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Complaints & Discipline Information and Hearings

Previously, OPPI had a single Discipline Committee which receives, investigates, and (in rare cases) holds formal hearings regarding complaints. With its updated By-Law, OPPI will have two separate committees – a Complaints Committee to screen and handle complaints, and decide whether they should be referred to the Discipline Committee that may hold a formal hearing and render a decision.

OPPI pursued this By-Law update because it will:

  • Enhance the Complaints and Discipline process by splitting them into separate committees and aligning them with the current practices of other regulated professions
  • Clarify OPPI’s ability to initiate a complaint
  • Allow OPPI to maintain jurisdiction over any complaint
  • Improve transparency by making decisions and information public

What does the new process look like?
Under the previous process, OPPI had a Discipline Committee that handled complaints and rendered discipline decisions. Under OPPI’s updated By-Law the two are separated and handle different functions. Please see below an infographic that will help you navigate the new complaints and discipline process. For more information, please see our Complaints Committee and Discipline Committee sections to learn more about each committee (click  on the image below to expand).

OPPI-Complaints-Discipline-Process-Infographic.png

OPPI complaints committee

OPPI’s Complaints Committee is made up of OPPI members and a public interest representative to review all complaints submitted to OPPI. If a member is subject to a complaint by another member or the member of the public, or anyone else, the Complaints Committee is the first step in resolving this matter.
 
As part of its investigation, OPPI’s Complaints Committee will notify the member who is the subject of the complaint, will determine if the complaint is frivolous or vexatious in nature and whether to proceed (and investigate if OPPI’s Professional Code of Practice has been breached).
 
In addition, once a complaint has been made, OPPI will take on the responsibility to pursue the complaint, not the person submitting the complaint, and can continue the case even without the complainant’s co-operation to ensure the public interest is protected. The original complainant might be called as a witness during the hearing.
 
When the Complaints Committee completes its investigation, it can choose to do one or more of the following:

  • Take no action
  • Direct the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee or direct that the matter not be referred at all
  • Require the member who is subject to the complaint to appear before the Committee to be cautioned
  • Determine other action that it considers appropriate within OPPI’s by-laws, but does not include actions that can be taken by OPPI’s Discipline Committee

oppi discipline committee

OPPI’s Discipline Committee is made up of several OPPI members and a public interest representative to review cases referred to it by the Complaints Committee.
 
After a complaint is investigated by OPPI’s Complaints Committee, a matter may be brought to the attention of OPPI’s Discipline Committee for further action. A hearing may be called to discuss the matter.
 
If the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct, it may order one or more of the following:

  • Revoke membership
  • Suspend membership for up to 24 months and direct a suspended member to not use any term, title, designation or description that implies they are a member of OPPI during their suspension
  • Determine the time and manner of return of a certificate of membership to OPPI for a suspended member
  • Impose restrictions or conditions on the right of the member to practice in the field of professional planning as a member of OPPI
  • Issue a reprimand and direct the reprimand be recorded in the member register
  • Direct a member to take any specified rehabilitative measures, including professional development courses or specified counselling or treatment
  • Pay a fine up to $25,000
  • Postpone any measure for a specific period or specific terms, including the successful completion of courses

discipline committee decisions

OPPI will ensure Discipline Committee decisions are made public and are easily accessible. As decisions are rendered, please visit this webpage for updates. 

FAQs

As part of this process, OPPI is providing answers to some frequently asked questions. Please see more information below. 

Members of OPPI (except Student Members, Pre-Candidate Members and Public Subscribers) are governed by the Professional Code of Practice. The discipline process is outlined in the OPPI By-Law in section 6 and Appendix II. The Discipline Committee itself has issued Rules of Practice and Procedure to govern its administration (you can request a copy from info@ontarioplanners.ca).

No, professional planners who do not belong to OPPI are not governed by the Professional Code of Practice, and OPPI has no jurisdiction over them.

Request a complaint form from info@ontarioplanners.ca

Please fill out the Complaint Form and Guide and send it to:

Ontario Professional Planners Institute
234 Eglinton Avenue East
Suite 201
Toronto ON M4P 1K5
Attention: Executive Director
Confidential – Complaint

Please note that the Complaint Forms require the complainant’s name, and stipulates that you cannot initiate a complaint on behalf of another individual or organization.

Certain members of the Complaints Committee and the Discipline Committee are assigned to make inquiries, to clarify claims and information and collect documents, as is appropriate for the relevant Committee.

A caution is a meeting between the Complaints Committee and member where they discuss instances where the member may have failed to meet best practices. It does not involve a hearing or evidence and does not involve a formal finding of misconduct.

The Complaints Committee could agree with the member that an appropriate resolution of the complaint would be if the member took a certain course, for instance. 

There is a prehearing conference between the parties and a chair is appointed by the Discipline Committee. The prehearing conference is used to explore settlement possibilities, and (if a hearing is actually required) to order disclosure, narrow issues and schedule the hearing itself.

The process is confidential to the extent that OPPI does not disclose or publicize the name of the complainant or the member against whom a complaint has been made. However, in order to properly and fairly deal with a complaint, that member will receive a copy of the complaint and learn the name of the complainant, and the parties may receive other information about each other during the course of the investigation and hearing. OPPI can direct its members not to disclose such information publicly in specific circumstances, but OPPI cannot guarantee that no information will be disclosed by the other parties.

It is a formal process, following quasi-judicial rules of procedure. Evidence is presented and may include witnesses testifying. The parties make legal arguments.

The Discipline Committee will appoint a panel. However, that panel will not include the members who originally investigated the matter, or anyone else who has a real or perceived “conflict of interest” with either of the parties (e.g., they are their friends, relatives, co-workers, etc.).

Professional discipline hearings are generally open to the public. If some compelling reason can be given why the hearing should not be open to the public, the Discipline Committee panel has the power to make that order.

Under the Ontario Professional Planners Institute Act that currently governs OPPI, the parties to a Discipline Committee proceeding have the right to request OPPI Council to reconsider any process or action undertaken by OPPI, with respect to that Discipline Committee proceeding. The member also has the right to appeal the decision of OPPI Council to Divisional Court.

No. If a member is found to have breached the OPPI Professional Code of Practice, the member may be suspended, revoked, reprimanded, fined, or ordered to complete relevant education measures, among other penalties.

Note that the “fine” is not paid to the complainant but to the general account of the Institute. Generally, in self-regulated professions, such fines are not payable to the complainant. Also note that even if the OPPI Discipline Committee determined that a member (for instance) was careless or incompetent in giving a planning opinion or testimony, it is highly unlikely that a Committee of Adjustment or the Ontario Municipal Board would re-consider a decision it had made based on that information.

Most OPPI members demonstrate their integrity every day, ensuring they conduct themselves in accordance with OPPI’s Professional Code of Practice and may never experience the complaints and discipline process.
 
OPPI receives very few complaints each year relative to the size of our membership; however, OPPI members, as part of maintaining membership, can be subject to the disciplinary process. As a regulated profession acting in the public interest, OPPI must maintain a formal complaints and discipline process and ensure it is updated to protect the public interest. The changes being proposed will not affect members unless a complaint is filed against them. 

OPPI’s complaints and discipline process would make information available to the public in keeping with best practices regarding transparency. Because new information will be made available, including discipline hearing information, referrals and findings of professional misconduct by the Discipline Committee and summaries of decisions, OPPI will determine the most appropriate methods of making this information public.

A summary of every decision shall be published in OPPI's Annual Report. A summary of the decision may be published in Y Magazine or on the OPPI website. If the member was found to have breached the Professional Code of Practice, that summary may also include the member’s name and the penalty imposed.