COMPLAINTS PROCESS

The Discipline Committee of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition Alumni Association (the “Committee”) is committed to protecting the public and ensuring fairness to Members (the “Association”) against whom allegations of professional misconduct and incompetence have been made.

To promote fairness, efficiency and the timely determination of allegations of professional misconduct and incompetence, the Committee has established the following guidelines in relation to disclosure by the Association, production of records, conduct of discipline hearings or investigations, and timeliness for the issuance of decisions and reasons for the decisions.

REFERENCE TO OTHER ASSOCIATION POLICIES

 The Discipline Committee Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) shall be read and utilized in conjunction with the following Association policies and procedures:

  • Scope of Practice
  • Code of Ethics
  • Complaint Policy
  • Privacy Code

DEFINITIONS

In these Guidelines:

  • “Association” means the CSNN Alumni Association active members
  • “Board” means the CSNN Alumni Association’s Board of Directors
  • “Committee: means the Discipline Committee of the Association established by the Board
  • “Complainant” means a person who submits a complaint against a Member
  • “Complaints and Reports Committee” means the Board established Committee under the Complaints Process Policy for the purpose of handling complaints against a Member
  • “Investigation” means a thorough examination of a case by the Board or the Committee
  • “Member” means the Member who is complained against or is otherwise the subject of an inquiry, investigation or disciplinary process

STANDARDS

A Member shall exercise generally accepted standards of practice and procedures that are, in the judgment of the Board and/or Committee, consistent with a combination of:

  1. a Member’s professional training;
  2. current teaching in accepted educational programs;
  3. the Association’s Code of Ethics;
  4. the Association’s Scope of Practice;
  5. current research and thinking appearing in recognized professional journals and reports;
  6. customary practices generally evident among peers in Canada.

PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT

  1. The Committee may find a Member guilty of professional misconduct, incompetence or negligence if it concludes that a client suffered demonstrable harm or serious risk of harm which can reasonably be attributed to something the Member did or failed to do or failed to take into account, which act or omission was inconsistent with generally accepted standards of practice or procedures outlined in these Guidelines and cannot be justified to the satisfaction of the Committee.
  2. The Committee may find a Member guilty of professional misconduct for any of the following reasons:
    1. Exceeding the lawful scope of practice or generally accepted standards of practice;
    2. Failing to abide by any terms or conditions of the Member’s board certification;
    3. Purporting to have a qualification or special expertise which the Member does not in fact possess;
    4. Attempting to deal with a client’s problem which the Member recognizes or should, or should recognize as being beyond the scope of her competence or expertise;
    5. Failing to refer a client appropriately when the Member recognizes a condition requiring the attention of another professional;
    6. Failing to inform the Member’s employer of the Member’s inability to accept a certain responsibility in an area where specific additional training is required or where the Member does not feel competent to function without supervision or assistance;
    7. Failing to discuss appropriately with a client the plan for the services to be given;
    8. Providing a service without obtaining proper consent;
    9. Failing to reveal or explain the exact nature of a service provided, following a client’s request to do so;
    10. Failing to provide appropriate explanation, instruction or advice when assigning to a client a proposed protocol, including the use of a technique or substance, that is to be self-administered;
    11. Engaging in practice while ability to perform any professional act is significantly impaired by a condition of physical or mental illness;
    12. Providing or recommending service that is improper, unnecessary or cannot be reasonably expected to contribute to improving a client’s health;
    13. Wilfully breaching or failing to carry out an agreement with or commitment to a client;
    14. Abusing a client verbally, physically or emotionally;
    15. Sexually abusing or harassing a client, employee, colleague or other person in a practice setting;
    16. Practising under a conflict of interest;
    17. Failing to maintain current client records;
    18. Giving information regarding a client’s condition or services provided to the client to a person other than the client without the consent of the client or authorized representative, unless allowed or required to do so by the law or for a purpose directly related to the client’s care;
    19. Disposing of client records in a manner that does not preserve confidentiality;
    20. Advertising that is improper or misleading in the judgment of the Committee with reference to such written guidelines as may be developed; failing to inform a client, prior to providing service, of the nature and level of any fees to be charged to be charged to the client;
    21. Submitting an account or charge for services that the Member knows is false or misleading;
    22. Failing to itemize an account so that the client or other payer can clearly understand the value of the different aspects of service which were rendered; contravening of these Guidelines;
    23. Contravening a federal or provincial law or municipal bylaw or rule of a facility or program which the Member practices if the purpose of the law, bylaw or rule is to protect the health of the public or the contravention is significant to the Member’s ability to practice competently;
    24. Conduct or an act associated with practice which, in the judgement of the Committee without any negative vote, would reasonably be regarded by the vast majority of Members as dishonourable or seriously offensive to a client.

