The Discipline Committee hears matters of professional misconduct or incompetence.
Cases are referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing when the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) determines, after conducting an investigation, that there is no other recourse that would address the concerns that they have about a dental hygienist’s conduct or competence.
Discipline hearings are similar to court proceedings. They are open to the public.
To conduct a hearing, members of the Discipline Committee sit in panels. Each discipline panel must be comprised of at least three members – two public members and one must be a dental hygienist member of Council. Panels are typically comprised of five members.
The panel decides (makes a finding) whether a dental hygienist has committed an act of professional misconduct or incompetence. If the panel makes such a finding, the panel will then decide the appropriate penalty. A panel can make any of the following orders:
- Direct the Registrar of the College to revoke the dental hygienist’s certificate of registration,
- Direct the Registrar of the College to suspend the dental hygienist’s certificate, and/or
- Direct the Registrar of the College to impose specified terms, conditions or limitations on the dental hygienist’s certificate.
If a panel finds the dental hygienist has committed an act of professional misconduct, it can also make an Order:
- requiring the dental hygienist to appear before the panel to be reprimanded,
- requiring the dental hygienist to pay a fine of not more than $35,000 to the Ontario Minister of Finance,
- if the act of professional misconduct was the sexual abuse of a patient, requiring the dental hygienist to reimburse the College for funding provided for the patient for counselling and therapy, and requiring the dental hygienist to post security to guarantee payment.
If the panel finds the dental hygienist has committed an act of professional misconduct by sexually abusing a patient, the panel must:
- reprimand the dental hygienist, and
- revoke the dental hygienist’s certificate if the sexual abuse consisted of or included certain acts. Such a revocation must be for a minimum of 5 years.
The panel may also require the dental hygienist to pay all or part of the legal, investigation and hearing costs and expenses.
A copy of the Decision and Reasons of the Discipline Committee may be found here.
The Discipline Committee also hears applications for reinstatement – an application by a former registrant of the College whose license was suspended or revoked by a direction of the Discipline Committee to be reinstated as a registrant. To date, the Discipline Committee has not convened any reinstatement hearings.
The laws and rules by which the Discipline Committee conducts hearings are the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, the Statutory Powers Procedure Act and the Rules of Procedure of the Discipline Committee of the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario.
You can see a list of the members of the Discipline Committee here.
For more information about the Discipline Committee, please contact the Director, Professional Conduct at 416 961-6234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.