After an Investigation

Once an investigation is complete, we determine how to proceed with the complaint based on what it is the best interest of the public. We consider factors such as whether the information gathered during the investigation supports the complaint, the seriousness of the issues raised, public interest and the philosophy of right-touch regulation.  

Possible Outcomes after an Investigation

The person who made the complaint and the nurse named in the complaint will be notified in writing on the outcome of the investigation and any next steps. At this stage, there are several possible outcomes: 

  • Informally resolve the complaint:  When it is in the interest of the public, a complaint can be resolved informally. When this is an option, important considerations include whether the nurse is willing to learn from and address the issues, and the nature of their conduct. Informal resolutions allow for flexibility in creating an outcome tailored to the unique circumstances of a complaint and can include a wide range of terms, such as education, treatment, ongoing monitoring, developing reflective essays or other appropriate terms. 
  • Authorize a nurse‚Äôs resignation: If the nurse would like to resign from NSCN, we may authorize their resignation where we determine it is appropriate. A nurse who has been named in a complaint cannot resign without our authorization. 
  • Refer to the Fitness-to-Practise process: If it appears that the nurse has an incapacity, (medical, physical, mental, or emotional health condition, disorder or addiction that renders the nurse unable to practise with competence or may have endangered the health or safety of clients), we may refer to the Fitness to Practise process. Click here for more information on this process
  • Refer to the Complaints Committee:  When a complaint is referred to the Complaints Committee, the committee will carefully consider the information gathered during the investigation and determine if further action is required. Click here for more information on this process
  • Dismiss the complaint: at times, we may decide not to take further action on a complaint.  In those circumstances, we provide a written decision outlining why the complaint is being dismissed, which we share with the person who made the complaint and the nurse named in the complaint. Some possible reasons for dismissal include:
    • The complaint is not within our jurisdiction
    • Information obtained during the investigation does not substantiate the allegations in the complaint
    • The complaint is frivolous, vexatious or constitutes an abuse of process 
    • Conduct or behaviour under investigation, even if shown to have occurred, does not appear to amount to a breach of the practice standards or code of ethics, and does not otherwise constitute professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming the profession, incompetence or incapacity  
    • Processing the complaint would not advance the objects of NSCN 

If a complaint is dismissed, the person who made the complaint has the right to request that the Complaints Committee review our decision. Click here for more information on the review process

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.