A broad overview of ACSLPA’s complaint process is shown below.

Regulated member receives copy of the complaint.

All SLPs and audiologists should behave professionally, meeting the requirements outlined in ACSLPA’s Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and Competency Profiles; however, mistakes may happen, or concerns may arise. The College aims to protect the public by addressing complaints fairly, efficiently, and transparently.

Any person may file a complaint about an SLP or audiologist including a:

  • current or past client or patient;
  • family member, parent, friend, or guardian of a client or patient;
  • colleague, co-worker, or other regulated health care professional;
  • member of the public; or
  • employer.

Note: There are circumstances where a Complaints Director may initiate a complaint under section 56 of the HPA that does not require a written complaint.

All submitted complaints are received and addressed by the College’s Complaints Director through the complaint process (i.e., professional conduct process), which is described in the HPA.

The College can accept complaints about:

  • any regulated members on the General Register (practicing or non-practicing); or
  • SLPs and audiologists who were registered with ACSLPA within the previous 2 years.

Note: The complaint process may proceed even if the investigated person resigns before the complaint process starts or is completed.

HPA, s.54(2)

The table below outlines how complaints about individuals who are not on ACSLPA’s General Register are handled.

Courtesy Register Unregistered Person Facility or Organization
Complaints about a regulated member on the Courtesy Register may be handled by ACSLPA, the regulated member’s primary regulatory college, or a combination of both. Complaints about an unknown, unregistered person providing health services will be referred to the Complaints Director. Complaints about a facility, clinic, hospital, school, or other organization will be referred to the facility directly.

Complaint Form

Complaints made to the College must be in writing, signed, and may contain information such as:

  • the complainant’s name, contact information, signature, and relationship to the investigated person (e.g. client, colleague, employer);
  • the investigated person’s name, registration number (if known), contact information (if known);
  • the location and factual description of the event(s);
  • supporting documents, if any; and
  • the name and signature of the complainant.

HPA, s.54(1)

Mandatory Reporting for Employers

Employers have a legal obligation to inform the Complaints Director if they terminate or suspend an SLP or audiologist for conduct they deem unprofessional or if a practitioner resigns because of conduct they deemed unprofessional. The information about the termination, suspension, or resignation must be treated as a formal complaint, with the employer becoming the complainant.

An employer must report conduct to the Complaints Director that in the employer’s opinion, and with reasonable grounds, is sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, or involves the procurement or performance of female genital mutilation.

HPA, s. 57(1-2)

Duty to Report for Regulated Members

Regulated members of ACSLPA who are aware of action(s) of other regulated members that may be considered unprofessional conduct have a duty to report it to the College.

After a complaint is received, it is reviewed by the Complaints Director, who subsequently contacts both the complainant  and the regulated member (sometimes called the investigated person) to discuss the complaint.

  • The Complaints Director is an employee of the College who reviews, manages, and addresses complaints. They are provided authority from the HPA to make certain decisions during the complaints process.
  • The College must appoint a person to the role of Complaints Director.

After review, the Complaints Director may:

  • encourage the complainant and the regulated member to communicate with each other and resolve the complaint;
  • resolve the complaint with the consent of the complainant and the regulated member;
  • refer the complaint to an investigation;
  • refer the complaint to an expert to prepare a report;
  • dismiss the complaint; or
  • make directions related to a regulated member’s fitness to practice.

Note: Certain actions are not available for complaints relating to sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, and female genital mutilation.

Complaints Director contacts complainant and regulated member to discuss complaint and complainant’s concerns.

The College may provide a copy of the complaint form to the regulated member to make them aware of the complaint and to assist them in making an informed response.

  • The complainant’s name may be provided, but other information such as their contact information is redacted.

The Complaints Director will provide notice to the complainant and the regulated member of the action(s) taken. There are many possible actions, and each depends on the facts, circumstances and complexity of the complaint.

Each complaint is unique and is addressed individually. The HPA lists more than one possible outcome including:

  • resolution, through a conversation or agreement;
  • investigation
  • hearing; or
  • dismissal.

The complaints process will not provide the complainant:

  • money;
  • direction for the SLP or audiologist to provide certain care to a patient or client;
  • remedies or compensation that could be provided from a lawsuit in civil court; or
  • legal advice.

ACSLPA encourages accountability and may try to resolve a complaint during the complaints process.

