The Inquiry Committee is appointed by the Council of the College as required by Section 114 and 115 of The Regulated Health Professions Act. The Committee consists of a Councillor who serves as Chair of the Committee, other members of the College (including practicing and recently retired physicians) and public representatives.
From time to time, matters are referred to the Inquiry Committee by the Investigation Committee under section 102(1) of The Regulated Health Professions Act.This happens when a matter is serious enough to warrant charges and formal disciplinary action.
When there is a need for an Inquiry, the Inquiry Committee Chair selects a Panel of three from the Inquiry Committee. Each panel is made up of two doctors and one public representative.
The panel holds a hearing at the College to decide if the physician, (physician assistant or clinical assistant) is guilty of professional misconduct. If the physician pleads guilty to the charges against them, the Inquiry consists of hearing the evidence and deciding what penalty or other order of the Panel is appropriate to address the findings made.
When the physician pleads not guilty, the Inquiry consists of presenting evidence and questioning witnesses, much like a trial in a court. Hearings are less formal than court proceedings and are open to the public unless there is a need to prevent information or a person’s identity from being made public.
What happens after the hearing?
If the panel finds the doctor guilty, one or more of the following may happen:
- Reprimand: a permanent record of criticism will appear on the doctor’s professional record.
- Suspension: the doctor will not have the ability to practise for a period of time. Sometimes the suspension is for a set period of time. It may also be for as long as it takes for the doctor to receive re-training, counselling or other treatment to address the cause of the doctor’s misconduct or deficiencies.
- Imposition of various terms and conditions: various limitations can be placed on the doctor’s certificate of practice (license).
- Fine or payment of costs: the doctor may have to pay for the cost of the investigation and hearing, and occasionally an additional fine will be required.
- Cancellation: the doctor will no longer have the ability to practice medicine in Manitoba.
Is it all public?
The College is required by law to make the decisions of the Inquiry hearing available to the public and is authorized to publish the name of a physician who is found guilty. We cannot publish the name of a physician who is not found guilty. We publish the decisions on our website. There may be some limits on the information that is published in order to protect various privacy concerns. The complainant is never named in any publication.
Can a decision from the Inquiry Panel be appealed?
Yes. The doctor or the College can appeal the decision to the Manitoba Court of Appeal.