Ontario Dental Assistants Deserve to Be a Regulated Health Care Profession

Today I had the privilege of meeting with Grace Ianucci and Elroy Officer who are both Senior Faculty in the dental assistants program at George Brown College in Toronto. I received a very gracious welcome from these wonderful teachers and a tour of their brand new impressive facility located on the Lakeshore in downtown Toronto.

I learned that Ontario is the only Canadian province where the provincial government does not consider dental assistants as a regulated health profession. 8 provinces have considered dental assistants a regulated profession since the 70’s! Further, Ontario has the largest membership of Dental assistant’s by far, with over 8600 registered members! http://www.odaa.org/Document.aspx?ID=28

The good news is that the Health Professionals Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) of Ontario invited Dental assistant’s to submit a proposal to regulate dental assistants under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).  This will allow dental assistants to define the scope of their duties that would change the archaic Dentistry Act of 1991. http://www.hprac.org/en/projects/Dental_Assistants.asp

Dentists would therefore be required to only hire registered dental assistants to perform the tasks defined in their scope of practice ex. Taking x-rays, suctioning, sealants, rubber-dam placement, the list goes on.  This ofcourse would protect all patients in the dental office.  Unfortunately, there have been numerous delays in since 2011 mostly because of the backwards thinking of then Minister of the then Minister of health David Caplan. The current Minister has stated that she requires HPRAC advise on the issue of Dental Assistants by December 31, 2013.  The 8600 Dental assistant’s are anxiously waiting for this decision and to finally be a regulated health profession.

I have the privilege of working with dental assistants day in and day out and they are talented, skilled, gifted, professional, knowledgeable and passionate about dentistry. Dental assistant’s have extensive training and are truly the heartbeat of the dental office.  Ontario has to get with the times!  Dental assistants deserve to be a regulated body and have my 100% support and I ask you to support them as well by following this important issue. Social media is a great way to spread the word so everyone can be aware of this important issue.

James Noble

May 28th, 2013