Investigation/ Discipline Process

The Government of Saskatchewan has granted the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (SALPN) the authority and responsibility to regulate Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in Saskatchewan. Professional regulation aims to protect the public from risk and reduce harm to those a profession serves. LPNs are regulated because the service LPNs provide can pose a risk to the public if performed incompetently, unethically, or by unqualified individuals.

The Licensed Practical Nurses Act, 2000 (the “Act”) establishes two statutory committees: the Counselling & Investigation Committee and the Discipline Committee. They manage investigation and discipline proceedings involving LPNs. The Act outlines the composition and authority of the committees. The decision-making functions of the committees are independent of the SALPN and are supported administratively by SALPN staff.

The processes and decision-making of the committees are guided by the principles of administrative law – natural justice and procedural fairness:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right to respond to the allegations
  • The right to be represented
  • The right to a fair and impartial decision-making process
  • The right to have the case decided by those that have heard the case
  • The right to timely proceedings
  • The right to be provided reasons for decision-making

The Process

When a complaint about a SALPN member’s nursing practice or conduct is received, the Act requires the SALPN to review the concerns outlined in the complaint.

However, the SALPN has the authority to and may initiate a review of any situation that comes to its knowledge.

The SALPN member named in the complaint is notified as soon as possible, following receipt of a complaint, that a complaint has been filed against them. The SALPN member is given a copy of the complaint and the opportunity to respond to the information in the complaint.

Once the SALPN member has provided a response or declined the opportunity to respond, the Counselling & Investigation Committee (C&I Committee) begins the investigation of the case file, which includes the complaint and the member’s response, if provided.

The C&I Committee may, following their initial review of the case file:

  • conduct any further investigation as considered necessary and appropriate;
  • determine there is no merit to the complaint;
  • resolve the matter with the consent of the person who filed the complaint and the SALPN member under investigation; or
  • determine whether or not the complaint should be referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing.

The case file is referred to an investigator if further investigation is required. Refer to this procedure manual for further details.
Counselling & Investigation and Discipline Committee Procedures

Once the investigator has completed their report, the C&I Committee will again review the entire case file, which now includes an investigation report. The C&I Committee must now determine, based on the evidence available to them, if they believe that the threshold for professional incompetence or misconduct could be proven at a discipline hearing.

If the C&I Committee determines that this threshold cannot be met, the C&I Committee decides that no further action is required, and the complaint file is closed.

If the C&I Committee determines that this threshold can likely be met, they will next determine, in the public interest, what is the best option to resolve the complaint. The C&I Committee has only two (2) options to resolve the complaint. They can either:

  1. Use a process that is mutually agreed upon by the SALPN member and the complainant that the C&I Committee believes serves the public interest, which might include:
    • Off the SALPN member the opportunity to take education that will address the concerns the C&I Committee has identified when reviewing the case file/complaint;

      OR 

  2. Refer the case file/complaint to the Discipline Committee for a hearing

A discipline hearing is a process similar to a criminal court proceeding:

  • The Discipline Committee becomes similar to a judge and jury in a criminal court case
  • There is a Court Reporter that is recording the hearing proceedings
  • A lawyer representing the C&I Committee will present the case to the Discipline Committee, outlining the charges against the SALPN member and evidence to support the charges
  • The SALPN member may have their lawyer (at their own expense) to represent them at the hearing. The process is unchanged if the SALPN member does not have a lawyer.
  • Both sides (the C&I Committee’s lawyer and the SALPN member or their lawyer) will call witnesses to testify and be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.
  • All witnesses called to testify will be under oath, to tell the truth

Failure of the SALPN member to attend the hearing does not delay or postpone the hearing.

The hearing room is set up similarly to a courtroom. Further details can be seen in this video- Hearing Process Video

After both sides have presented their case, the Discipline Committee is required to make a decision. The Discipline Committee will review all the evidence presented at the hearing. They will review the statements made by the witnesses. They review case law to assist in determining if the facts support a finding that the SALPN member committed professional incompetence or misconduct.

