As part of its duty to serve and protect the public interest, the College is required to have a formal fitness to practise process.

This page provides a brief overview of the College’s fitness to practise process. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and current, it is not intended to be an exhaustive summary. In the event of any discrepancy between this Web page and the Act, regulations and College bylaws, the latter will prevail.

For comprehensive information on Fitness to Practise procedures, please review Part III of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee hears and determines matters referred to it by the Complaints Committee, the Executive Committee or Council.

The Fitness to Practise Committee may, after a hearing, find a member of the College to be incapacitated if, in its opinion, the member is suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder such that,

  • The member is unfit to continue to carry out his or her professional responsibilities or
  • A certificate of registration held by the member under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act should be made subject to terms, conditions or limitations.

If the Committee finds a member to be incapacitated, it shall make an order doing one or more of the following:

  • Directing the Registrar to revoke the member’s certificate of registration.
  • Directing the Registrar to suspend the member’s certificate for a specified period, not exceeding 24 months.
  • Directing the Registrar to impose specified terms, conditions or limitations on the member’s certificate of registration. The Committee may specify the terms that it considers appropriate, including but not limited to terms requiring the production to the Committee of evidence satisfactory to it that any physical or mental condition or disorder in respect of which the penalty was imposed has been resolved.
  • Directing that the imposition of a penalty be postponed for a specified period and not be imposed if specified terms are met within that period.

Procedure on hearings

The College and the member of the College who is alleged to be incapacitated are the parties to the hearing.

Fitness to Practise Committee hearings are closed to the public unless the person who is alleged to be incapacitated requests otherwise. The Registrar must receive this request (in the form of a written notice) before the day the hearing starts. The Fitness to Practise Committee may deny the request that the hearing be open to the public if the Committee is satisfied that:

  • matters involving public security may be disclosed;
  • financial or personal or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing of such a nature that the desirability of avoiding public disclosure of them in the interest of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of acceding to the request of the person who is alleged to be incapacitated;
  • a person involved in a civil or criminal proceeding may be prejudiced; or
  • the safety of a person may be jeopardized.

Service of decision, reasons

The Committee shall give its decision in writing with reasons and serve it,

  • on the parties; and
  • if the matter was referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee as a result of a complaint, on the complainant. If the hearing was closed, the Fitness to Practise Committee may, in its discretion, withhold reasons when it serves its decision on the complainant.