The Discipline Committee is composed of every member of Council. However, it is a committee that is distinct and independent from the College.
Fact Sheet: Discipline Proceedings
Rules of Procedure of the Discipline Committee
The College has a strong process for looking into allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence. The Discipline Committee hears evidence regarding cases referred by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee or the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.
Cases are referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing when the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) determines, after conducting an investigation, that there is no other recourse that would address the concerns that they have about a homeopath's conduct or competence.
If it finds the homeopath guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence, it can:
- Revoke or suspend the member's right to practise in Ontario.
- Impose terms, conditions, and limitations on the member's license (certificate of registration).
- Reprimand the member.
- Require the member to pay a fine to the Government of Ontario.
The parties in a discipline hearing are the College and the member. In certain situation, the panel may permit non-parties to participate in the discipline hearing. The College will be represented by a lawyer. The panel will have a lawyer, called an independent legal counsel, to assist the panel with legal and evidentiary matters. The hearing will be transcribed by a court reporter. Although it is not mandated, it is recommended that the member retain legal counsel to assist them at the discipline hearing.
To conduct a hearing, members of the Discipline Committee sit in panels. Each discipline panel must be comprised of at least three persons and not more than five persons -- of whom at least two are public members and one must be a homeopath member -- who are also members of Council.
The College must give full and timely disclosure of all matters that are relevant, including materials that may be helpful to the homeopath in question.
At the hearing, each side presents evidence under oath and witnesses are examined and cross-examined. The panel makes final decisions based on the evidence and submissions presented.
The panel decides (makes a finding) whether a homeopath has committed an act of professional misconduct or incompetence. If the panel makes such a finding, the panel will then decide the appropriate penalty. A panel can make any of the following orders:
- Direct the Registrar of the College to revoke the homeopath's certificate of registration,
- Direct the Registrar of the College to suspend the homeopath's certificate of registration,
- Direct the Registrar of the College to impose specified terms, conditions or limitations on the homeopath's certificate.
If a panel finds the homeopath has committed an act of professional misconduct, it can also make an Order:
- requiring the homeopath to appear before the panel to be reprimanded,
- requiring the homeopath to pay a fine of not more thant $35,000 to the Ontario Minister of Finance,
- if the act of professional misconduct was the sexual abuse of a patient, requiring the homeopath to reimburse the College for funding provided to the patient for counselling and therapy, and requiring the homeopath to post security to guarantee payment.
If the panel finds the homeopath has committed an act of professional misconduct by sexually abusing a patient, the panel must:
- reprimand the homeopath, and
- revoke the homeopath's certificate if the sexual abuse consisted of or included certain acts. Such a revocation must be for a minimum of 5 years.
The panel may also require the homeopath to pay all or part of the legal, investigation and hearing costs and expenses.
If the panel of the Discipline Committee determines that the member is guilty of professional misconduct or is incompetent, a summary will be posted under the member's profile on the public register and will be summarized in the College's annual report. A summary of findings for cases is available after a hearing has concluded and the appeal period has elapsed. To date, the Discipline Committee has not convened any hearings.
Appeals of decisions made by the Discipline Committee are dealt with by the courts.
The Discipline Committee also hears applications for reinstatement -- an application by a former registrant of the College whose license was suspended or revoked by a direction of the Discipline Committee to be reinstated as a registrant. To date, the Discipline Committee has not convened any reinstatement hearings.
The laws and rules by which the Discipline Committee conducts hearing are the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, the Statutory Powers Procedures Act and the Rules of Procedure of the Discipline Committee of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario.
For more information about the Discipline Committee, please contact the College at 647-749-9366 or by email at email@example.com.