Once the College has received your complaint, an investigation will begin. You may be contacted to clarify your concerns. In most cases, a copy of your complaint will be forwarded to the dental hygienist, who will be given 30 days to respond. Usually, you will be sent a copy of the dental hygienist’s response so that you can, if you wish, send further comments or information to the College. The dental hygienist’s explanation may be enough to answer any questions you have and may resolve your complaint.
If the dental hygienist’s response does not resolve your complaint, the ICRC will continue with its investigation. If you are the client, the College may ask you to sign an Authorization Form to assist in obtaining your oral health records. Also, if the complaint is being filed by someone other than the client, the client’s consent is required for the College to investigate the concerns. The College cannot gather information about the client who is the subject of the complaint without their knowledge.
Even if you are satisfied with the dental hygienist’s response, the ICRC may choose to continue its investigation if it feels that it is in the public interest to do so. The College will keep you informed as the investigation proceeds.
Although the ICRC investigates most of the complaints received, the law permits the ICRC to decline to investigate complaints it considers to be frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith, moot or otherwise an abuse of process. This decision rests with the ICRC. Prior to making this decision, both you and the dental hygienist have the right to make submissions to the ICRC. If the ICRC is of the opinion that a complaint is frivolous, vexatious, etc., it will not investigate. Only a very small percentage of complaints meet the requirements for this exception.
The ICRC includes both members of the public and dental hygienists. For information about who is on the ICRC, please click here.
Neither you nor the dental hygienist attends the ICRC meetings. A group of the ICRC (a panel) will review the information received from you and the dental hygienist and will decide if they require additional information before making a decision. To do this, they may ask a staff member to obtain the information about the nature of the complaint, ask an expert to comment on the case, or ask that an investigator meet with different persons to help them understand what happened. If the investigator is appointed, he or she will likely interview you, the dental hygienist, and any other person who may have information relating to your complaint. Documentation arising from on-going investigations is confidential and cannot be used in civil proceedings against the dental hygienist.