Concerns & Complaints
The College of Dietitians of BC addresses complaints about registered dietitians. If you have a concern or complaint, please fill out our online form or call 604.742.6395, Toll-free within BC: 1.888.742.6395.
All concerns and complaints are legally required to be investigated by the College unless the complaint has been deemed trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith per the Health Professions Act.
Contact the College to discuss your concerns or complete the online form.
The College might request additional information to assess the complaint and proceed with the best way to resolve it.
The Registrar will deliver the complaint to the Inquiry Committee. The Committee will review and approve an inspection plan and appoint an inspector to investigate your concerns. Each inspection plan is tailored based on the nature of the allegation and how to best inform the concerns regarding the dietitian’s practice. You will be informed at a high-level of what the investigation will entail and expected timelines.
If the Committee judges that there is a high risk of harm, it can impose restrictions on the practice of the registrant until the inspection is completed (e.g. Not being able to practice Restricted Activities safely or not being able to see a patient/client alone in the case of sexual misconduct allegations).
The dietitian will be advised that a complaint against their practice was made and will be asked to respond to the allegations and provide any other relevant information regarding their practice. In most cases, a copy of your complaint will be shared with the dietitian. Alternatively and with your consent, a summary of your concerns could be shared with the registrant if the Committee is of the view that it will facilitate the investigation.
The inspector’s role is to gather factual evidence through different methods. It can include health records and scientific documents review, interviews, emails, written submissions and even practice observation. Some investigations may only include one step while others will include all. Some complainants may be asked to comment on the investigation findings while some may be not involved at all. This will be explained to you at the start of the investigation.
The Inquiry Committee will review the inspection report, decide if there is enough evidence to inform the claims and assess the risks. Based on these findings, the Committee will decide if additional action is needed. Decisions could include additional training, self-reflection and critical thinking, further evaluation, reprimand, fine, or immediate referral to a discipline hearing and the Discipline Committee. The decision is a contract agreed on by the Inquiry Committee and the registrant, and legally binds the registrant to remediate the risks identified.
If an agreement cannot be reached on the terms of the contract, the Inquiry Committee can refer the complaint to discipline. A discipline hearing is similar to a tribunal where the Discipline Committee decides if the registrant breached College standards and legislation. They can impose any sanction and decision that they deem relevant to protect the public.
The Inquiry Committee’s decision will be communicated to you, the complainant. The decision letter will include information regarding the investigation, the findings and reasons to support the Committee’s decision. If you do not understand the decision, you can contact the College to ask questions. If you do not think that the College’s investigation was adequate or that its decision was reasonable, you will have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Health Professions Review Board.
An outcome report is published on the College website with the information that the College is authorized to disclose based on privacy laws and the Health Profession Act.
Learn more about the complaint process:
What should I do if I have a concern about a dietitian?
If you have a concern about a dietitian. Contact the Registrar at the college at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604 604.742.6395, Toll-free within BC: 1.888.742.6395.
What is an RD’s obligation to report a practice concern with another RD (or other regulated health professional)?
According to section 32.2(1) of the Health Professions Act (HPA), if a registrant has reasonable and probable grounds for believing an RD is placing patients at risk, that registrant has a duty to report unsafe practice in writing to the CDBC Registrar. At times, RDs may observe unsafe practice by other regulated health professionals. If that occurs, RDs have a duty to report the unsafe practice to that professional’s regulatory college. The process for managing complaints is the same for all colleges regulated under the HPA although, depending on circumstances, the timing of some parts of the process may vary. Section 32.5 of the Health Professions Act provides immunity to RDs who make a complaint in good faith, which would prevent the person being complained about from seeking damages against the RD reporting the complaint.
Can I talk to someone about my concerns before I file a complaint?
Yes you may discuss your complaint with the Registrar who will assesses the matter and resolves it if possible (e.g. a problem of miscommunication between the client and the Registered Dietitian or an employer’s question about the Registered Dietitian’s registration status). The Registrar may choose, with discretion, to notify the Registered Dietitian that a verbal complaint was received and resolved. If appropriate, the Registrar makes suggestions to the registrant as to how to prevent repeat situations from occurring. When a verbal complaint cannot be resolved, the Registrar outlines possible options to the complainant. This may include discussing the issue directly with the Registered Dietitian, submitting a written complaint to the Registrar or leaving the matter unresolved. If the verbal complaint relates to a serious public safety matter, the Registrar discusses the matter with the Inquiry Committee and the Committee may decide to investigate on its own initiative (an “own motion” investigation).
How do I know if my situation warrants a complaint?
You can consult the College Standards of Practice, the Code of Ethics and the professional boundaries in therapeutic relationship program for more information. You can also contact the College to discuss your situation.
How do I make a complaint?
Email the college at email@example.com, call 604 604.742.6395, Toll-free within BC: 1.888.742.6395 or fill in the online form below.
All complaints are directed to the Registrar of the CDBC. The Registrar requires the name and contact information of the complainant, the name of the Registered Dietitian the person is complaining about (the respondent), where the dietitian works, and relevant details about the complaint.
Is the complaint process confidential?
The Dietitian will know who made the complaint about them because they get an opportunity to respond to the allegations as part of the inspection. For that reason, it is not possible to remain anonymous. Otherwise, all documentation is only shared with the Inquiry Committee, the Registrar and the inspector. The College is very sensitive to the nature of the information shared in the complaint process.
Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?
If you have witnessed a misconduct or an issue with the practice of a dietitian, you can complain about it even if you were not the patient/client. If you are the parent, guardian or legal substitute decision maker for someone, you can also make a complaint on their behalf.
How long will it take for my complaint to be resolved?
Timing will vary depending on the type of complaint, the access and volume of documents to review and the availability of the informants. Both the complainant and Dietitian are notified in writing about the progression of the investigation and the outcome of the Inquiry Committee’s investigation, including the reasons for the decision.
What kind of outcome can I expect?
The outcome of the Inquiry Committee’s decision is based on different factors but will be proportionate to the risk of harm to the public. It can vary from requesting additional training, further assessment, reprimand, fine or referral to a discipline hearing. Very rarely, restriction on practice can be imposed, suspension or cancellation of the license.
What is my role in the complaint process?
Your role is to provide factual information in writing to the Registrar and collaborating in the inspection process.
Who will see the complaint I submit?
The Registrar, the inquiry committee and the Dietitian you are complaining about.
What happens after I submit my complaint?
In order to assess the written complaint, the Registrar may need to contact you for clarification of facts. When a complaint is outside the jurisdiction or authority of the CDBC, the Registrar directs the complainant to the appropriate agency. As soon as possible after receiving a written complaint and clarifying the facts, the Registrar forwards a copy of the letter of complaint to members of the Inquiry Committee with an assessment of the complaint and recommendations for resolution. Past complaints against the registrant may be considered.
What if I want to withdraw my complaint?
Once a complaint has been made, the College is legally obligated to investigate. If you resolve your concerns with the Dietitian and the College is satisfied that risks have been mitigated, the complaint can be closed with no further action. But, if the Inquiry Committee still sees unaddressed risks, the investigation will continue to ensure the College meets its mandate of public protection.
What happens once a decision is made?
Both the complainant and the Dietitian are notified of the Inquiry Committee decision. If you are not satisfied with the process or decision, you can appeal to the Health Profession Review Board.
What if I am not satisfied with the College’s decision?
If you are not satisfied with the College’s decision you may make a request to the Health Profession Review Board (HPRB). The HPRB reviews the thoroughness and adequacy of the investigation and if the decision of the Inquiry Committee is reasonable. The HPRB reviews all written documentation of the investigation (including any additional evidence) to ensure that the College has all the facts. The HPRB may confirm the decision made by the Inquiry Committee, change the Committee’s decision, or send the matter back to the Committee for reconsideration with directions.
Concerns and Complaints Form
When the Standards of Practice and Indicators are met, members of the public and clients can expect a Dietitian to:
- provide professional services that are comply with legislation and organizational requirements applicable to their practice.
- provide services within the CDBC’s scope of practice.
- practice competently in their practice area.
- practice ethically.
- maintain clients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality and to comply with privacy legislation.
- obtain informed consent prior to the provision of professional services.
- maintain professional boundaries at all times.
- provide professional services that are in their best interests and to disclose any conflict of interest and provide options.
- communicate clearly, concisely, in a respectful manner.
- actively contribute as a member of the client’s interprofessional team for the provision of quality professional services.
- be informed of the benefits and risks of concurrent practice and, if continuation of professional services is not in the clients’ best interest, to be informed of reasons for discontinuation.
- respect clients’ unique characteristics and provide quality professional services in an unbiased manner.
- seek and interpret applicable information and use an evidence and practice-informed approach to provide services that are in the clients’ best interests.
- appropriately and effectively obtain assessment data, determine practice problems and plan, implement and evaluate professional services that are in the clients’ best interest.
- document communications and professional services in a clear, accurate and timely manner.
- provide effective services that also meet the organization’s needs.
- create any marketing/promotional communications in a professional, accurate and ethical manner, and to meet legislation and regulatory policies/guidelines.
Case Outcome Reports
Case#06-02 – completed June 2006
Case#05-01 – completed December 2006
Case#07-04 – completed March 2008
Case #07-05– completed May 2008
Case#07-03 – completed December 2008
Case #09-06– completed June 2009
Case #11-07– completed July 2011
Case#11-08 – completed August 2011
Case #13-09– completed December 2013
Case #15-11– completed May 2015
Case #15-12– completed May 2015
Case #15-13– completed May 2016
Case #16-14– completed June 2017
Case #16-15– completed June 2017
Case #18-18– completed May 2018
Case #18-19– completed May 2018
Case #17-17– completed May 2018
Case#18-20 – completed September 2018
Case #18-22– completed November 2018
Case#18-24 – completed January 2019
Case #18-25– completed January 2019
Case #18-23– completed February 2019
Case #18-26– completed May 2019
Case #18-27 – completed May 2019
Case #19-28– completed May 2019
Case #19-29– completed August 2019
Case #19-30– completed April 2020
Case #19-31 – completed March 2020
Case #20-33 – completed June 2020
Case #20-34 – completed April 2021
Case #20-36 – completed June 2020
Case #20-37 – completed June 2020
Case #20-39 – completed September 2020
Case #20-40 – completed December 2020
Case #20-41 – completed January 2021
Case #20-42 – completed May 2021
Case #20-43 – completed May 2021
Case #20-44 – completed May 2021
Case #20-46 – completed May 2021
Case #20-45 – completed July 2021