Considering a Complaint

If you are concerned about the care provided by a nurse, one way to address this concern is by submitting a complaint. Before you make this decision, it’s important that you review the information below to ensure we are the best avenue to address your concern and that you have all the information you need to submit a complaint. 

If you have any questions about the information on this page, reach out by email at conduct@nscn.ca. We will respond within 2 business days if you do not reach us immediately.  

What Type of Complaints Can We Address?

If you are considering submitting a complaint, you must first be aware of what we are legally able to address. We have the authority to address complaints:  

In some situations, we do not have the authority to address your concern.  For example, we cannot address concerns about:

  • Other healthcare providers  
  • Workplace practices 

Please contact us if you require assistance to determine whether your concern meets the type of complaint that we have the authority to address.

Ways to Address the Complaint 

In some situations, it is more appropriate for a nurse’s employer to deal with an issue through their own local disciplinary procedures.  This is a suitable approach where public safety is not at risk and when the employer can support the nurse to improve their practice.  

Before you consider submitting a complaint, you should first attempt to raise your concern(s) directly with the nurse, the nurse’s employer and/or the patient relations team at the health care institution where you were treated.  You may find, depending on the nature of the concern, that the matter can be resolved in a fair and efficient manner without our involvement.  

However, you should consider submitting a complaint directly to NSCN if:

  • It is not appropriate for you to report your concerns to the nurse or employer for any reason
  • You have reported your concerns and have not received a response in a reasonable timeframe
  • You think the nurse poses a threat to public safety

If you are unsure about what direction to take, please reach out to us by email or phone to discuss in more detail.

When to Submit a Complaint

If you are considering making a complaint, it is best to do so after you have had time to reflect on your concerns, review the information on our website and to explore all avenues to address your concerns.  

Although there is not a time limit to file a complaint, it is more difficult to investigate incidents that took place a number of years ago.  Additionally, in very serious cases, it may be necessary for us to act quickly to restrict a nurse’s licence until the complaint is investigated. 

Making a Complaint on Behalf of Someone Else

You can make a complaint about the care provided to another person, such as a family member or loved one. We need to know that you have appropriate authority to make the complaint as there is the potential that their health information may be disclosed in the complaints process.

The table below shows which individual(s) need to give authority to make the complaint:

In order for you to make a complaint about the care provided to… You must be given authority by (or you must be) 
Another adult who has the capacity to consent   The adult who received care
Another adult who does not have the capacity to consent   The legally authorized representative of the adult who received care
Deceased person   The Executor or Administrator of the deceased person’s estate
Child under the age of 18 Depending on the circumstances, all parents/guardians and/or the child

Where authorization is required, you must submit a copy of the Authorization to Submit Complaint Form along with the complaint. 

The authorization form is not required if you are an employer making a complaint regarding the conduct of a nurse in the course of their employment or if you are a nurse making a complaint regarding the conduct of a nurse related to your work.

Who Will Be Notified About My Complaint?

When we receive your complaint, we will notify the nurse(s) named in your complaint and provide them with a copy of your complaint. Click here for more information about privacy considerations during the complaint process

Respect is the Foundation of Our Complaints Process 

We are committed to fostering a fair, respectful, professional, and cooperative complaints process.  We will treat you with patience and respect throughout the complaints process and we expect the same in return.  If you have any questions or need guidance, reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you. 

Preparing a Complaint

If after reading through this information you would like to submit a complaint, click here to begin preparing your complaint.  

If you have any questions, reach out to us at conduct@nscn.ca.  


As an organization, we uphold public trust by being accountable and transparent. One of the ways we do this is by sharing a general overview of our conduct processes in a way that everyone can understand. Due to the nature of this work however, these processes can be complex and there are ultimately a number of factors that determine the best course of action to promote the public interest. The material presented in this website is general information only, and is not legal advice. If there is any inconsistency between this information and the Nursing Act, regulations and bylaws, the legislation prevails. As a result, it is best to contact a member of our team, your legal counsel or a union representative to ensure you fully understand the information presented on our website and within the Nursing Act, regulations, and bylaws.