This section is for general information purposes only. As the nature and complexity of a complaint is unique, each case is independently reviewed and processed in accordance with the Health Professions Act (HPA).
What is the obligation of MLTs to participate?
Participation in investigations and/or hearings is a professional obligation of all MLTs regardless of whether their conduct is the subject of the investigation, and failure or refusal to participate is in contravention of the HPA, Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The HPA applicably defines unprofessional conduct in part as the failure or refusal to comply with a request of or co-operate with an investigator, notice to attend or a notice to produce under Part 4 of the HPA as well as contravention of this HPA, and a College’s Code of Ethics or Standards of Practice.
How do witnesses prepare for participation in hearings?
In preparation for a hearing, witnesses will be contacted by the CMLTA’s legal counsel and briefed on the anticipated line of questioning in the hearing. A witness will also be provided with a copy of their statement obtained during the investigation to refresh their memory. A witness will be instructed to recall any relevant events and/or documents pertaining to the alleged misconduct and should comment on all information regarding the case. This may include information which ultimately supports the employer’s rationale for termination or suspension of the affected MLT.
At the hearing, the MLT or legal counsel for the MLT are given an opportunity for cross-examination of a witness. The College will do its best to anticipate this line of questioning and prepare the witness. The College is also given the opportunity for re-direct questioning of a witness based on information from the cross-examination.
If I am a witness, what expenses does the CMLTA pay for?
The College will pay for all travel and accommodation costs associated with a hearing as per the current and applicable CMLTA policy. Any wages lost by the MLT serving as a witness will be reimbursed as per Article 35 (Court Appearance) of the Bargaining Agreement of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, if applicable.
What about costs to the organization (e.g., salaries, administrative time, etc.)?
The organization is responsible for these costs; however, the CMLTA does appreciate these costs can be substantive in lengthy matters.
Who can individuals speak with if they have further questions?
Please contact the College with any questions unless you have been notified by legal counsel that you may contact them directly.
Why are hearings held in Edmonton when this results in multiple witnesses travelling?
In previous years, the CMLTA travelled to the location of the complaint; however, the costs associated with transporting the individuals involved with this protocol are much more than when held in Edmonton. The CMLTA does acknowledge the impact hearings have on the workplace and workflow, and even staff morale. The CMLTA has proposed virtual options in some cases but requires consent from the MLT and their legal counsel to proceed in this manner.
Under what circumstances would an MLT have their practice permit suspended or cancelled as a result of professional conduct?
Under the HPA, a Hearing Tribunal is given the authority to suspend or permanently cancel a practice permit and registration with a written order if a finding of unprofessional conduct is made. This type of order is only made where the unprofessional conduct is of a very serious nature, public safety is compromised, or both. Those proven allegations pertaining to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct will always result in suspension or cancellation, dependent on the proved allegation.
The College’s Complaints Director can also direct an MLT to cease providing professional services if the Complaints Director has grounds to believe the MLT is incapacitated. This, pursuant to section 118 of the HPA, is independent of whether or not a complaint has been received.
How are penalty sanctions decided?
If one or more findings of unprofessional conduct are made by a Hearing Tribunal, the College’s Complaints Director, in consultation with legal counsel, submits penalty sanction recommendations (including general orders, fines, and costs) to a Hearing Tribunal, but ultimate discretion to make orders rests with the Hearing Tribunal. If an MLT’s employer believes they have an appropriate penalty sanction for that MLT, they could present this to the College for consideration; however, the CMLTA must weigh several factors when proposing penalties to a Hearing Tribunal. Such factors include the harm to public, harm to integrity of the profession, the number of previous offences, cooperation of the accused, remedial or rehabilitative options and any mitigating or extenuating circumstances.
How much involvement does the CMLTA have with an investigation?
In order to maintain fairness and impartiality once the College appoints an investigator, the College cannot direct the investigation in any manner.
Why are multiple witnesses called? Is this not increasing the costs for the CMLTA as well as the stress for those involved in the investigation?
The investigator approaches each complaint on a case-by-case basis. Pursuant to the HPA, an investigator may investigate all matters that are related to the conduct of the investigated person that could give rise to a finding of unprofessional conduct. The investigator is not purposefully invasive and disruptive to an organization and its staff, but rather has to exercise due diligence to ensure all evidence is collected and presented to the Complaints Director.
The College is mindful of costs related to conduct; however, this cannot impact a thorough and warranted investigation.
Who arranges for meetings associated with the investigation?
It is the investigator’s responsibility to determine the appropriate individuals to interview and all are arranged and conducted by the appointed investigator. The CMLTA investigator attempts to have one point of contact to schedule interviews to ensure the organization is aware of all staff being impacted by the investigation and as to be least intrusive on the practice environment.
What information should be provided to an investigator?
All information, including an employee file should be given to an investigator upon request. It is best to provide all information up front and be transparent even if one feels it is irrelevant to the investigation. Often, it is the notes and emails in an employee’s file that contain relevant information to a complaint of unprofessional conduct. It is the investigator’s responsibility to determine if the information is relevant to the complaint.
What are the privacy obligations of the CMLTA regarding investigations?
The College respects the confidentiality of all individuals during the course of an investigation. In some cases, interviewed parties are privy to sensitive information; however, they are briefed on the confidential nature of the interview and any matters which are discussed. The witnesses are provided with a copy of their witness statement to help recall previous testimony, but they are not given copies of the investigators report in its entirety.
The College expects all MLTs who are interviewed to maintain confidentiality regarding the matters and information discussed during an interview or, ultimately, at a hearing. The “duty of confidentiality” is one of the professional obligations of all MLTs.
What are the factors that determine whether an investigative meeting is held on an employer’s premises or offsite?
If possible, interviews are conducted on the employer’s premises in order to:
The College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA) is the regulatory body for Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) employed in Alberta.
We wish to acknowledge that the land on which the CMLTA office is located is Treaty 6 territory and a traditional meeting ground for many Indigenous people. This is home to the Cree, Blackfoot, and Metis, as it is for the Nakoda, Tsuu T’ina, Chipewayn, and other Indigenous people. Their spiritual and practical relationships to the land create a rich heritage for our life as community.
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