CPTBC regulates the physical therapy profession in the public interest. Its primary purpose is to protect the public from harm. As part of this responsibility, CPTBC responds to complaints about the conduct and competence of registered physical therapists.
Make a Complaint
If you have a concern about a physical therapist, you may file a complaint. Before filing a complaint you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the complaints process, the types of complaints CPTBC is authorized to investigate, and the limits of what CPTBC can do.
CPTBC cannot accept verbal or anonymous complaints.
There are areas that the CPTBC cannot address as these are outside of our authority. These areas include:
- Ordering a registrant to pay compensation or refund money
- Ordering a registrant to provide a specific assessment or treatment
- Providing advice on patient diagnosis and care
- Providing legal advice or assistance
- Addressing disputes related to business matters or employment disputes
To make a complaint about a registered physical therapist, complete the Complaint Form (PDF) or send a letter, email or fax that includes the information requested on the form to CPTBC at:
College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia
#900 – 200 Granville Street
Canada V6P 6G5
Fax: (604) 357-1862
As part of the complaints process, CPTBC will provide a copy of your complaint to the physical therapist and request a copy of your clinical records, if relevant to the complaint.
Video: How Complaints are Resolved by BC Regulatory Colleges
Watch a short video that explains the complaints process, produced for BC Health Regulators.
CPTBC’s Complaint Process
After receiving a complaint, either the Registrar or Inquiry Committee will investigate the matter. The nature of the investigation depends on the seriousness and complexity of the allegations. However, investigations typically proceed as follows:
- CPTBC will notify the registered physical therapist of the complaint and ask for their written response to the allegations. CPTBC will also ask the registered physical therapist for a copy of the complainant’s clinical records, if relevant to the complaint;
- CPTBC will provide a copy of the registered physical therapist’s response (including the clinical records, if relevant) to the complainant and ask for their comment or further information;
- CPTBC will obtain copies of relevant documents from the parties or others;
- If needed, a CPTBC inspector will interview the parties and any witnesses;
- Once the investigation is complete, CPTBC will compile the file and may prepare an investigation report;
- CPTBC will provide a copy of the investigation file / report to the complainant and ask for their final comments; and
- CPTBC will then provide a copy of the investigation file / report, including the complainant’s final comments, to the registered physical therapist and ask for their final comments or further information.
On receipt of the registered physical therapist’s final response, the Registrar or Inquiry Committee (as the case may be) will review the information to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations.
Neither the Registrar nor the Inquiry Committee can make findings of fact or impose remedial or disciplinary actions on registered physical therapists; that is the responsibility of the Discipline Committee. However, the Registrar and the Inquiry Committee may resolve complaints by taking one of the steps set out in “Possible Outcomes” below.
During the investigation, the Inquiry Committee may conduct a hearing to determine whether “extraordinary action” may be necessary to protect the public before it can fully investigate and resolve the matter. Such actions include imposing limits or conditions on, or suspending a registered physical therapist’s practice during the investigation or pending a discipline hearing. These measures are temporary and do not indicate that the allegations are true.
The Registrar may dismiss the complaint or request the registered physical therapist agree to measures that would address any conduct or competence concerns. The Inquiry Committee must approve the Registrar’s proposed resolution before it becomes final.
The Inquiry Committee may:
- take no further action, if the registered physical therapist’s conduct or competence was satisfactory, or if the matter does not warrant regulatory intervention;
- take any action it considers appropriate to resolve the matter between the parties;
- request the registered physical therapist agree to measures that would address any conduct or competence concerns. Such measures may include:
- an undertaking not to repeat the conduct;
- an undertaking to take specified educational courses;
- consent to a reprimand; or
- an undertaking or consent to any other action specified by the Inquiry Committee; or
- direct the matter to a discipline hearing.
CPTBC will notify the complainant and the registered physical therapist of the resolution and provide written reasons for its decision. All outcomes, except for the direction to send the matter to a discipline hearing, are subject to review by the Health Professions Review Board.
The Registrar or the Inquiry Committee resolve most of the complaints received by CPTBC. However, if the allegations are serious and there appears to be sufficient evidence to support same, the matter may proceed to a discipline hearing.
During a discipline hearing, a panel of the Discipline Committee will hear oral testimony under oath, which is subject to cross-examination, and receive physical evidence. The panel can make findings of fact and can order remedial or disciplinary measures. Outcomes can range from taking no further action to suspending or cancelling the registered physical therapist’s registration.
The panel will notify the complainant and the registered physical therapist of its decision and provide reasons. Discipline decisions are subject to review by the British Columbia Supreme Court.
The time needed to resolve a complaint depends on the nature and seriousness of the complaint, the time it takes parties to respond to information requests and the current caseload. It may take up to 12 months to resolve a complaint or longer if the Inquiry Committee directs the matter to a discipline hearing. CPTBC is required to update complainants on the status of the investigation at certain intervals; however, the parties may contact CPTBC anytime to inquire about the status of the matter.