Mediated Resolution Process (MRP)
As the regulatory body for the province's physiotherapy profession, the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario has a statutory responsibility to consider all complaints received concerning a physiotherapist's practice or behaviour.
The Mediated Resolution Process (MRP) is an alternative to the formal complaint process. MRP allows the complainant and the physiotherapist to work together to create solutions that satisfy everyone involved. The process is entirely confidential.
The goal of the Mediated Resolution Process is to resolve complaints in a manner that protects the public interest while giving all parties the opportunity to participate actively. This approach focuses on quality improvement and education.
Which cases are most suitable for the Mediated Resolution Process?
Many complaints about practice or conduct are eligible for resolution through Mediated Resolution Process. However, complaints involving sexual abuse, fraud, billing irregularities or criminal behaviour are not suitable.
How does it work?
Where it is identified that a matter may be suitable for the Mediated Resolution Process program, College staff, on behalf if the Registrar will invite the complainant and the physiotherapist to participate in the Mediated Resolution Process program. On consent of the parties a facilitator will meet with the complainant and the physiotherapist either separately or together. The facilitator is a neutral person who works with the parties in a respectful and confidential way to assist them in reaching a resolution that is mutually agreeable.
The complainant or the physiotherapist may discontinue the Mediated Resolution Process for any reason at any time. If Mediated Resolution Process is terminated, the complaint will proceed through the formal complaint process.
Any reasonable proposal may be explored and result in the resolution of a complaint, as long as everyone involved agrees.
Many types of resolutions are possible depending on the circumstances of the case. Some options for resolving complaints through the Mediated Resolution Process may include:
• a letter acknowledging the incident with an understanding of the distress it caused the patient/family
• policy changes or initiatives set forth by the physiotherapist or the employer that will serve to improve overall care;
• agreement by the physiotherapist to take a remedial course or participate in an educational session related to the issues brought forward in the complaint
• the physiotherapist apologizing to the complainant
Final resolution requires the parties to agree that the Mediated Resolution Process will bring closure to the matter. Everyone involved signs an agreement that specifies the outcome that has been agreed upon. Both the complainant and the physiotherapist are provided with a copy of the signed agreement. The agreement, together with the letter of complaint and any additional information, must be reviewed and approved by a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) before it can be confirmed. It should be noted that the ICRC is very supportive of the Mediated Resolution Process program and any resolutions that occur as a result of the negotiation between the parties.
While the Mediated Resolution Process is confidential, a summary that does not identify the parties may be published by the College to educate the profession and the public about the MRP process.
Things to Know About the Mediated Resolution Process Program
- The facilitator is a neutral third party retained by the College and not a staff member.
- College staff members are not a part of the mediation process.
- College Committee members do not participate in the mediation process.
- This is a voluntary process. As such both the complainant and the physiotherapist must agree to participate.
- This process is built on the assumption that the participants want to be involved, participate in good faith and are focused on achieving a resolution which is agreeable to both parties.
- The parties can withdraw their consent to participate at any time in the process. Where this happens, the formal complaints process will continue.
- What is shared by the parties during the mediation is confidential. This means that it is “off the record” and not to be disclosed elsewhere. This also means that information obtained during the process by the physiotherapist or the complainant cannot be disclosed or used in another process.
- In 95% of the cases, mediation will be done over the telephone either through a teleconference or individual discussions between the parties and the facilitator.
- This process can be scheduled according to the availability of the participants.
- There are no costs or fees associated with this process. The College assumes all of the facilitator’s fees.
- Where successful, the MRP program will likely result in the matter being resolved sooner than if the formal complaints process was followed.
- Agreements reached by the parties are presented to the ICRC for approval.
- The Committee will confirm their acceptance of the agreement by issuing a decision with brief reasons to this effect.
- Where the Committee decides not to endorse the agreement, the formal complaints process will continue. It should be noted that it would be extremely rare for this to happen.
- Decisions reached through the MRP program are still appealable to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. That being said, participants rarely appeal these decisions as they have been an active participant in the process and the resolution.
- Participants will be able to provide the College with feedback at the conclusion of the process in order to assist us in continuing to develop the program.
For further information please refer to section 25.1(1) of the Health Professions Procedural Code which is schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act or contact the Coordinator, Investigations at 416-591-3828 or 1-800-583-5885 extension 223.