Making a complaint about a RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP
Anyone with a concern about the conduct or competence of a Registered Audiologist (RAUD), Registered Hearing Instrument Practitioner (RHIP), or Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (RSLP) may submit a complaint to CSHBC. Complaints must be made in writing to CSHBC and may be submitted through the following options:
- Use the secure Complaint Portal (after creating an account, which can be used to track your complaint)
- Use the secure Complaint Form (no account needed)
- Send an email to: email@example.com
- Send a letter or fax to:
- The Registrar
College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia
900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC, V6C 1S4
- The Registrar
You must provide your full name when submitting a complaint. The College is not able to accept anonymous complaints or complaints made by phone.
There is no statutory time limit on submitting a complaint.
What kinds of complaints are investigated?
CSHBC only investigates complaints that fall within our statutory mandate. The College’s primary purpose is to protect the public from harm. For a complaint to be accepted for investigation, it must relate to unprofessional conduct or incompetent practice by a RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP. Such conduct may include professional misconduct, sexual misconduct, or unethical conduct.
CSHBC is not able to address claims for financial compensation or administrative disputes between employers and registrant employees or between registrants.
Complaint investigation process
The CSHBC Inquiry Committee investigates complaints that have not been resolved by the Registrar.
The Inquiry Committee is created under the Health Professions Act (the “Act”), is made up of RAUDs, RHIPs, RSLPs, and public representatives, and is responsible for investigating complaints involving any of the following issues:
- A registrant contravening the Act, the Speech and Hearing Health Professionals Regulation (the “Regulation”), or the CSHBC Bylaws;
- A registrant failing to comply with a limit or condition imposed under the Act, the Regulation, or the Bylaws;
- A registrant’s professional misconduct, sexual misconduct, or unethical conduct;
- A registrant’s competence to practice one or more of the three professions that CSHBC regulates; and
- A physical or mental ailment, an emotional disturbance, or an addiction to alcohol or drugs that impairs a registrant’s ability to practice.
The nature of the Inquiry Committee’s investigation depends on the complaint. Generally, an investigator interviews the registrant, the complainant (the “respondent”), and any relevant witnesses. The investigator may also ask for additional information or documents from the complainant and/or registrant. Typically, the investigator will obtain client/patient records from the respondent.
Communications with the College, disclosure of information, and procedural rights
Submission of a complaint about a registrant triggers a statutory process that provides the respondent with procedural rights. The Inquiry Committee will typically disclose information about the complaint to the respondent during an investigation, including providing him or her with a copy of the complaint, as the registrant is generally entitled to receive the complaint, so that he or she has an opportunity to respond.
Complainants should also be aware that as part of any investigation:
- Information that you provide to the College in connection with your complaint, including correspondence and documents, and notes made by College staff about telephone calls that you make to the College, may be disclosed to the respondent;
- Information provided by you may also be disclosed to other witnesses, where this is considered necessary for the investigation of your complaint;
- The respondent may be asked to respond to your complaint;
- You may be required to provide further information relating to your complaint;
- The Registrar or the Inquiry Committee may obtain copies of records relating to your complaint; and
- An investigator may contact anyone who may have additional information as part of the investigation.
The Inquiry Committee will keep the information that it gathers confidential, except where it must disclose information as part of its investigation.
The College may provide the complainant with regular updates about the status of the investigation. Once the Inquiry Committee decides on a course of action concerning the complaint, the College will provide the complainant and the respondent with notice of its disposition.
Extraordinary action to protect the public
During an investigation of a complaint, or pending a discipline hearing, the Inquiry Committee may take “extraordinary action” under the Act and:
- Impose limits or conditions on the RAUD’s, RHIP’s, or RSLP’s practice; or
- Suspend the RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP.
Extraordinary action is taken only when it is considered necessary to protect the public before the matter can be fully investigated and resolved.
An extraordinary action does not resolve the complaint. The investigation continues with the limits, conditions, or suspension in place.
Options for resolving your complaint
The Inquiry Committee has four options for disposing of (resolving) complaints. The Committee may:
- Take no further action if the RAUD’s, RHIP’s, or RSLP’s conduct or competence was satisfactory, or if the information provided does not make a reasonable case for further action by the College.
- Act informally to resolve the matter between the complainant and the RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP, by taking any action the Inquiry Committee considers appropriate. For example, the College can caution a registrant, provide guidance, request that the registrant commit to remedial activities, or implement changes to his or her practice.
- Reach a voluntary formal undertaking and consent agreement with the RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP. Measures that may be required under a formal undertaking and consent agreement include reprimands, specified educational courses, limits/conditions on practice, and suspensions.
- Direct that a discipline hearing be held before the College’s Discipline Committee. A discipline hearing is a public process in which witnesses give testimony and evidence is submitted. Outcomes from a discipline hearing can range from a dismissal of the allegations to suspension or cancellation of registration.
If the Inquiry Committee disposes of a complaint but does not direct a discipline hearing, it will provide the complainant with notice of its decision and a written explanation. A complainant may then apply to the Health Professions Review Board (HPRB) for a review of a complaint outcome. If a discipline hearing is directed, the complainant will be notified, but may not apply for a review.
If the Inquiry Committee decides on a discipline hearing, it will direct the Registrar to issue a citation. The matter is then transferred to the Discipline Committee. This option is typically reserved for very serious matters where the Inquiry Committee has been unable to obtain a consensual resolution.
Discipline hearings are formal adjudicative processes before Discipline Committee panels, which consist of registrants and public representatives. If a hearing is set, the complainant may have to testify about the matters in the complaint.
The College may be awarded costs; however, it does not have authority to order a RAUD, RHIP, or RSLP to pay damages or financial compensation, or to compel an apology.
Visitors may attend discipline hearings.
Length of the process
The Inquiry Committee must resolve complaints within timelines set under the Act, which permits the Committee a maximum of approximately nine months (255 days) to resolve a complaint.