Dispute & Resolution Process


All students and faculty of ADLER degree, transition equivalency, graduate diplomas, certificates, and courses and all ADLER employees are entitled to rights as defined in Ontario by the Human Rights Code and guided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. With respect to disputes, including complaints, grievances, and academic or administrative appeals, those rights are protected by a set of informal and formal procedures and guidelines designed to deal with any such issues.

The Dispute Resolution Process can be accessed by ADLER Community Members in the following circumstances:

  • A student is appealing the outcomes of an Academic Standing Committee
  • A complaint has been made regarding a faculty or staff member at ADLER
  • A report of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or other human rights violation has been submitted about any member of the ADLER community
  • A human rights violation related to school policies, procedures or actions is alleged

Any resolution process, whether formal or informal, must include the following principles of natural justice. The natural justice principle of the “presumption of innocence until proven guilty” shall underlie all policies and procedures with respect to disputes, including appeals, complaints, and grievances. Due processes presented herein are designed to be reasonable, understandable, and communicated to students, staff, and faculty in clear and unequivocal terms. 

Any interim sanctions that are put in place during an investigation are not a comment on guilt or innocence. They may only be imposed under the following guidelines:

  • they must be time limited, usually until the completion of the Committee of Inquiry process 
  • they must be clearly defined and communicated
  • they must be minimally restrictive to achieve the intended purpose
  • they must be implemented only to prevent further harm or possible harm related to the complaint

All persons involved should:

  • know and understand the nature of the complaint,
  • have the right to be heard as part of the resolution process and before any disciplinary action is taken,
  • have the right to a fair and expeditious resolution to the dispute. 

Due processes have been set up as described below.


For students or faculty members, complaints or grievances are addressed to the Dean or Director of the program in which the student is enrolled, or the faculty member teaches. Employee complaints or grievances are addressed to the Human Resources department. If the complaint or grievance involves the program Dean, Director, or supervisor mentioned above, the complainant reports their concern directly to the Provost for academic matters or to the Chief Administrative Officer for other matters, in which case they may designate an appropriate party to hear the complaint or grievance.


To lodge a complaint about any member of the Adler Community, please use the following general process.

Complaints should be in writing (email) and include the following information:

  • Names of the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses or additional persons involved in the incident or situation.
  • Dates, times, and context relevant to the situation.
  • Documentation related to the complaint.
  • a clear statement of the hoped-for outcome.

 In most cases, there should be evidence that an attempt has been made to address or resolve the situation informally, which should be described in the complaint. NOTE in the case of harassment, abuse or sexual violence, the person experiencing the harassment, abuse or violence is not required to attempt to resolve the situation if doing so would expose them or others to increased risk of further abuse.

To Make a Complaint or Report Student Conduct and Behaviour

Please send your concern or complaint in writing to the Dean of the Faculty in which the student is registered.

To Make a Complaint or Report Faculty Conduct and Behaviour

Please send your concern or complaint in writing to the Dean of the Faculty in which the faculty member teaches. If your concern relates to the Dean of the Faculty, please direct your concern to the Provost.

To Make a Complaint or Report Staff Conduct and Behaviour

Please send your concern or complaint in writing to the Human Resources Department. HR@adler.ca


For Academic Complaints or Disputes, please see the section of this Academic Calendar on the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). This section is for:

  • Human Rights violation
  • Discrimination and Harassment
  • Student Appeals

Upon receiving a complaint, report or grievance that falls under this policy, the Provost, Chief Administrative Officer, Dean or designee (depending on the position of the alleged accused) examines the request, and within seven business days engages the relevant parties in conversations to ensure that any possible informal measures have been taken to work through the complainant’s grievance, if appropriate.

If the Provost, Dean or Chief Administrative Officer feels that there is a perceived, potential or real conflict of interest related to their participation in this process, they may recuse themselves and request the matter be directed to either the Provost, Chief Administrative Officer, President, or other senior administrators unrelated to the matter.

