A person taking notes looking at a laptop screen. On the right side of the image, text displays, “Article Series”
Connexions Council Office of the Registrar

Understanding Complaints: Mandatory Employer Reports and Registrar’s Complaints

In the last issue of Connexions, we kicked off a series aimed at demystifying complaints. In the first article we introduced the different types of complaints that the College receives (public complaints, Mandatory Employer Reports (MER) and Registrar’s complaints), the process the College follows to address them, and provided information on your rights as a member, along with relevant resources to support your practice.

In this second article, we take a closer look at what happens when MERs and Registrar’s complaints are submitted, and how the College manages cases deemed low-risk to the public. Our future articles will address public complaints, the process for moderate- to high-risk cases and College Committees.

To recap these two types of complaints:

Mandatory Employer Reports: Employers are required to file reports with the College when they suspend, impose restrictions on, or terminate an RECE’s employment for reasons of professional misconduct. Additionally, employers are obligated to report to the College when an RECE has been criminally charged or convicted of a criminal offense relevant to the practice of the profession or where the employer is of the opinion the member has engaged in conduct that should be reviewed by the College.

Information from another organization (Registrar’s Complaints): The College can receive information from other individuals and/or sources, such as a Children’s Aid Society, local police units or the Ministry of Education. If there are reasonable grounds to believe an RECE may have committed an act of professional misconduct, the College Registrar will file a complaint.

Although the sources of these complaints are different, the process the College undertakes to address them is similar. We’ll explore those processes here through the lens of MERs.


The majority of RECEs are trusted, accountable professionals who practise the profession in a manner that supports the health and well-being of children. Today, our membership numbers more than 61,000 professionals, and we received a little over 600 new cases in the 2023 fiscal year, involving only 1% of the membership. Although the number of RECEs whose practice falls short of professional standards is low, as a regulatory body that develops and enforces ethical and professional standards to protect the public interest, the College has a responsibility to hold these RECEs accountable to professional standards.


What happens once a MER has been filed with the College?

Once a MER has been submitted to the College, it goes through a rigorous intake process to assess the level of risk to the public and ensure the most efficient and expedient resolution, that will both ensure public protection and fairness to the RECE.

The College triages high-risk matters for an investigation first so that the most serious cases can be managed quickly. For lower-or moderate-risk cases, the review of risk process helps determine whether matters can be addressed through other ways to protect the public interest or be closed without further investigation.


When determining the risk level to the public, the College considers several factors depending on the nature of the concerns raised. Some of these factors may include:

  • the impact on the child(ren) involved in the incident(s);
  • whether it is a single incident or pattern of behaviour;
  • the RECE’s previous history with the College; and
  • involvement and findings of other agencies (i.e. Children’s Aid Society or police services).


Prevention-focused, supportive tools for addressing low-risk cases

For less serious cases, the College has started to introduce innovative approaches to informally resolve concerns and support the practice of RECEs to help them maintain a high standard of quality care and learning.

Informal resolution options include:

  • Recommendations and Resources Letter
    In this approach, the RECE will receive a letter from the College with recommendations that encourage reflection on the expectations of members of the profession. The letter also includes practice resources they can access to help them implement strategies to enhance their practice and apply ethical values, principles, knowledge and skills.
  • Practice Conversations
    Practice Conversations are an educative tool that provides a safe space for an RECE who was the subject of a low or moderate-risk complaint to engage in solution-focused, constructive dialogue with an experienced RECE who has theoretical understanding and practical experience working directly in the profession.

With discussion guidelines and clear goals, the two RECEs can engage in reflection, learning and discussion. The experienced RECE can also provide resources that may further assist with accountability, setting CPL goals, and taking steps to improve practice.

The College will notify employers regarding the outcome of the MER and may also educate the employer about the College’s expectations and available resources.


Helpful information

What are the possible outcomes of a complaint that goes to the Complaints Committee?

The ECE Act sets out the types of decisions the Complaints Committee can make.

  • Referral for a hearing
    In higher-risk cases involving more serious concerns, the matter may be referred to the College’s Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee for a hearing. (We will have a deeper dive into the College’s Committees including the Complaints Commitee in future articles).
  • Verbal caution
    A verbal caution, the most common outcome in moderate-risk cases, is educational rather than punitive. A member of the Complaints Committee will explain the concerns about the RECE’s conduct or practice and include reminders of their professional obligations and recommendations to help the RECE improve their practice and avoid similar concerns in the future.
  • Remedial education
    In low to moderate risk cases, the Committee can require the RECE to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remedial Program (“SCERP”) to enhance their professional practice.
  • No further action
    For low-risk complaints with no public protection concerns, the Committee may decide to take no further action.

The Committee must provide written reasons for its decision to the RECE, the complainant or reporting employer, and the current employer.

What are your rights if there’s a complaint against you?

When an RECE is notified of a complaint against them, it can be stressful and trigger a range of emotions such as shock, anger, fear, and a need to defend themselves. These emotions can be overwhelming. Knowing that you have procedural rights may help reduce this stress.

You have the right to:

  1. An impartial investigation: No person investigating the complaint has any involvement in the complaint. They are neutral fact finders and seek to only gather the relevant information.
  2. Receive the results of the investigation: You will be provided with the results of the investigation prior to a decision being made.
  3. Provide a response to the complaint: You have the opportunity to provide a written response as part of the investigation, both at the outset and completion of an investigation. This is your chance to offer your side of the story.
  4. Have the investigation completed within a reasonable amount time: The College endeavours to complete the investigation within a reasonable time period and will provide updates on the status of the investigation to both the complainant and the RECE involved in the complaint.
  5. Seek legal assistance. You may wish to retain legal counsel to assist you and provide advice on how to respond to the complaint. The College investigator or College staff cannot provide you with advice on how best to respond to a complaint.
  6. A Complaints Committee free from conflict of interest: Consideration of the investigation results by a Complaints Committee comprised of practising RECEs and members of the public who are free from any conflict of interest.
  7. A written decision: A formal, written decision of the Complaints Committee so that you know why the Committee reached their decision.

One way the College protects the public is by proactively supporting RECEs in their practice with a variety of tools and resources, to help prevent problems before they arise.

In the next issue of Connexions:
Stay tuned for the article that takes a closer look at public complaints, the process for moderate to high-risk cases and the role of the Complaints Committee.