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Complaints Trending Upwards

The volume of complaints annually received by the College continues to grow, a growth that is being experienced nationwide. Our volume of complaints has increased 30% over the last five years. The complaints investigated are increasingly complex with an ongoing rise in the number of allegations of sexual misconduct.

In regulatory circles, the volume of complaints is not considered a marker of quality of care across the profession, but rather a reflection of the public’s expectations of the profession. The dominant cause for this nationwide trend likely reflects the growing public call for more accountability from all institutions, including the medical profession.

2020 Statistics

Overview of Complaints

Complaint Statistics

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In regulatory circles, the volume of complaints is not considered a marker of quality of care across the profession, but rather a reflection of the public’s expectations of the profession.

Responding to the Challenges of the Day

The challenges of COVID-19 almost certainly contributed to the overall upward trend in complaints, bringing added frustrations to frayed nerves. However, there were only a few complaints directly attributable to the changes in practice imposed by COVID-19, with the public and the profession adapting admirably to such developments as public health restrictions and virtual care. We saw an increase in cases involving patients seen in walk-in clinics and in emergency rooms, perhaps a reflection of the shortage of primary care providers. These complaints typically involve an expectation that care in those circumstances would be comparable to a family medicine practice setting.

We are grateful to the physicians and members of the public who do this difficult and important work in service to the public and the profession. We are grateful for patients stepping forward to express their concerns to the College.

We have leaned into these challenges of the day operationally. We have invested in training on cultural competence and trauma-informed investigations. We have a public support advisor on staff, trained in social work, to liaise with complainants. We now have six full-time committees, including two charged with the responsibility of investigating cases expedited due to severity. We remain committed to responsive timelines and a fair, rigorous, and thorough process.

We are grateful to the physicians and members of the public who do this difficult and important work in service to the public and the profession. We are grateful for patients stepping forward to express their concerns to the College.

Complaint STATISTICS