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When a hearing is adjourned, it will start or resume on a later date. Back to Top

Agreed statement of facts
Where CPSO and a physician agree about some or all the facts of a case, they may prepare a statement in advance of the hearing, where they set out the facts that are not in dispute. There may be an agreed statement of facts about the merits, the penalty, or both. The Tribunal almost always accepts these facts as true. Back to Top

The allegations CPSO makes are its claims the physician did something wrong. An allegation usually says the physician committed an act of professional misconduct, then goes on to say how. The College may also allege that a physician is incompetent. Back to Top

Argument (submissions)
Once the parties finish providing evidence in a hearing or on a motion, each party then tells the panel members what decision they think the panel should make and why. This part of the hearing is often called “argument” or “submissions.” Back to Top

Certificate of registration
When a person meets all the requirements to qualify as a physician in Ontario, CPSO issues them a certificate of registration, which is their licence to practise medicine in the province. Back to Top

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO or College)
CPSO regulates the practice of medicine in Ontario and physicians must be members to practise medicine in the province. The College conducts investigations that may lead to a physician being referred to OPSDT for a hearing on professional misconduct or incompetence. CPSO is always one of the two parties in a Tribunal hearing and is sometimes called the “prosecution.” Back to Top

The member of the public whose complaint was considered by ICRC when deciding to refer allegations to the Tribunal is called the “complainant.” The complainant may attend the hearing — unless the Tribunal makes a witness exclusion order — and may be a witness for CPSO, but, unless the Tribunal allows it, cannot otherwise participate in the hearing. Back to Top

If a hearing on professional misconduct or incompetence is contested, the parties do not agree on some or all the issues - merits, penalty and/or costs - the panel will decide. Back to Top

The panel may order the physician to pay all or part of the costs of holding the hearing. The Tribunal may also order CPSO to pay costs to a physician if it decides the proceeding was unwarranted. Back to Top

Exclusion of witnesses (Witness exclusion order)
When a witness exclusion order is made witnesses may not watch the hearing before they testify. Back to Top

Expert witness
An expert witness provides opinion evidence based on their specialized training and experience. Back to Top

A finding is when the panel decides whether the physician has committed an act of professional misconduct or is incompetent. Back to Top

The hearing is where the Tribunal listens to evidence and submissions from the parties to reach its decision. It is like a trial. Back to Top

Incompetent / incompetence
The legal definition of incompetence is that a physician’s “professional care of a patient displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the member is unfit to continue to practise or that the member’s practice should be restricted.” Back to Top

Interim suspension
An interim suspension is a suspension (see below) the Tribunal must impose in some cases after making its merits decision. The interim suspension lasts until the Tribunal holds its penalty hearing and announces its decision. The ICRC deals with issues of interim suspension in other circumstances. Back to Top

Investigation, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC)
The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario investigates complaints and reports about physicians. It may refer specific allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the Tribunal. Back to Top

Joint submission on penalty
When the parties agree about the penalty, they may present their proposed joint submission on penalty to the Tribunal at the penalty hearing. Back to Top

See Professional misconduct. Back to Top

In a hearing, an order is the formal document where the Tribunal sets out its finding and all the components of any penalty and costs it is imposing. In a motion, the Tribunal’s order will either grant or dismiss the relief sought. Back to Top

Party / parties
The parties to a Tribunal proceeding are the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO or College) and the physician. The College is always represented by a lawyer. The physician is usually represented by a lawyer but may chose to self-represent. Back to Top

A penalty is the order the Tribunal imposes on a physician for an act of professional misconduct. Back to Top

Professional misconduct
Misconduct means behaviour that is improper or unacceptable. When a physician commits professional misconduct, they have done something or failed to do something that goes against the rules and expectations of the profession. Examples of professional misconduct are set out in legislation. Back to Top

When a physician’s certificate of registration is reinstated, the physician’s permission to practise medicine is restored. Back to Top

In a reprimand, the panel speaks directly to the physician about their wrongdoing. Back to Top

Revoke / revocation
When a physician’s certificate of registration is revoked, the physician can no longer practise medicine in Ontario. Back to Top

Submissions (argument)
See argument. Back to Top

Suspension (see also Interim suspension)
When a physician is suspended from practice, they are not allowed to practise medicine for a specific length of time. Back to Top

Terms, conditions and limitations
Terms, conditions and limitations are restrictions the Tribunal can place on the physician’s practice. For example, the physician may not be allowed to treat anyone under a certain age, to perform specific procedures or to prescribe particular medications. Back to Top

If a hearing on professional misconduct or incompetence is uncontested, the parties agree on all the issues - the merits, penalty and costs - the panel will decide. Back to Top

When a person waives a right, they agree not to exercise that right. For example, a physician may choose to waive their right to appeal the Tribunal’s decision, in which case the Tribunal can reprimand the physician at the end of the hearing. Back to Top

Witness (see also Expert witness)
A witness is a person who has information about what happened which may be relevant to the Tribunal. For example, a witness might be the patient who says a physician harmed them, an employee in the physician’s office or a person who saw or heard what happened. Back to Top

Witness exclusion order
See exclusion of witnesses. Back to Top