REGISTERING A COMPLAINT AGAINST A LICENSED OPTICIAN
The mission of the College of Opticians of British Columbia is to ensure that Licensed Opticians provide safe and effective care. Should you feel that you have had an experience to the contrary, please let the College know. The College investigates all complaints related to a Licensed Optician's professional practice.
The College has limited legal authority or jurisdiction over optical stores, dispensaries, corporations or their non-optician owners or managers.
The College does not have jurisdiction to investigate concerns about business practices; financial matters (prices, warranty and refund); poor service, or the manners of the Licensed Optician (e.g. rudeness). These concerns should generally be referred to the manager of the optical store. You may also consider contacting the BC Better Business Bureau or the Small Claims Court.
WHO CAN FILE A COMPLAINT
Any person can file a complaint against an Licensed Optician registered with the College. Those who file a complaint are known as the complainant(s). There is no time limitation on filing a complaint with the College.
The College can only act on complaints when the Registrar receives a complaint letter in writing, either as a written letter, fax, or e-mail (Health Professions Act, s. 32 (1)).
Click here to download the Complaint Form and send to our office.ONCE THE COMPLAINT IS RECEIVED
All complaints are treated in a confidential manner.
The following are the steps involved in the complaints process:
1) Upon receipt of a complaint, the College sends a letter to the complainant to acknowledge the receipt of the complaint.
2) The College sends a letter to the Licensed Optician in question to notify him/her of the complaint, as well as a copy of the complainant's complaint letter. The Licensed Optician is asked to write in his/her response to the College within 14 days, with his/her specific response to the complaint letter and send copies of documentation related to the complainant.
3) The complainant's complaint letter and the Licensed Optician's response are forwarded to the Inquiry Committee of the College where the complaint is reviewed.
4) The Inquiry Committee determines whether additional investigation is required or whether there is sufficient information to reach a decision. The Inquiry Committee can do a number of things as part of its investigation, including:
- Getting clarification from both parties
- Inspecting products when applicable
- Interviewing and obtaining statements from witnesses or other persons
- Inspecting records
- Obtaining copies of documents
- Authorizing undercover investigation
The purpose of the investigation is to determine how the matter should be resolved. The Inquiry Committee does not conduct hearings and it meets in closed session (i.e.: without the complainant or the Licensed Optician being present).
In determining the outcome of a complaint, the Inquiry Committee should have regard to, among other things, the legal requirements of establishing professional misconduct or incompetence and the strength and quality of the evidence against the member who is the subject of the complaint.
Once the investigation into a complaint has been completed, the Inquiry Committee can make any of the following decisions:
Both the complainant and the Licensed Optician will receive written notification by registered mail regarding the outcome of the complaint. All information relating to the investigation and resolution of complaints is held in the strictest of confidence.
- Dismiss the complaint when appropriate and take no further action.
- Take any action it considers appropriate to resolve the matter between the complainant and registrant.
- Reprimand or remedial action by consent
- Refer a specified allegation of professional misconduct or incompetence against the Licensed Optician to the Discipline Committee.
APPEALING THE DECISION
Should the complainant be dissatisfied with the decision and reasons for the decision given by the Inquiry Committee, the complainant has the right to appeal to the Health Professions Review Board (HPRB) within 30 days of receiving the notification regarding the outcome of the complaint (Health Professions Act, s. 50.6). Contact the HPRB for the appeal process.
When a complaint cannot be resolved through the consensual resolution processes, the Inquiry Committee may issue a citation for a disciplinary hearing.
In these circumstances, the College’s Discipline Committee serves as the legal body reviewing the complaint, the investigative findings and the registrant’s response to such. At the hearing, the Committee is presented with evidence about the complaint and may decide to either dismiss the complaint or to take specific action as specified in section 39 the Health Professions Act such as suspending or cancelling the registrant’s registration or imposing fines.
Discipline hearings are open to the public, and all decisions are a matter of public record. To ensure there is adequate seating for all attendees, please notify the College at least 1 week before the hearing date at 604.278.7510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.