The Complaints Process 

The College receives complaints from members of the public. This can include patients, colleagues, family members, third party payors and others. Complaints can be made by contacting  the Associate, Professional Conduct at or 416-591-3828 ext. 227 or 1-800-583-5885 ext. 227. After you have made a complaint online, you will receive an email to confirm that your complaint has been received and a copy of the information you have submitted.

Complaints can also be sent to the College by mail:
College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
375 University Avenue, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M5G 2J5

Confidential fax: 416-591-7758

Formal Complaints Process

  • Staff at the College will contact the complainant to discuss their concerns
  • The complainant will then receive a letter from the College explaining the process and asking them to confirm that they want to go through the process
  • The physiotherapist is then asked to provide a written response
  • The documents are reviewed by a group of individuals who are members of a Committee called the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC). The members of the Committee include physiotherapists and members of the public who have been chosen by the government to represent the public. The Committee does not include staff members at the College.
  • The Committee may decide that they need more information to help them make a decision and they can obtain this information in different ways; one of which is to appoint an investigator.

Once they have all of the information that they need, they will make a decision which is sent to both the complainant and physiotherapist in writing. In most cases, if the complainant and/or physiotherapist has concerns with the investigation or decision they can ask the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board to review the matter. 

Access additional information about the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board.

Sexual Abuse of Patients

Sexual abuse of a patient is defined in law as sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the physiotherapist and the patient; touching of a sexual nature, of the patient by the physiotherapist, or behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the physiotherapist towards the patient. Sexual abuse of a patient by a regulated health care provider is not permitted.

The College may receive this type of information from the patient directly, a friend or family member, another health care provider or the employer of the physiotherapist. Each one of these concerns is thoroughly investigated. This can be very difficult for the patient in question and the College will do whatever it can to support the patient throughout the process.

In Ontario, each health regulatory College is required to have a program which provides funding for therapy and counselling for patients who were sexually abused by members of that College. The Patient Relations Committee Of the College oversees the funding.

Can’t find the answer you are looking for or need more information?

Contact the Associate, Professional Conduct at  
or 416-591-3828 ext. 227 or 1-800-583-5885 ext. 227.

Key Definitions

Regulated Health Professions Act:
The legislation which governs the practice of physiotherapists in Ontario. The second part of the legislation is called the Health Professions Procedural Code (Schedule 2).

The individual who files the complaint with the College.

The complainant and the registrant who are involved in the complaints process.


A group of individuals who are members of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee who are reviewing a given case.

Professional Misconduct Regulation:
The College’s Professional Misconduct Regulation provides an overview of acts that are considered professional misconduct.

Sexual Abuse of a Patient:

Sexual abuse of a patient by a physiotherapist means,
(a) sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the member and the patient,
(b) touching, of a sexual nature, of the patient by the member, or
(c) behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the member towards the patient.

Sexual nature does not include touching, behaviour or remarks of a clinical nature appropriate to the service provided.

Where a physiotherapist’s professional care of a patient displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment or disregard for the welfare of the patient of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the physiotherapist is unfit to continue to practice or that the physiotherapist’s practice should be restricted.

Where a physiotherapist is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that the physiotherapist’s practice be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the physiotherapist no longer be permitted to practice.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: PTs Asking about the Complaints Process