If the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional incompetence or misconduct, they have a range of options that they can order. These include:

  • Expelling the SALPN member from the SALPN;
  • Suspending the SALPN member for a specific period of time;
  • Requiring the SALPN member to complete certain conditions;
  • Allow the SALPN member to practice under specific conditions, which may include, but are not limited to:
    • not do specified types of work;
    • complete specified classes or courses of instruction;
    • obtain medical or other treatment or counselling or both;
  • Make any other order that it considers just.

In addition, the Discipline Committee can order the SALPN member to pay a fine and/or pay a portion of the investigation and hearing costs.

The case is dismissed if the Discipline Committee decides that the SALPN member is not guilty of professional incompetence or misconduct.

The Discipline Committee will, once a decision has been reached, provide a copy of the decision, with their reasons to:

  • The SALPN member who was subject to the complaint
  • The person who filed the complaint

The Discipline Committee may request that a copy of the decision with reasons is provided to the SALPN member’s employer if the SALPN member is found guilty of professional incompetence or misconduct.

This decision is not usually made on the day of the hearing. The committee aims to have the decision issued within 30 days following the close of the hearing.

The Act does not allow for an appeal of a decision made by the C&I Committee.

However, a member found guilty of professional incompetence or misconduct by the Discipline Committee has the right to appeal the decision. The SALPN member must file this appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision.

If the SALPN member was found not guilty at a hearing, the complainant does not have any appeal options.

Click the images and explainer video below for the full Complaints, Investigation and Discipline (CID) process.

Upcoming Hearings
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Disciplinary Proceedings

The Discipline Process is further described below. Click on the image or video to view. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Under section 43(1)of The Licensed Practical Nurses Act, 2000, an employer shall notify the SALPN if they terminate the employment of an LPN based on conduct or competence.

Section 43(2) of the Act requires that any person who employs another person to practise as a licensed practical nurse shall ensure that the person employed:

  • is a practising member; and
  • maintains his or her status as a practising member throughout the period of employment.

An employer can report this termination directly to the SALPN through the use of the online form found here.

A report of termination is not considered a complaint. If the information contained in the termination report leads to a complaint, the complaints process is followed.

An Agreement for Consensual Resolution (ACR) is a method used by the SALPN in resolving disciplinary matters without proceeding to a formal hearing (CPSS 2019). It is any agreement entered into between the SALPN and a member for the purpose of resolving a complaint (SCPP, 2022).

The ACR’s primary function is not to administer discipline but rather to educate the member to avoid future incidents of misconduct or incompetence. ACR agreements are structured to enhance job performance, increase practice proficiency, and ensure improved quality of care.

Members who decline the ACR agreement will continue through the disciplinary process and argue their claim at a formal hearing.

Professional incompetence is generally reflected in how the LPN practices. This can include, but is not limited to:

Working outside of the following:

  • Professional scope of practice
  • LPN’s personal level of competence
  • Employer’s policies

Professional misconduct generally relates to the behavior of the LPN. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Not meeting the Standards of Practice or the Code of Ethics
  • Failing to comply with an order of the C&I Committee, the Discipline Committee, or the SALPN Council
  • Conduct that is harmful to the best interests of the public or harms the standing of the profession
  • A breach of the Act or bylaws.

The definitions of Professional Incompetence and Professional Misconduct are taken from The Licensed Practical Nurses Act, 2000, which you can review here. In every case that is referred to the Discipline Committee, the Committee must determine whether or not the specific conduct referred to in the complaint fits within these definitions.

OFFICE LOCATION

SALPN
2208 Victoria Ave E
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada S4N 7B9

Phone: 306-525-1436
Toll Free: 888-257-2576
Fax: 306-347-7784

hours of operation

Monday - Thursday
9:00AM - 4:00PM
The office is closed on Fridays.

Closed All Statutory Holidays

CONTACT US

Registration: registration@salpn.com
Practice & Standards Inquiries: practice@salpn.com
Complaints: complaints@salpn.com

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SALPN acknowledges the organization resides on traditional land, referred to as Treaty 4 Territory, the original lands of the Cree, Ojibwe, Salteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We honour and respect the treaties that were made on all territories and are committed to our partnership with Indigenous Nations in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. 

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