Who is subject to an ethics complaint?
Any person who is a member of the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) agrees to abide by the CSNM Code of Professional Ethics as a condition of membership. The CSNM Ethics Committee can only enquire into, and investigate complaints against CSNM members.
Who May file an ethics complaint?
Any person, member of CSNM or not, who has reason to believe that a CSNM member has acted in violation of the Code of Professional Ethics may file an ethics complaint. The Ethics Committee may initiate a complaint based on alleged violations brought to its attention if allegations are considered to have the potential to cause serious harm to the profession.
How does an ethics complaint get filed?
Contact the CSNM Office for the appropriate form or access it from the CSNM website and ethics violation procedures. The complaint must:
- Be submitted on the Ethics Violation Form provided;
- Be signed by the complainant;
- State the facts surrounding the complaint and specify the code(s) or provision(s) violated;
- Be filed within one year after the facts became known
How does the Ethics Committee process the ethics violation complaint?
The Ethics Violation Form will be forwarded to the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
The Ethics Committee reviews the violation to determine if it is worthy of consideration. If not, the violation is dismissed and the complainant is notified. The decision to dismiss at this stage is final.
Acceptable reasons for dismissing a complaint include:
A complaint may be unworthy of consideration for one or more of the following reasons:
- Failure to specify provision of code violated;
- More than one year has elapsed since facts were known or could have been known;
- The complainant is a third party to the circumstances (excepting complaints initiated by the Ethics Committee);
- The respondent is not currently a CSNM member;
- The matter is a legal dispute more appropriately handled through the justice system.
- The complainant is without any factual basis or is lodged in bad faith.
If neither party requests an appeal by the specified date, the decision of Ethics Committee becomes final. If any disciplinary action is warranted, it will be taken after the appeal period has passed.
What disciplinary action can the Ethics Committee impose?
The Ethics Committee may impose disciplinary action for violation of any article of the Code of Professional Ethics, failure to cooperate with the ethics committee or hearing panel, or in the case of a guilty finding by a legal proceeding that shows a failure to abide by the Code.
If and as deemed appropriate by the Ethics Committee, disciplinary action may consist of one or more of the following:
- Letter of warning unpublished;
- Letter of censure published;
- Suspension of membership or other designation or privileges for a specified period of time (up to 24 months);
- Expulsion from membership or loss of other designations or privileges.
If either the complainant or the respondent is dissatisfied with the decision of the Ethics Committee, either party can request an appeal hearing. CSNM’s President will chair (without a vote) a Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel will set a time and place for the hearing by giving 60 days written notice to the complainant and the respondent. The parties are expected to appear in person although the Panel can decide if an alternative to an in-person hearing can take place, such as via conference call or video conference all. This decision will be made, ensuring there is fairness to all parties and considerations of cost and distance. Refusal to attend whichever process is convened is not grounds for rescheduling a hearing. The decision of the Hearing Panel will be by a majority vote with the findings and disciplinary action, if any, sent to the complainant and the respondent by registered mail within thirty days of the hearing. The decision of Hearing Panel is final.
Can a complaint be withdrawn?
If during the investigation process the complainant wants to withdraw the ethics violation, this can be done if a written reason for the withdrawal is received before the Ethics Committee reaches a decision or if the committee gives its consent.
What costs will be incurred?
All parties to an ethics violation will be responsible for their own costs, if any. However, any party to a complaint who intentionally falsifies or withholds information or refuses to cooperate with an ethics investigation may be assessed all or part of any expenses occurred by the association in the investigation. Any member who files an ethics violation to harass another member or abuse the ethics procedures will be subject to disciplinary sanctions at the discretion of the Ethics Committee.
Are the disciplinary decisions of the Ethics Committee published?
The results of disciplinary actions will not be published, unless the Ethics Committee has deemed it necessary and advisable for the good of CSNM as a whole, to release the findings and disciplinary action taken (if any).