Resolution may be done through a conversation, formal or informal agreement or other methods allowed by the HPA. The resolution process requires the consent of the complainant to begin.

The purpose of an investigation is to collect information, documents and interview witnesses about an incident or concern. An investigation is conducted by an investigator.

An investigator prepares a report that summarizes the investigation and provides it to the Complaints Director. After reviewing the report, the Complaints Director decides the next action for the complaint, including the possibility of a dismissal or a hearing.

An investigation may be conducted by the Complaints Director or an appointed investigator. An investigator has statutory authority under the HPA to interview individuals, request and collect documents, and material evidence; they may also inspect worksites where professional services are provided by the investigated person, except the parts being used as a private residence.

HPA, s.63(1)

Note: The Complaints Director is unable to provide a witness legal advice. Witnesses may wish to seek support, representation, assistance, or legal advice as a witness.

The purposes of a hearing are to determine whether unprofessional conduct occurred and, if applicable, determine the appropriate sanction (i.e. penalty) for the regulated member.

The decision makers at a hearing are the Hearing Tribunal, made up of 50% speech-language pathologists or audiologists and 50% members of the public who are appointed by the Government of Alberta.

There are generally two types of hearings:

Consent Hearing Contested Hearing
A consent hearing is when the regulated member admits to unprofessional conduct and may also propose what they believe is an appropriate penalty with the Complaints Director.

A consent hearing is similar to a guilty plea in criminal court. Often admissions of unprofessional conduct are agreed upon in advance by the Complaints Director and the regulated member and submitted together to the Hearing Tribunal for their consideration. In a consent hearing, witnesses may not be required.

Consent hearings are open to the public, subject to some exceptions.

A contested hearing is when evidence is presented to determine whether unprofessional conduct occurred and if applicable, the appropriate penalty. There may also be legal or factual issues addressed by the Hearing Tribunal.

A contested hearing is similar to a trial. Witness verbal evidence, documentary evidence and physical evidence may be presented to the Hearing Tribunal for careful consideration and to assist them with making their decision of whether unprofessional conduct occurred.

Contested hearings are open to the public, subject to some exceptions.


A witness asked to give evidence in a hearing will receive a notice to attend from the Hearings Director. A notice to attend is a formal document requiring someone to appear at a hearing, similar to a subpoena. A notice to attend may also include a notice to produce, the requirement to bring certain documents to the hearing. A notice to attend and a notice to produce include the date and time of the hearing and the name of the regulated member.

During the hearing, a witness is asked questions by the Complaints Director, or their lawyer, and the regulated member, or their lawyer. The hearing tribunal may also ask questions.


A written decision is issued by the Hearing Tribunal and may take some time to be completed. Once ready, copies of the written decision will be provided to the complainant and the regulated member. The decision will be published on ACSLPA’s website if there is a finding of unprofessional conduct or if the hearing relates to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. Decisions where there is no finding of unprofessional conduct may also be published on ACSLPA’s website.

Appealing a Hearing Decision

The regulated member or the Complaints Director may appeal a decision of the Hearing Tribunal to ACSLPA’s Council or a panel of Council members. Information about the appeal process is provided to the regulated member when they receive a copy of the Hearing Tribunal’s decision.

Note: the HPA does not give the complainant a right to appeal a hearing decision.

A complaint may be dismissed, before or after an investigation. The Complaints Director may dismiss a complaint if they are satisfied that there was insufficient, or no evidence of unprofessional conduct or other grounds allowed by the HPA.

If a complaint is dismissed by the Complaints Director, the complainant may request a review of the dismissal before a Complaint Review Committee.

The role and task of the Complaint Review Committee are to review the dismissal and consider whether the decision was reasonable. After their review, the Complaint Review Committee may:

  • confirm the dismissal;
  • refer the complaint to an investigation; or
  • refer the complaint to a hearing.

A request to review the dismissal should be submitted by the complainant within thirty (30) days of receipt of the dismissal to the Hearings Director.

Legal Advice

The information in this training is intended to provide general information on the complaints process and should not be considered legal advice.

The College encourages both complainants and regulated members to seek legal representation if they wish to do so.

PLI Coverage for the Complaints Process

As coverage may vary from company to company, regulated members need to contact their insurance companies directly for coverage information.