Complaints about Other Professionals
We set out here how to make complaints regarding services received from other professionals. As with medical professionals, if you have a concern that involves communication, his/her conduct, or the services that you have received, you should feel free to openly discuss these issues with them. Here are the usual steps in the complaint process:
Step 1 – The first step in making a complaint is to speak to the professional involved if possible (NB – don’t settle and sign a release without getting advice).
Step 2 – Next, complain to the professional body for their profession.
Time Frame – There is no specific time frame within which to file a complaint. However, it maximizes accuracy and assists in the investigation process if your complaint is filed shortly after the alleged incident or improper service.
Illegal Conduct – if you think the professional has broken the law (e.g. – physical assault) you should contact the police or a lawyer (another lawyer in the case of lawyer illegal conduct).
Compensation for Damages – If you believe the professional has harmed you and you want to claim compensation, you should see a lawyer for advice on suing the professional. Note that there are time frames (limitation periods) for commencing a lawsuit against a professional – see a lawyer about this. Professional bodies don’t usually award monetary compensation.
NOTE – Even if you complain to their professional body, you can still take the other legal actions against the professional described above – seeing a lawyer or the police, or both.
Professional Organizations – We set out below the contact information and addresses for the professional organizations in BC. It is a good idea to call them and confirm their complaint process before you begin.
Complaint Letter – For most complaints, unless there is an online complaint form, we recommend mailing (and keeping a copy) or faxing a signed letter setting out:
- Your full name, address and telephone number
- The full name and address of the professional involved
- The issue(s) of your complaint
- The full name and address of any and all other professionals you consulted
- Any records you may have in your possession
- How you want your complaint resolved by the professional organization
- Your permission for them to send a copy of your complaint to the professional for their response
It is important to set out the facts relating to the incident, without involving personal biases. Details are critical in making a complaint, and precise documentation will also help ensure the matter is dealt with expeditiously. Keep in mind the “Who? What? When? Where? & How?” questions when drafting your complaint and assembling your documentation in support.
NOTE – You might consider getting legal advice before drafting your complaint letter.
Lawyer Referral Service – If you do not have the name of a lawyer, you can contact the Lawyer Referral Service, and ask for a lawyer involved in health law or medical malpractice. You will be entitled to a 1/2 hour consultation with that lawyer for $25 plus taxes. Note that after that half hour, the lawyer’s regular hourly fees would apply. You can reach the Lawyer Referral Service weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 604-687-3221 Toll Free 1-800-663-1919.