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College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario
The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario regulates the practice of dental hygiene in the interest of the overall health and safety of the public of Ontario.

self-service  FAQs

About the Sexual Abuse Prevention Plan

The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, (RHPA), mandates development of a sexual abuse prevention plan. Under the RHPA, sexual abuse of clients is an act of professional misconduct. The Act requires the reporting of sexual abuse by health professionals and provides for funding for therapy and counselling for clients who have been sexually abused by dental hygienists.

The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) is committed to providing dental hygienists with information and resources to assist them in treating their clients responsibly, consistent with the RHPA, and in a manner that reflects the profession’s commitment to respecting the personal dignity of every individual who is entrusted to their care. The CDHO has developed a policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse of clients. The CDHO recognizes the seriousness and extent of injury that sexual abuse causes.

Sexual abuse/impropriety by dental hygienists while providing oral health care will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

According to Section 1 of Schedule 2 to the RHPA, the definition of  “sexual abuse” of a client by a member means,
  • sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the dental hygienist and the client;
  • touching, of a sexual nature, of the client by the dental hygienist; or
  • behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the dental hygienist towards the client.

“Sexual nature” does not include touching, behaviour, or remarks of a clinical nature appropriate to the service provided.

The mandatory penalty for a finding of sexual abuse, is revocation of the dental hygienist’s certificate of registration for a minimum of five years.


Sexual Abuse Prevention Plan Evaluation Report (2014)

Other References: