR process.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Director of Professional Conduct, College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario | 5060-3080 Yonge Street | Toronto ON M4N 3N1 | 416.975.5347 or 1.800.993.9459 | 416.975.8394 | www.caslpo.com