Investigation/Discipline Process Overview
As the Regulatory Organization for the Medical Laboratory Technologist profession, the SSMLT is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints regarding the Conduct and Competence of Medical Laboratory Technologists practicing medical laboratory technology in the province of Saskatchewan. The mandate of the SSMLT is to regulate MLTs in the public interest and to ensure that the public is protected.
Complaints may be filed by members of the public, colleagues, supervisors and employers. The process by which complaints are received and investigated is governed by The Medical Laboratory Technologists Act, 1995 and the Bylaws and Policies of the SSMLT. This process is similar to a police investigation.
Step 1: Complaint
If you are concerned that the care or treatment you received from an MLT did not meet the standards, you have a right to complain to the SSMLT. If you are unsure if filing a complaint is the best way to proceed, please contact the SSMLT Executive Director (306-352-6791), who can answer your questions regarding the practice of medical laboratory technology and the complaints process.
When you are filing a complaint, provide as much of the following information as possible to the SSMLT:
- A description of your concerns
- The date(s) the event(s) occurred
- The name of any hospital or institution involved
- The name, address and phone number of any other person who may have information pertaining to your complaint
- Copies of any relevant documents you have relating to your complaint
- The full name of the MLT(s).
To file a complaint, you may use the form on the File a Complaint page of this website
Step 2: Investigation
Once your complaint has been received, the SSMLT will open a file, send you an acknowledgment, and the Counselling and Investigation Committee will start an investigation. An investigator will be assigned to the file.
The Counselling and Investigation Committee with the assistance of the investigator will gather more information relating to your complaint. This may include interviewing you, the MLT, and anyone else who may have information relating to your complaint. All personal information relating to the investigation and resolution of a complaint is held confidential by the Counselling and Investigation Committee.
Once the investigation is completed, the Counselling and Investigation Committee has three options:
- Determine that there are no grounds for the complaint and dismiss the complaint;
- Refer the matter to Alternative Dispute Resolution;
- If the matter is referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution, a third party trained in this process will be appointed to resolve the matter.
- If you or the individual which the complaint is being filed against does not wish to participate in this process or is dissatisfied with the outcome, the matter will be referred to the Discipline Committee to hear and determine the complaint.
- Refer the matter to the Discipline Committee to hear and determine the complaint through a formal hearing process. As the complainant, you may be called as a witness at this hearing.
Step 3: Hearing
The Discipline Committee consists of a minimum of three persons appointed by Council, one of which may be a public representative, the majority of the committee practicing MLTs. Elected Members of Council are not eligible for this Committee.
At least 30 days prior to a hearing, the Executive Director sends a copy of the complaint to the member who is the subject matter of the discipline hearing along with a “Notice of Hearing” with notification of the date, time and place of the hearing.
The discipline hearing is a process similar to but less formal than any other court. For example:
- the hearing may accept any evidence it considers appropriate, relevant and admissible;
- all parties involved may be represented by legal counsel at their own expense;
- testimony of witnesses is under oath;
- examination, cross-examination and re-examination is a full right of all parties involved;
- failure of the member to appear does not delay nor postpone the hearing.
Step 4: Decision
Where the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional incompetence or professional misconduct, it may:
- order that the member be expelled from the association and that the member's name be struck from the register;
- order that the member be suspended from the association for a specified period of time;
- order that the member be suspended from the society pending the satisfactory completion of any conditions specified in the order;
- order that the member may continue to practice under specific conditions which may include, but are not restricted to:
- not do specified types of work;
- successfully complete specified classes or courses of instruction;
- obtain medical or other treatment or counselling or both;
- having a reprimand placed on his/her file; or
- make any other order that it considers just.
Also, the Discipline Committee may make an order that the member pay to the Society (within a fixed period) a fine and/or costs of the inquiry and hearing, in a specified amount.
Copies of such orders shall be sent to the member involved and the person who made the complaint.
Step 5: Appeal
A member who has been found guilty by the Discipline Committee may appeal the decision of the Committee within 30 days of the decision.
The Medical Laboratory Technologists Act 1996 requires employers to:
- notify the SSMLT if they terminate the employment of a MLT on the basis of conduct or competence.
SSMLT recommends the following:
- ensure that persons they employ as MLT are members who are entitled to practice.
- review the license status of their MLT employees each year to ensure their practicing licenses are renewed.
What is an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
The Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a collaborative process where the accused member agrees to have committed an infraction and is willing to work with the Counselling and Investigation Committee in order to resolve the dispute in a cooperative manner. The ADR’s primary function is not to administer discipline, but rather to educate the member to avoid future incidents of misconduct or incompetence. ADR agreements are structured on the ideals of enhancing job performance, increasing practise proficiency, and assuring future quality of care. The provisions of the ADR, in which the member agrees to, will insure that these ideals are met.
What is Professional Incompetence?
Professional incompetence is a question of fact, but the display by a member of:
- a lack of knowledge, skill, judgement; or
- a disregard for the welfare of members of the public served by the profession;
Of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the member is unfit to continue in the practice of the profession is professional incompetence within the meaning of the Act.
What is Professional Misconduct?
Professional misconduct is a question of fact, but any matter, conduct or thing, whether or not disgraceful or dishonourable, is professional misconduct within the meaning of this Act if:
- it is harmful to the best interests of the public or the members;
- it tends to harm the standing of the profession;
- it is a breach of the Act or the bylaws; or
- it is a failure to comply with an order of the counselling and investigation committee, the discipline committee or the council.
The definitions of Professional Incompetence and Professional Misconduct are taken from The Medical Laboratory Technologists Act, 1995.