Council highlights for June 16, 2022
The 431st Council meeting of the RCDSO took place online via Zoom on Thursday, June 16, 2022. The meeting was also livestreamed; a video recording of the Council session will be available on the College’s YouTube channel.
RCDSO President Sandy Venditti highlighted a considerable amount of work done by the College in a variety of areas including long-term planning and topical issues such as Strategic Planning and COVID-19 Guidance. She noted that the College has continued to build strong relationships with key stakeholders and highlighted the next RCDSO Connect session on June 28, 2022.
RCDSO Strategic Plan
Council was presented with a draft Strategic Plan 2023-2025, based on consultation and engagement with Council, staff, membership, and external stakeholders.
Three themes, all anchored to the College mandate, have emerged consistently, and have informed the development of the pillars of the plan:
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Emerging issues
Within each pillar, a strategic objective is stated and under each objective are areas of focus (key initiatives or areas of work). Some objectives from the 2020-23 Strategic Plan are proposed to be carried over.
In addition, as a result of the consultations, and to align with other colleges, revisions to the mission and vision statement were proposed. Revisions to the vision were minor to reflect that dentistry is part of the broader oral health care landscape. The full draft strategic plan is available here.
Following the presentation, Council discussed the progress so far and approved further circulation and consultations over the summer months with stakeholders. A survey looking for feedback will be sent to Council, the Executive Committee, Ontario dentists, members of the public, RCDSO staff and various external stakeholders/organizations.
Find the survey here: RCDSO 2023-25 Strategic Plan Consultation Survey (surveymonkey.com) Deadline for participation is July 22nd.
A final draft, incorporating that feedback, will be provided to Council at its September 2022 meeting.
COVID-19 Guidance revision and consultation
Council was updated on the College’s plans to review current COVID-19 Guidelines.
On June 11, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health lifted provincial mask mandates for most settings and has now released separate guidelines for health care settings, including dental practices. The Ministry guidance is available online and it relies on Public Health Ontario’s Interim IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID 19. Dentists should note that the guidelines continue to recommend masking for all healthcare workers and staff.
The landscape has changed: there is a significantly reduced rate of hospitalizations and ICU admittance. The College is targeting the end of June to draft pared-down guidance that reflects recent updates and removes outdated and redundant content.
In the meantime, dentists must continue to follow the College’s existing COVID-19 guidance, which includes patient and staff masking.
Council was also updated on plans to review guidelines for fallow times and closed operatories.
This summer, the RCDSO plans to consult an expanded group of subject matter experts to focus on the existing requirements for fallow times and closed operatories, given the evolving pandemic. Revised guidelines are targeted for August.
A fee increase of $485 was approved at the June 16 Council meeting. The fee increase is related to managing ongoing financial risks to the Professional Liability Program (PLP).
In 2021, PLP accounted for 31% of the College’s expenses. With these increasing costs, it’s clear that PLP is not adequately funded. This impacts the College’s financial position and its ability to fulfill our legislated regulatory programs.
In Ontario, we continue to pay significantly less for liability coverage than the other provinces. RCDSO’s current cost is $680 per year; Quebec’s liability costs to the profession is $1,375 annually; and private coverage starts at $2,100 annually.
An inflationary adjustment was also incorporated into the fee increase. Fees were held static in 2022, but inflation has been surging to historic levels.
This decision was taken very thoughtfully and a considerable amount of due diligence and discussion led Council to this conclusion.
The bylaw changes for the fee increase will be circulated to members.
Audited Financial Statements 2021
Council heard an update on the College’s 2021 Audited Financial Statements. Detailed financial commentary was provided, but it’s important to note that the audit opinion was unqualified, also known as a clean audit.
Council approved the 2021 audited financial statements and appointment of Tinkham LLP to conduct the RCDSO Audit for 2022.
Registrar & CEO Update
Registrar & CEO, Dan Faulkner updated Council on several items:
- The College is nearing completion of its revised Candidate Pre-Orientation On-Line Module. It is a requirement for all members of the profession seeking candidacy in the district elections and for Committee appointments. It will also be strongly recommended to all public members who are appointed to Council.
- The Practice Advisory Service (receives incoming inquiries from the profession and public) now reports to the Communications Department (previously reporting to Quality Assurance).
- The refreshed, modernized RCDSO website is being tested and finalized and is planned to launch in June. The College will take feedback on the site in the first weeks of launch.
- The 2021 RCDSO Annual Report will be published on a new platform (‘Rise’) and include Committee and other College accomplishments, key College data and an interactive, modern design.
- The next (and second) RCDSO Connect will be held on June 28. The first RCDSO Connect was a successful way to inform and engage the profession. This session will include information on our standards, policies, and practice advisory services. Drs. Nancy Di Santo, Nalin Bhargava and Richard Hunter will participate on a panel about their experience working with the College.
- The College is planning to revise and update its COVID-19 guidance and to consult further on fallow times and closed operatories.
- The College is making strong progress on the backlog of investigations. As of May 2022, there are 693 open cases and compared to October 2021, this is a decrease of 27%. As of April 2022, the College has completed all but five cases started in 2017 to 2019. In less than one year, there has been 96% reduction in all 2017-2019 cases.
- Several stakeholder meetings have been held with provincial, national and international regulators. The College continues to actively support collaboration with the oral health regulators in Ontario through bi-monthly meetings of the four Registrars.
- The College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta and a new Association are being separated from the existing Alberta Dental Association and College. More information can be found at: Divestment of College & Association - College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta (cdsab.ca)
- The College welcomed two new Directors in May: Susan Taylor, Director Quality and Lesley Byrne, Director Communications
Conflict of interest
Every Council member must complete a declaration form that includes questions related to the eligibility criteria and potential conflicts. In addition, one of the standards in the College Performance Measurement Framework (CPMF) includes an annual conflict of interest form as well as an opportunity at each council meeting to declare an immediate conflict.
Council approved the amendment to By-law 13 (Article 13.5) to make Council members’ Annual Conflict of Interest Declaration Forms publicly available, commencing the September 2022 Council meeting. Those forms would be available as part of the Council material.
Council Election/Selection Update
Council was provided with information on two new questionnaires: the Diversity Self-Identification Questionnaire and a revised Council Skills Matrix Questionnaire.
The Diversity Self-Identification form was created to encourage application from under-represented groups. The form is designed to collect information in order to improve representation by enabling the identification of gaps. Staff consulted with other agencies and regulators as well as the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI). The form will be revised as best practice is always evolving in this area.
To support the candidate eligibility and Committee appointment process, Council was provided with a revised Skills Matrix Questionnaire. The CPMF requires prospective professional Council members to meet articulated competencies and this form would be included in the requirements of dentists to serve on Council. The form aligns with current governance practice and enhances competencies on Council. It was approved by Council.
National Competencies for Dentists
The Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation (CDRAF) has sought input from stakeholders on a draft document, which sets out competencies for the beginning dentist.
This will help to ensure that dentists across Canada are held to consistent standards and accountabilities in relation to their clinical skills and professionalism. The RCDSO response congratulated CDRAF on the draft document and offered some comment on informed consent, boundaries, taught and tested (e.g. shadowing).
Council approved the response and supports the efforts of the CDRAF
The next meeting of Council is scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2022 (in person) at Vantage Venues, 150 King Street West, Toronto.
(Meeting will be live-streamed.)