RCDSO Update - March 18, 2020 (COVID-19)
Concerns have been raised that the RCDSO has not “ordered” the closure of non-emergency dental clinics.
The College cannot do this. We sought legal advice and confirmed we do not have the legal authority to close clinics. Our approach and advice is similar to most health care regulators under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), and by regulators in many other provinces; we are limited to “strongly recommending” that clinics are closed. The best advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Canadian health authorities is to ONLY provide emergency services and ONLY when you have the PPE and facilities to do that safely.
You are expected to consider the best interests of your patients and communities at all times. Ontario has declared a state of emergency, and the Canadian government is strongly urging all Canadians to practice social distancing.
We continue to raise these issues with the relevant authorities. In the meantime, you should be aware that if your clinic remains open other than for emergency care, Public Health could be notified and take strong action; the College would respond accordingly and this could be seen by a committee as an act of professional misconduct. Complaints from the public or other dentists would also compel us to investigate.You should follow the consistent advice of all health authorities across Canada: provide only emergency services, where appropriate.