What happens when I file a complaint?
As with all complaints, your concerns are carefully investigated. The ADA&C investigator will likely interview you and other witnesses, if any. The investigator will explain what will happen during an investigation and answer all of your questions. Throughout the process, we will keep you up-to-date on the status of the investigation.
Once the investigation is complete, a decision will be made to either hold a hearing or dismiss your complaint. Again, your investigator will review all of this with you and the ADA&C has resources available to support you through this process.
What happens if my complaint is referred to the Hearing Tribunal?
Your complaint may be referred to a Hearing Tribunal for a hearing. Hearings at the ADA&C are much like proceedings in a court of law. If the Complaints Director refers your complaint to a Hearing Tribunal, the Complaints Director will present evidence before the tribunal consisting of three dentists and one member of the public whose role is like that of a jury. They will read and hear the evidence presented and make a ruling based on that evidence.
You will likely have to testify at the hearing and you are encouraged to bring someone with you for support. If you must testify, you will be questioned by the legal representatives for the ADA&C and the health care professional. You will also have the opportunity to make a Victim Impact Statement.
If the Hearing Tribunal finds allegations of sexual misconduct proven, the health professional will be suspended, and the timelines imposed will depend on the circumstances of the case. If the Hearing Tribunal finds the allegations of sexual abuse are proven, the health professional’s registration will be cancelled, and they will not be allowed to practice in Alberta for life.
The decisions of the Hearing Tribunal are subject to an appeal process whereby the Investigated person or the Complaints Director may appeal the hearing tribunal’s decision.
Hearings are open to the public and the media may attend unless the Hearing Tribunal orders the hearing be held in private or an application is submitted for the hearing to be held in private. The media can publish the name of the health care professional, but in cases involving sexual misconduct or sexual abuse the Hearing Tribunal is required may order a publication ban on information that could identify you if you request such an order.
Why should I tell the ADA&C?
The ADA&C relies on patients to tell us when things aren’t right with their dentist. That is what helps us protect you. Most of the time, we learn about sexual misconduct and sexual abuse from people who make complaints.
Everyone has their own reasons for contacting the ADA&C.
Incidents of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse often are not isolated. By telling the ADA&C what happened, you may also be helping others.