As a regulatory body, part of the College’s mandate is to ensure midwives provide the public with safe, effective, and ethical care in accordance with the professional standards of practice that midwives must adhere to.
Professional misconduct is conduct that falls below minimum expectations of a midwife. The College’s Professional Misconduct Regulation sets out the specific conduct that constitutes misconduct and could result in disciplinary action by the College. The College’s Professional Misconduct Guide provides a comprehensive overview of what constitutes professional misconduct.
The Inquires, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC) is a statutory committee that investigates complaints and considers reports related to allegations of professional misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity. The ICRC is a screening committee for the Discipline Committee.
The College considers all information it receives about midwives to determine concerns about a midwifes conduct, but only the Discipline Committee can make findings of professional misconduct.
This page provides an overview of the ways that concerns and complaints about midwives can be reported to the College, as well as how they’re handled.
If you are seeking assistance or more information related to a professional conduct matter, please email the College at email@example.com or call 416.640.2252 (toll-free in Ontario 1.844.416.2252).
Midwifery clients, members of the public, and midwives have a right to report concerns and file complaints about a midwife’s conduct to the College. This means that some midwives will be the subject of complaints or reports at some point in their career.
Clients who are comfortable doing so are encouraged to discuss their concerns directly with the midwife or the midwifery practice before filing a complaint, potentially giving the midwife the opportunity to resolve any issues without the need to file a formal complaint.
However, if a client feels their best option is to address their complaint with a regulatory authority, they can contact the College. In its mandate to protect the public interest and ensure safe, effective, and ethical care, the College must address all complaints received about a registrant’s practice or behaviour.
The Registrar also has a responsibility and obligation to review information about a midwife’s conduct that is not a formal complaint. In these cases, the Registrar will consider whether it is necessary to take steps to address the alleged conduct or actions of the midwife.
The College recognizes that midwives may find it stressful when the College makes inquiries into a midwife’s practise, or when the midwife becomes the subject of a complaint or College investigation. We have published a resource for midwives who are the subject of complaints or investigations.
Resource for Midwives – Complaints and Investigations
Learn more about the complaints process: how they’re submitted, investigated, and resolved.
Concerns about the conduct, competence, or capacity of a midwife may be brought to the attention of the College outside of the complaints process.
This information may come from a variety of sources, including mandatory reports, other midwives or healthcare providers, or members of the public who do not wish to make a formal complaint.
In these instances, if there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a midwife engaged in professional misconduct or is incompetent, the Registrar may seek the approval of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) to appoint an investigator to investigate the concerns.
The midwife will receive notice of the Registrar’s report, and the midwife will have the opportunity to provide a written response to the College. The results of the Registrar’s investigation and the midwife’s response are considered then by a panel of the ICRC.
Mandatory and Permissive Reporting
Regulated health professionals, including midwives and those who work with or employ them have legal and ethical obligations to make reports to the College in certain situations.
Filing a report when required ensures that the College is aware and able to address concerns related to professional misconduct and capacity which assists the College in achieving its mandate to protect the public by ensuring midwives are providing safe and effective care.
What to Report
The College’s Guide on Mandatory and Permissive Reporting provides information about a midwife’s obligations for mandatory reports. You can also read below for some information on what information must be reported. However, the following does not include every obligation, and it should not be considered legal advice.
A midwife is required to immediately file a report to the appropriate regulatory college if they believe that another healthcare professional may have sexually abused a client. Facility operators have the same obligation. For more information on what constitutes sexual abuse, see the College’s Guideline for Reporting Sexual Abuse.
Termination, Suspension, or Restriction Reports
Any person who terminates, revokes, suspends, or imposes restrictions on the employment or privileges of a midwife for reasons of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity has a mandatory obligation to inform the College. This includes dissolving a partnership or association with a midwife, or where a midwife resigns or voluntarily restricts their practice or privileges in face of such concerns.
Midwives must self-report to the College if they:
- Have been charged with any offence in any jurisdiction
- Have been found guilty of any offence in any jurisdiction
- Have a finding of professional negligence and/or malpractice
- Have a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity or any similar finding, in relation to the practice of midwifery, or any other profession, in any jurisdiction
Permissive reporting refers to those instances where midwives are not required to make a report under legislation or common law but choose to do so. Midwives are reminded that bringing their concerns forward to the appropriate regulatory health college can assist in safeguarding the public and the public interest.
Failing to Report
The College considers failing to make a mandatory report seriously as it hinders the College’s ability to address concerns that pose a risk to public safety. The College may commence an investigation into a midwife’s conduct for failing to make a mandatory report. More information on the consequences of failing to make a report can be found in the College’s Guide on Mandatory and Permissive Reporting.
No action or proceeding can be brought against anyone who files a report in good faith.
How to File a Report
Please submit your report and all relevant details to the College by using our secure deposit box. If you have any questions, you can call 416.640.2252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will receive written confirmation once the College receives the report. You may be contacted by the College to discuss the information.
Will I Know the Results of My Report?
Not every report that the College receives requires the College to make a formal investigation of the concern. College will review the report, assess the level of risk the reported incidents could pose to the public, and determine if a regulatory response is required.
The College does not share the results of what action the College may have taken to address the concerns with a reporter (unless the reporter is the midwife making a report about themselves).
If a report results in action that requires public posting, the outcome will be published on the midwife’s Public Register page.
For assistance or more information on the reports process, email the College at email@example.com or call 416.640.2252 (toll-free in Ontario 1.844.416.2252).
Visit our Concerns and Complaints page for a more detailed explanation of the complaints process, including the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC)’s review process, the ICRC Risk Assessment Framework, and details of how referrals are made to Discipline or Fitness Practice.