Anyone who has knowledge of a breach of a professional duty by a geologist may send the Syndic a request for inquiry. The Syndic is a geologist retained by the Ordre to serve the public. The role of the Syndic is to conduct an inquiry when he receives information to the effect that a geologist may have violated the Code of ethics of geologists or the Professional Code.
How to proceed
A request for inquiry may be sent to the Syndic by anyone—a geologist, a client or a member of the public.
If you have a complaint to make about a geologist concerning his or her professional practice, you are invited to submit a request for inquiry by the Syndic using form S-1. In the absence of this form, you must provide the Syndic with the following information in writing:
- a detailed description of the alleged facts and acts; a an accurate chronology of the events;
- all available evidence concerning the facts and acts relating to your request (letters, e-mails, transcripts of telephone conversations, personal notes, etc.);
- the name and contact information of any person who can corroborate your claims, if applicable.
The syndic must first determine whether your request is receivable, i.e. if the facts described may represent a violation of professional regulations. In case of a positive finding by the syndic, an inquiry is launched.
In some cases, the syndic may find that other types of intervention than the lodging of a complaint before the Disciplinary Council would be more appropriate. For example, the syndic may contact the Geologist directly to have the necessary corrective actions taken or the syndic may provide guidance to help you attain a mutually satisfactory settlement with the Geologist.
Following his inquiry, the Syndic may decide one of the following:
- to refer the case to the Professional inspection committee (if it concerns a geologist’s competence rather than an ethical matter); or,
- to file a complaint with the Disciplinary council (a quasi-judicial body) if he or she has sufficient evidence in this respect; or,
- to conclude that there is no call for disciplinary action (however, in the event of a minor violation, the Syndic may make written recommendations so as to correct the situation in future).
At any time before a complaint is filed, the Syndic may suggest reconciliation if he deems that a resolution may be achieved in light of the alleged facts supporting the request for inquiry.
In the case where a complaint is not filed, the Syndic must provide the person who requested the inquiry with a written explanation of the reasons for the decision and if that person is not satisfied, he or she may appeal it before the Review committee of the Order. A request for revision of a decision by the Syndic is to be made by letter to the Secretary of the Ordre.
The Review committee must, after studying the case and material provided by the Syndic, render its opinion within 90 days of the request.
In its opinion, the Committee may either:
- conclude that there are no grounds on which to file a complaint with the Disciplinary council; or
- suggest to the Syndic that he completes his inquiry; or
- propose that the case be referred to the Professional inspection committee; or
- decide that there are grounds on which to file a complaint with the Disciplinary council.
When the Review committee concludes that there are no grounds to lodge a formal complaint with the Disciplinary council, the person who lodged the initial complaint is thereby advised. If this person is not satisfied, a private complaint can be lodged directly with the Disciplinary council. In such a situation, it is recommended to retain the services of a lawyer.
The inquiry by the Syndic is strictly confidential. The Syndic retains full independence from the Ordre at all times.