Frequently Asked Questions

Do Ontario dentists have malpractice protection?

Through the College’s Professional Liability Program (PLP), every dentist registered in Ontario has protection for errors and omissions that might occur while engaging in dental practice.

What if my dentist has retired or is deceased?

PLP protection extends to former members of the College, including those who have retired or are deceased, for errors and omissions that occurred while they were registered to practise in Ontario. 

Why does the College ensure that its members have malpractice protection?

As of 2013, all regulated health professionals in Ontario are legally required to have professional liability protection. The College has provided this service to its members for over forty years, both for their and for the public’s benefit and protection: dentists benefit from quality legal advice and assistance and patients are assured that compensation is available if they are harmed as a result of negligent dental care.

What should I, as a patient, do if I believe I have been harmed by a dentist’s negligence?

It would be best to consult with a lawyer, but if you choose not to and wish to advance a legal claim, you should write directly to the dentist to advise him or her of your concerns and expectations for a resolution. The dentist will then contact PLP for advice and assistance.

Can I contact PLP directly?

No. PLP can only become involved in a matter at the request of a member. Any patient seeking compensation from an Ontario dentist as a result of alleged negligence must therefore directly advise the dentist of the claim or potential claim.

Is a complaint to the College against the dentist sufficient notice of a claim or potential claim?

No. PLP is separate and apart from the College’s complaints (ICRC) process. Therefore, even if you have lodged a complaint against the dentist, you still have to notify him or her of your legal claim.

Is there a time limit to start a lawsuit?

In Ontario, a patient has two years from the time he or she knew or ought to have known the facts upon which the claim for negligence or malpractice is based to commence a lawsuit in relation to those events.

Does a letter to the dentist advising him or her of my claim stop the running of the limitation period?

No. Merely advising someone of a claim or potential claim does not stop the limitation period from running.

I still have questions. What should I do?

If you have any further questions about suing a dentist, you are strongly encouraged to obtain independent legal advice.