Note: This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 edition of our On Call newsletter and has not been updated.
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.
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.
Complaints and Investigations
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.
Concerns about the conduct, competence, or capacity of a midwife may be brought to the attention of the College outside of the complaints process. The Registrar has a responsibility and obligation to review information about a midwife’s conduct that is not a formal complaint. This includes receiving reports from midwives and other health professionals. 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 practice, 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.
Read the College’s Resource for Midwives – Complaints and Investigations for more information on what midwives can expect should they be the subject of a complaint or investigation.