If you have a concern with an optometrist or the care you received, the Manitoba Association of Optometrists is the regulatory body responsible for dealing with your complaint. When appropriate, disciplinary action may be taken if a member breaches regulations or fails to maintain professional standards of practise.
Complaints must be submitted in writing to the Complaints Committee, via the MAO office:
Manitoba Association of Optometrists
217 – 530 Century Street
If you have questions about the Complaints process or would like to discuss your concerns before formally submitting a complaint, you are welcome to contact our Executive Director, Laureen Goodridge, at 204-943-9811.
Summary of Complaints/Discipline Process
- A written complaint is received by the Association Office. It is immediately forwarded to the Complaints Committee for review, to the concerned member for response, and to the Registrar for information.
- The Complaints Committee conducts a preliminary investigation. If the nature of the complaint is such that the Committee believes there is a question of serious risk to the public, it may suspend the member's certificate of registration pending the outcome of its investigation and a discipline hearing. The member may appeal such a suspension to the Court of Queen's Bench.
- The Complaints Committee may resolve the matter informally, direct that no further action be taken, issue a formal caution (written reprimand to the member's file) or refer the matter to the Discipline Committee for a formal hearing. To assist in the resolution of the matter, the Complaints Committee may, if it deems it appropriate to the circumstances, recommend that the optometrist refund part or all of fees paid; however, it has no power to impose an order for repayment on the optometrist. The optometrist is consulted if the Committee determines that a formal caution is warranted and, if he or she disagrees, the matter is instead referred to the Discipline Committee for formal hearing.
- A complainant has 30 days from notification of a Complaints Committee decision to appeal a direction that no further action be taken. An Appeals Committee is struck to review the matter, including all information considered by the Complaints Committee plus additional submissions the optometrist and complainant wish to put forward. The Appeals Committee has the same decision-making power as the Complaints Committee (i.e. direct that no further action be taken, issue a formal caution, or refer the matter to the Discipline Committee). It can confirm the Complaints Committee decision, refer the matter back to the Complaints Committee for further consideration, or make its own directive in keeping with this authority. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.
- If either the Complaints or Appeals Committees refer a matter to the Discipline Committee for formal hearing (most likely serious matters, constituting alleged professional misconduct or unskilled practice), a Discipline Committee is struck to formally hear the matter. Hearings are generally open to the public, but must respect the confidentiality of both the practitioner's and complainant's identity. If a Discipline Committee finds an optometrist guilty of charges of professional misconduct or unskilled practice, it may order a reprimand, suspension with or without conditions, restrictions or conditions on practice, repayment of fees, revocation of registration and/or finds and costs of the hearing.
- The investigated optometrist may appeal a decision of the Discipline Committee to the Court of Queen's Bench.