If no resolution is forthcoming and it is determined that the complaint or grievance has merit, they will convene a Committee of Inquiry (see Committees of Inquiry Procedures) to deal with the complaint or grievance no less than ten business days from the date of receipt of the written complaint or grievance or appeal.

*Note:  The following instances are typically not included in a grievance procedure:

  • Dissatisfaction with a School Policy or Procedure or its general application on the grounds that it is generally unfair or inappropriate. In the case of such dissatisfaction, students, faculty, employees, and other stakeholders are represented on various governance committees through which their input into School Policy and Procedures is welcome
  • Purely personal conflicts with ADLER faculty or other employees
  • Complaints regarding program requirements or grades except where they have been applied or determined contrary to stated policy

All students are invited to speak informally with their program Dean or Director to discuss any dissatisfaction and to see if a resolution can be achieved.


When a complaint or referral is made, the Provost, or Chief Administrative Officer, in consultation with related Deans, faculty members, directors or the Director of Clinical Training, or the Director of Human Resources, may determine that the respondent be removed from academic, professional, or other activities at the school, for the duration of the investigation.

Sanctions must be designed to have minimal impact while achieving the goals of the sanctions.

Notification of sanction must be accompanied by a written justification and a description of appropriate time or other limits and sent to the respondent as soon as the determination is made.

Sanctions are not indicative of guilt or a judgment on the complaint, but a measure to prevent harm to the public, the respondent, and other members of the Adler community.

Once any investigations or committees are formed to investigate the complaint or report, the impact of sanctions will be evaluated and, if appropriate to the committee recommendations, mitigated in consultation with the respondent.


No faculty or staff member of ADLER, regardless of position, shall be involved in a decision-making capacity, in any dispute resolution, investigation, or Committee of Inquiry process, in which allegations, complaints, or grievances involve them to any extent. No person shall be part of any complaint, grievance, or dispute resolution process for a direct report.


Appeals of Academic Standing Committee recommendations are heard by internal school tribunals and do not constitute legal proceedings. They are internal to the school and governed by the policies and procedures of Adler Graduate Professional School.

In case students wish to appeal a decision of their program Dean or Director regarding a matter that has been considered by their program Academic Standing Committee, the appeal must be presented in writing to the Provost and should include:

  • The rationale for the appeal, including reasons for dissatisfaction with any decision,
  • any documentation relevant to the appeal,
  • evidence that there has been an attempt to work the decision through with the parties involved or reasons why such an attempt is impossible or inappropriate,
  • a clear statement of the hoped-for outcome.

The Provost will consider the appeal, including conducting informal interviews with any of the parties, in an attempt to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution. If the Provost determines there is merit to the appeal and that no resolution is forthcoming, they appoint a Committee of Inquiry in accord with the procedures below. If the Provost determines there is no merit to the appeal , the Provost will relay this information to the student directly within 5 business days.

In the case of appeals of a decision of the Research Ethics Board (REB), please follow the procedures outlined in the Research Ethics Board Policy.


Any sanctions imposed related to the original complaint or grievance can be continued until the resolution of the appeal process, with the same stipulations. Please see the section Academic Standing Committee for more information on sanctions while the Academic Standing Committee is in progress. 


No reprisal of any kind shall be taken by any administrator, faculty member, representative, or employee of the school against any person bringing an allegation, information, complaint, grievance, or appeal under any of the procedures in this Academic Calendar.

A complainant found to have been intentionally dishonest in making allegations, or to have made them maliciously, is subject to disciplinary measures including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, remediation, termination, and dismissal from the school.



A concern, complaint, grievance or appeal may be referred to a Committee of Inquiry after one or more of the following conditions are met:

  • A member of the ADLER Community has made a complaint regarding a member of the faculty, administration, staff member or employee to the Dean, Director of Supervisor to whom that person is accountable.
  • A member of the ADLER Community has appealed a decision by either a Dean, Director or Supervisor, or a recommendation made by an Academic Standing Committee,  and the Provost has either attempted an informal resolution that was not successful, or has determined that process would be insufficient to resolve the matter


Before convening a Committee of Inquiry, the Provost or Chief Administrative Officer must establish either that:

a)      a process of informal resolution has been attempted and was unsuccessful or

b)     no informal resolution is possible prior to the convening of the Committee of Inquiry. This may occur in the case of allegations of violence, sexual violence or abuse. 


