Once a complaint is received and reviewed, and it is determined to be in the jurisdiction of the Association, the member/student is provided an opportunity to respond. The Chair of the Ethics Committee will determine if a case should be opened and the investigative process started, or if the complaint should be dismissed.
An investigator is appointed by the Chair of the Ethics Committee. The investigator may require either party to the complaint to provide evidence and to produce records or information relevant to the investigation.
Failure to promptly comply with any request may result in the Association applying to the Supreme Court of B.C. for an order requiring the persons to comply.
Note that the investigator may share any or all information received with all parties to a complaint.
After completing the investigation, one of the following occurs:
- If the complaint is determined to be frivolous or unfounded, it will be dismissed and no further action is taken, or
- If the complaint refers to a clear and obvious violation of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct (Code), the member, former member, or student (respondent) will be disciplined. The respondent is advised of their right to refuse the decision and request that a panel hearing be called. If this request is not received within 21 days or the respondent accepts the decision, the decision will stand, the complainant is notified and a summary of the decision is made available to all members, or
- The investigator and the Chair of the Ethics Committee determine that a panel be called to hear the complaint.
The complainant and the respondent will be advised of the hearing date and that they have the right to appear at the hearing and to produce any documents and give oral evidence relative to the complaint. The investigator or a prosecutor shall present the complaint to the panel. The respondent and the investigator or prosecutor may request that witnesses be called to attend the hearing. The complainant or respondent may be represented by legal counsel.
After the hearing, the panel may, by majority vote, dismiss the complaint or find the respondent to be in breach.
If the panel finds the respondent to be in breach of the Code, disciplinary action will be taken and the respondent advised accordingly. The respondent has the right to appeal the panel’s decision to the Association’s Appeals Committee. Should no appeal be received within 21 days or the respondent accepts the decision, the decision will stand, the complainant is notified and a summary of the decision is made available to all members.
Upon receipt of a notice of appeal from the respondent (now the appellant) the Appeals Committee will schedule a hearing. The appellant and complainant are invited, and the investigator or prosecutor of the original complaint also attends the appeal.
At the conclusion of an appeal hearing, the Appeals Committee may:
- allow the appeal (dismiss the complaint)
- uphold the decision of the panel
- vary any order imposed by the panel
- direct the panel to reconsider the matter, or
- order that a new panel be called to hear the complaint.
If a member, former member or student is found to be in breach of the Association’s Code, the discipline imposed is limited to fines, costs, membership status and remedial actions. Our processes do not allow for remedies available under civil court actions.