Manage a Bad Experience

Manage a Bad Experience

If you have had an experience with a professional who is regulated, and you feel that the service you received might have been inappropriate, illegal, and/or in violation of professional standards, then you might be able to file a complaint against that professional with the regulatory body that oversees the individual’s profession. Their job is to protect you, the patient or consumer, and ensure that the highest standards of professional practice are followed.


It is important to know that regulatory bodies typically only discipline professionals if their conduct broke the law or violated the regulator’s professional code of ethics.  Some examples of offences that regulators want to know about are:


  • Services promised, paid for, but never rendered
  • Unlawfully disclosing personal or confidential information about you to a third party
  • Sexual interference, harassment, and assault
  • Spending money that should have been held in trust


Visit the website of the regulatory body that oversees the conduct of the professional for more information.

Below are recommended steps on how to manage a bad experience before filing a complaint with a regulatory body.  Note that this information below is not legal advice, nor does it pertain to a particular regulator.  These are simply recommended considerations:

Steps to Settling a Dispute

1. Evaluate Whether This Is Worth Pursuing

Similar to lawsuits, filing a complaint against someone and going through a disciplinary process can be financially costly, emotionally painful, and might not result in a favourable outcome. It is therefore important that you feel you have a strong case before filing a complaint with a regulatory body.

If you have experienced unprofessional conduct that you feel violated legal professional duties or the code of conduct of the regulatory body that oversees the profession, make sure you clearly document what happened.

Although it is not necessary to hire legal counsel, it is advisable that you get a legal opinion about your grievance to avoid unnecessary delays and disappointment.

2. Attempt To Settle Your Dispute

Unless a crime has been committed, and you feel that your case may be settled by speaking to the professional or their employer, it might be worth pursuing. You may do that yourself or have someone assist you.

Here are some steps to consider taking:

  • have a clear understanding of what happened that you felt was inappropriate/unprofessional/unlawful;
  • be sure that you can clearly articulate what was inappropriate/unprofessional/unlawful;
  • disclose how those actions made you feel;
  • know how you would like this grievance settled;
  • make sure that you document your conversation and keep any receipts and other materials that could help your case.


Please contact your local police as quickly as possible for assistance if you feel that a crime was committed. While action through a regulatory body might still be an option, your immediate personal safety is of utmost importance.

3. Find Witnesses

Your case might be stronger with witnesses.  If you’re able to find people who can support your claim, let them know what happened, how you feel about the violation, and that their account of the situation would be helpful.  Have them write their account of what occurred and send it to you.  While a witness statement isn’t important at the outset, it could be handy in the long run.

4. Assess the Financial and Emotional Impact

Pursuing a claim can:

  • potentially hold accountable an individual who has violated professional standards;
  • potentially seek reparations for any damages you might have sustained;
  • have you do your part in protecting the public;
  • possibly be a long and drawn out process.

Before pursuing the claim, consider the potential financial impact.  Not just the cost of legal counsel should you choose to hire a lawyer, but time off work as well.  In addition, the emotional impact could far outweigh any financial compensation, so it’s important to be fully aware that pain could last longer than the outcome of your case.

5. Prepare Your Claim

When you prepare your claim, be sure to state facts as you remember them.  While you might have sustained emotional pain, any proceeding will primarily focus on how an individual or individuals violated the Act that governs their profession and/or the codes of conduct.

Before you prepare a claim, visit the complaints page on the website of the regulatory body and carefully read the instructions.  Make sure that you submit an organized claim and that all documentation required is attached.

A few tips:

  • first write a draft version of your claim in point form and chronological order. Include dates, times, and locations.
  • detail what occurred that you feel violated the Act that governs their profession and/or the codes of conduct.
  • list any and all interactions you have had with the individual or their organization in an attempt to settle the dispute.
  • identify what parts of the Act or codes of conduct you feel were violated.
  • formally write your submission and include the details you’ve gathered.

6. Be Realistic

Many regulatory bodies have previous outcomes of cases on their websites, often called disciplinary outcomes.  Research the decisions to understand what the outcome of your case may be. If required to submit your ideal compensation for a grievance, make sure that such outcomes have previously happened.  It would help to seek legal counsel in advance for help.

7. Ask Someone to Review Your Claim

Have you claim reviewed before you submit it and ask for an objective feedback.  While family members are usually the best supporters, they’re not always the most objective.  A third-party reviewing your claim will help you identify potential weaknesses and gaps to correct prior to submission.

8. Submit Your Claim

Visit the regulatory body’s website for information on submission.  Make sure you keep a copy of your claim and all of your evidence.