Connecting the dots

A person complained to the Ombudsman about the wrongful apprehension of a child by a professional member of a regulatory college. The complainant also alleged the individual in question formed unfair opinions of the family member. The complaints review committee with the professional college dismissed the complaint.

The Ombudsman found the complaints review committee’s decision letter to be administratively unfair. The letter mentioned the complaint, but did not outline the complainant’s specific arguments, nor demonstrated how they were considered and weighed. Additionally, the statement by the complaints review committee – that it did not find unprofessional conduct – is not a sufficient reason on its own. Reasons should connect the committee’s conclusion to the evidence and relevant legislation. As it stood, there were no explanations shedding light on how the decision was reached.

The Ombudsman recommended the complainant be given a new opportunity to present her arguments in front of a new complaints review committee – and the review follow administrative fairness principles. The college agreed to a new review.

How is this fair for Albertans?

We were able to ensure the complaint-handling process of a college is administratively fair – and arguments are considered and fairly weighed. Furthermore, when colleges properly identify the type of unprofessional conduct, complainants can better understand what the college is focusing on. It is important the complainant be able to understand, by reading the decision, how the college reached its reason and what they considered in doing so.