Upon determining that initial resolution of a complaint, grievance, or appeal is not forthcoming, or upon receiving a request from a Dean, Director, supervisor, or President’s designee, the Provost or Chief Administrative Officer will convene a Committee of Inquiry. This must occur within ten business days of receipt of the referral or complaint.

The individual against whom the complaint, grievance, or other allegation has been leveled will be informed in writing that a Committee of Inquiry has been convened, by the Chair of the Committee, with the allegations clearly stated, within five business days of the Committee being formed. The Provost or Chief Administrative Officer will appoint three persons to sit on the Committee.

The membership of such a committee depends on the status of the parties involved, as follows:

  • When an alleged incident involves at least one student, the Committee of Inquiry consists of a minimum of three individuals. One faculty member, one administrator, and if the student requests it, one student representative appointed by the Student Council. If the student does not request a student be a member of the Committee, one additional faculty member will be appointed. 
  • In circumstances other than those listed above, the Committee of Inquiry consists of three members appropriate to the parties involved, including one peer.

In all cases, the composition of the Committee will have at least one functional-line role-peer of the person against whom the complaint has been levied, and at least one individual from a different functional reporting line (distinguished among Governance, Finance, Administration, and Academic).

All members of the Committee of Inquiry must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement relating to the materials, documentation and information that is submitted or requested as part of the investigation.

The Committee hears the grievance or complaint put forth by the complainant as well as a response from the respondent and witnesses identified by each party. The Committee will examine all evidence it deems necessary. The rights of all parties will be observed, and privacy and confidentiality will be protected as much as possible. The Committee may conduct as much of its business as is practical through written correspondence, and through meetings and direct interviews with relevant individuals.

The Committee, following appropriate investigation, carefully considers the grievance, complaint, or charge. If necessary, the Committee may hold a hearing to determine the facts of the case and to seek a settlement of the grievance satisfactory to the parties. The complaining party, the respondent, and other individuals with relevant information all have the right to present information for the Committee’s consideration. At any hearing called by the Committee, no party may be represented by an attorney, nor shall any recording or stenographic transcript be made. No person is allowed to record any portion of the hearing. The Committee shall have the right to seek legal counsel for advice, as do the complainant and respondent.


In the absence of extenuating circumstances, the Committee of Inquiry shall meet within fifteen business days of its appointment. They will deliver their report to the Provost or Chief Administrative Officer who convened the Committee of Inquiry within 30 business days of the final hearing or interview in the investigation.

As a final internal review, the Committee of Inquiry will deliver a decision and report to the Provost or Chief Administrative Officer. They will consult with two representatives of the Advisory Council who are not involved in the dispute in any way. The Provost or Chief Administrative Officer will provide the report and a recommendation to The President, who then issues a final decision about whether to accept the recommendation of the Committee of Inquiry. This process is to be completed expeditiously and in no case will take more than 60 business days from the date of the appointment of the Committee of Inquiry.

At the conclusion of its process, the Committee of Inquiry recommends a resolution, including but not limited to:

  • a finding that no subsequent action is warranted
  • a course of action to resolve the complaint agreed by mutual consent of the parties involved
  •  recommendation to the Provost or Chief Administrative Officer of reprimand or other disciplinary measures, which may include some form of remediation appropriate to the infraction, termination of employment, dismissal from the school, or other appropriate action.

After review by the representatives of the Advisory Council, the action of the CEO in response to a recommendation by a Committee of Inquiry is final. However, the complainant may also present their grievance to the Human Rights Commission of Canada or exercise their rights under Canadian law.

Permanent files of the Committee are maintained indefinitely by the President and made available only to those specifically authorized by them.

Participants in a Committee of Inquiry (complainants, respondents, witnesses, and other individuals who are interviewed, or provide information to the committee) may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are interviewed or provide information. This agreement would cover any information revealed during the investigation, and any reports or recommendations which result from the investigation.