Part of belonging to a regulatory college means accountability to the public. The College of Naturopaths of Ontario takes seriously all concerns and complaints that are brought forward. Anyone – patients, family members, work colleagues, employers, etc. – can contact the College if they want to raise an issue about a naturopathic doctor's conduct or practice.
One way the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) protects the public is by investigating complaints about the practice of its members. That occurs through the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC).
Sometimes, the ICRC finds reasonable and probable grounds to suggest professional misconduct. In those cases, the ICRC may refer allegations to the College’s Discipline Committee for a hearing.
This is a critical aspect of self-regulation and maintaining the trust of the public. If a hearing results in a finding of guilt, the Discipline Committee can order a range of penalties, including:
- a reprimand;
- restrictions on a the member’s registration, called terms, conditions or limitations;
- requiring the member to complete a specified education and remediation program;
- suspending or revoking a member’s Certificate of Registration.
Although it is not a part of a penalty, a Panel of the Discipline Committee can order that the Member reimburse the College for part of its costs of the investigation, its legal costs and hearing costs. Where a finding of professional misconduct has been made that relates to sexual abuse, the Panel can also order the member to reimburse the College for funding provided to patients for counseling in sexual abuse.
Both the member ND and the College have the right to appeal a Discipline Committee decision to the Divisional Court of Ontario.