International News

Ontario dentists and dental hygienists remain at odds over allowed procedures

The government of Ontario is reviewing competing proposals from the College of Dental Hygienists and the College of Dentistry to refine regulations for the practice of dental hygiene in the wake of 1991 reform legislation. Dental hygienists claim that the legislation unfairly restricts their activities by requiring a dentist's "order" for such procedures as scaling. Ontario dentists, on the other hand, argue that the procedures should only be carried out at their request and under their general supervision.

Among the goals of the Ontario Dental Hygiene Act of 1991 was to make dental hygiene self-regulating and separate from dentistry. However, the act contained language requiring a dentist's approval of scaling, root planing and curettage. Dental hygienists have asked for an amendment to the act that would only require a dentist's approval under certain circumstances. The College of Dentistry has submitted its own proposal opposing the change. Some dental hygienists in Ontario already work independently in alternative settings, such as nursing homes or mobile dental hygiene vans. They maintain contact with offsite dentists who review patient records and provide any required "orders" by facsimile or refer patients to a dentist's office for screening before conducting a restricted procedure. According to Fran Richardson of the College of Dental Hygienists, the professional groups are still negotiating but major differences remain. Talks may go on for months, although the government hopes to resolve the issue by the end of the year.

The Ontario Professional Foresters Assocation (OPFA) Seeks Licensure

The Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) is moving forward with its plan to seek licensure in Ontario for the forestry professions.

Initiating the process in early 1996, OPFA held a planning session followed by the distribution of three discussion papers and an all-member vote on whether to proceed. Following an affirmative member vote, legislation was drafted and the Minister of Natural Resources, who must agree to the proposal, provided the draft documents. OPFA seeks licensure because it says mandatory, legislated standards, rather than voluntary ones arenecessary to ensure it meets its goal of responsibility to the public good.

The Professional Forester, April 1998.

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