What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

If you file a complaint about an occupational therapist (OT), your complaint may be suitable for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

ADR is one of the methods the College uses to resolve complaints. ADR is voluntary. This means if your complaint is selected for ADR, both you and the OT you have concerns about must consent to participate in it. If consent is given, you and the OT will work with a mediator to see if you can agree on a resolution to your concerns. A mediator is a person trained to help people work through conflict without taking sides.

If you agree to participate in ADR but later decide you no longer wish to do so, you can withdraw your consent - even after the ADR process has already begun. So can the OT. If you do not consent to ADR or withdraw your consent to it, your complaint will be investigated by the College. Learn more about the College’s investigation process here.

What types of complaints can be resolved with ADR?

Not all complaints are eligible for ADR. Once a complaint is filed with the College, staff assesses whether the concerns identified are suitable for this process.

Below is a chart highlighting examples of complaints that may be suitable for ADR. This chart is not an exhaustive list of eligible and ineligible complaints.

Suitable Not Suitable
Some communication concerns Sexual abuse concerns
Some record keeping concerns Concerns about physical or emotional abuse
Some billing concerns (excluding concerns related to financial abuse) If the OT was previously referred to the Discipline Committee

If all of the concerns identified in your complaint are not suitable for ADR, the complaint must be addressed through the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee’s investigation process.

Benefits of ADR

  • Allows for open discussion between you and the OT you have concerns about
  • Both you and the OT can be directly involved in the resolution of the complaint
  • Encourages accountability on the OT's part
  • Collaborative approach in resolving the complaint may lead to greater satisfaction in the outcome
  • Faster than an investigation
  • Can take place in-person, over the telephone, or via videoconference

What are some possible outcomes of the ADR process?

The mediation may result in agreement between you and the OT as to how your concerns can best be addressed. While the mediator is neutral, meaning they do not take sides, they can suggest potential options to resolve your identified concerns. Examples of possible resolutions include:

  • the OT agrees to make improvements to their practice
  • the OT agrees to amend an assessment report written about you
  • the OT agrees to take part in continuing education to change their practice in the areas of concern
  • the OT apologizes to you
  • the OT agrees to issue you a refund
These actions may allow you to feel that your concerns have been adequately addressed and that no further action is required from the occupational therapist.

If you agree on how to resolve your complaint, details of the resolution will be provided to the Registrar for approval. The Registrar can also request that a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) instead approve the resolution reached. Approval by either the Registrar or the ICRC ensures that the agreement reached is in the public interest.

Once a resolution has been agreed to by both parties and approved by the Registrar or the ICRC, that is the end of the process.

What if a resolution cannot be reached through ADR?

Should you or the OT you have concerns about not be in agreement with the outcome or if no agreement can be reached, your complaint is referred back to the ICRC where it becomes the ICRC’s responsibility to investigate your concerns and make a decision on them.

If your complaint cannot be resolved through the ADR process within 120 days, the ADR process will stop and the ICRC will continue with its investigation.

Contact us

If you have concerns about an OT or have questions about the ADR process, please contact us by phone at 1-800-890-6570 x 253 or email us at investigations@coto.org.