COMPLAINT AND INVESTIGATION

  1. A complaint against a Member shall be submitted to the Committee in accordance with this Guideline or as submitted by the Complaints and Reports Committee (the “CRC”) as outlined in the Complaints Process Policy.
  2. The Committee shall determine the substance and, to the extent immediately practicable, the background of the complaint and report the matter to the Member, Complainant and the Board as outlined in these Guidelines or in the Complaints Process Policy.
  3. When the Committee, on its own initiative or as a result of a complaint, determines that there is a cause for examining a particular alleged practice a Member, it shall launch an official investigation into the alleged complaint of professional misconduct.
  4. The Committee consists of three senior board members. The Committee may engage the assistance of other persons as the Board may authorize.
  5. The Committee shall conduct an inquiry to determine whether there is a cause for a full investigation. The Committee may or may not, as it judges most productive, inform the Member of the preliminary inquiry.
  6. If the Committee finds that there is not a sufficient basis for proceeding, it shall recommend that there be no further action.
  7. If the Committee decides that there is cause for full investigation, it shall inform the Member in writing and carry out a full investigation as it considers appropriate.
  8. During the investigation, and at the discretion of the Committee during the preliminary and/or full investigation, the Committee shall ensure that the Complainant and the Member are each permitted to be heard and to submit written evidence.
  9. The Member shall, if required, give full co-operation to the Committee, including provision of such records within the Member’s control as may be requested.
  10. Whenever it thinks appropriate, the Committee shall commend to the Complainant and Member the alternative of mediation ( that is, an effort to resolve the complaint, allegation or suspicion informally without further inquiry or investigation.
  11. If mediation resolves the matter, the Committee shall so notify the Board in writing in its quarterly reports to the Board.
  12. Where the Committee believes that the attempt to mediation is not, or is not likely to be, successful, or where the Board is not satisfied, the preliminary inquiry or full investigation shall proceed.
  13. The Committee shall keep records of information it gathers related to the complaint, allegation or suspicion in accordance with the Association’s Privacy Code and Record Keeping Policy.
  14. The Committee shall keep the records confidential and not give access to them to persons other than Committee and Board members, its advisors or agents, except with express consent of both the Member and the Committee.
  15. The completed file of a Committee inquiry, investigation and decision shall be kept for at least five years after the Committee’s on the matter, and thereafter at its discretion. However in the case where suspension or revocation of board certification results, the file shall be kept permanently.
  16. The Committee shall in writing report their findings of fact and conclusions of its preliminary inquiry and/or full investigation to the Board, and shall provide a copy to the Member.
  17. If the Board believes that the report of the Committee’s investigation does not warrant proceeding further with the disciplinary process, the Board shall in writing inform the Member and may, subject to the Member’s concurrence, dismiss the matter and proceed no further on it, and the Board shall so inform the Complainant.

REMEDIAL MEASURES AND PENALTIES

  1. Where it finds a Member guilty of professional misconduct, incompetence, negligence or failure to abide by the prescribed standards of the Association, the Committee shall determine a measure of remedy or penalty which it considers appropriate to the nature and degree of the failure.
  2. Without limiting the generality of section 20, disciplinary measures may include the following:
    1. A reprimand, whether oral or written;
    2. Direction that the person fulfil a specified continuing professional development requirement beyond the normal annual requirements;
    3. Suspension of Membership for a fixed period of time or until a condition has been fulfilled;
    4. Revocation of Membership; or
    5. A combination of any of the above measures.
  3. The criteria for the Committee’s assessment of the nature and severity of the penalty or remedial measure shall include:
    1. The extent of the Member’s awareness of the fault;
    2. The degree of risk or harm to the client;
    3. The potential further risk to the public; or
    4. The potential effect upon the professional service system and the public;
  4. The Committee shall keep confidential any investigation and disciplinary or remedial measures unless otherwise requested by the Member; however, the Committee may reveal such matters in any report on its operations, so long as this is done in such a way that the parties involved cannot be readily identified.
  5. Unless it has reasonable cause to believe that significant harm would result, the Committee shall inform the Complainants, if any, of the outcome of an investigation in at least general terms.

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. No action lies against the Committee or the Board, its members or committee persons acting in accordance with its directions done in good faith with respect to its functions under these Guidelines.
  2. A member of the Board or the Committee shall withdraw from any official involvement as a member or officer in any investigation, hearing or disciplinary action of which that person is the subject or where such involvement would create a significant risk of the person’s not making conclusions objectively.