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Verbal Cautions: When do they happen and why?

The College receives information regarding possible professional misconduct from a variety of sources. These include complaints from members of the public and reporting required from employers.

Complaints or employer reports related to issues of professional misconduct or incompetence are investigated by the College.   The results of the investigation, together with the member’s response, are then considered by the College’s Complaints Committee. 

What does the Complaints Committee do?

The Complaints Committee determines whether action is necessary in the public interest.    

When determining the appropriate outcome for a complaint, the following are some of the factors considered by the Committee:

  • The nature of the conduct
  • The member’s prior conduct history with the College
  • The member’s cooperation with the College’s investigation
  • The member’s insight into the concerns raised
  • Any proactive measures the member has taken to address the issue(s).

The actions that can be taken by the Committee are set out in the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007.  The most serious cases are referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing.  In some cases, the Committee may decide that the matter can be more appropriately resolved by issuing a verbal caution to the member.

How does a verbal caution happen?

When the Complaints Committee decides to issue a verbal caution, the member is required to appear at the College before a member of the Complaints Committee.  Verbal cautions are not conducted in public hearings.  A verbal caution is delivered to the member from the Committee and is meant to be educational rather than punitive. The Committee member will explain the Committee’s concerns and make recommendations based on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to help the member improve their practice and avoid future difficulties.

Why are verbal cautions important?

Verbal cautions serve to remind members of their responsibilities under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and that, as members of a regulated profession, they are accountable for their actions.  This was highlighted in the recent Practice Guideline on Professionalism.

If a member is required to appear in person to be cautioned by the Complaints Committee, it is their professional duty to do so.

Failing to appear before the Committee may constitute professional misconduct and could result in a referral to the Discipline Committee.