Governing Legislation and By-Laws

The Dentistry Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 govern how dentistry is regulated in Ontario. RCDSO by-laws govern how the College operates.

Regulated Health Professions Act

The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) applies to 26 health professions and the 26 colleges that regulate them. These health regulatory colleges set standards for their health professions and make sure each profession complies with the RHPA and related laws. Anyone who calls themselves a regulated health professional must be a member of their regulatory College.

The Dentistry Act

The Dentistry Act sets out the scope of practice and controlled or authorized acts for dentists in Ontario.

The Act, through the Health Professions Procedural Code, gives RCDSO the authority to develop regulations that establish obligations and requirements for dentists to practice in Ontario.

Any regulation developed by RCDSO must be circulated to all dentists for their consideration and response. A proposed regulation must also be approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, a provincial government cabinet committee. It must be signed into law by the Lieutenant-Governor to come into effect.

The Dentistry Act also gives RCDSO the authority to develop by-laws. By-laws usually have a broad scope and are generally concerned with administrative matters within our College.

College By-Laws

Our by-laws govern how the College operates. They outline how meetings are held, the committees we have, our code of conduct, how elections are held, and a great deal more. The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) gives our Council the power to enact by-laws.

Here’s how by-laws are made.

  • A new by-law (or changes to an existing by-law) is drafted by a College committee, depending on the subject.
  • The by-law is presented at a Council meeting. If approved it is sent to all Ontario dentists, other dental health care organizations and members of the public for review and feedback.
  • Feedback from the 60-day consultation is considered by the committee and, if needed, additional changes are made to the by-law.
  • The by-law returns to Council for final approval. 
  • When approved, the by-law comes into effect.

*You can see all of the College’s by-laws by clicking here.

On November 18, 2021, RCDSO Council approved amendments to by-law 10. This amended by-law is not in effect until January 2023, and is being posted for reference purposes only.