Council highlights for September 21, 2023

The 439th meeting of the RCDSO Council was a hybrid meeting held in person in Toronto and via Zoom on Thursday, September 21st, 2023. The meeting was also livestreamed; a video recording of the Council session will be available on the College’s YouTube channel.

RCDSO President Harinder Sandhu provided opening remarks underlining three very significant issues on the Council agenda:

  • The Professional Liability Program Expert Review Task Force Report
  • The emergency class certificate of registration
  • Governance modernization.

Dr. Sandhu noted that Council had previously asked for an opportunity for deeper conversations on important topics. As a result, this meeting had fewer topics and time for extensive and strategic questions and discussion. He underlined the importance of focusing on the public interest—particularly in the complex matters on the Council agenda. He congratulated the Eligibility Review Committee for their excellent work in governance modernization and the recommendations for inaugural membership in the Governance Committee. Finally, Dr. Sandhu thanked the emergency class certificate of registration working group for their ongoing and critical help with the implementation of the new class of registration.

Professional Liability Program (PLP) Expert Review Task Force Report

The Professional Liability Program has been providing assistance to Ontario dentists for over 50 years. During that time, staff and Council members have dedicated their time to the promotion of patient safety and responsible dentistry. 

In 2022, the Audit Committee and the Finance, Property and Administration (FPA) Committee reviewed the PLP, its history, legislation, program and financial structure, and assessed other comparable programs in Canada. As a result, Council established a PLP Expert Review Task Force to do a thorough review of the PLP and committed to report on or before the September Council meeting.

The Expert Review Task Force met from February to July of 2023 and developed a report for review by the (now) Finance, Audit and Risk (FAR) Committee. After that review, the report findings and FAR’s analysis were presented to Council on September 21st for discussion and deliberation.  

The Task Force found that the current operation of the program was efficient and effective. However, given the risk landscape, the status quo was not an option.

Council is satisfied that the program operates effectively and efficiently today.

Council unanimously agreed that the College should not continue to directly operate PLP as it is currently structured. 

After considerable discussion and debate, Council directed staff to explore the option of divesting from directly offering its liability protection program.

With Council’s direction, RCDSO staff will develop an implementation plan, with deliverables and timelines. This will include communication and consultation with all staff, the profession, and stakeholders. Staff will provide Council with a progress report on this work at the December 7th Council meeting. 

In the coming months, there will be opportunities for registrants and the public to learn more about PLP and about the work to explore divestment.

Change to such a long-standing and important program will take time. Progress will be measured in years, not months. Regardless of the form of liability protection, the College will continue to require dentists to maintain adequate liability protection, which is consistent with other Ontario health Colleges and the expectations of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).

Members of the RCDSO should continue to contact PLP directly, as usual, for assistance with claims or potential claims. 

For more information about PLP and the Expert Review Task Force, click here.

Registrar & CEO Update

Registrar & CEO Dan Faulkner updated Council on a number of topics:

  • The operational dashboard tool that tracks key metrics from College operations showed:
    • The College continues to meet the regulated times for registration application processing (the requirement is fewer than 15 days). We also have met the requirement for application decision-making, the average being fewer than seven days (the requirement is fewer than 15 days.)
    • The new e-Portfolio platform was launched in July, and so far, feedback has been positive. It will continue to be improved.
    • The Facilities Inspection Program (FIP) has completed and closed all provisional CT facility permits since 2020. FIP is now focused on closing older applications. Since October 2022, there has been a 69% decrease in open 2020 applications.
    • Professional Conduct and Regulatory Affairs (PCRA) has seen a 17% decrease in open case files compared to July 2022. Considerable work has gone into addressing the backlog. At June Council, 14% of open case files were from 2019-2021 and by September 8% are from 2019-2021.
  • The College recently started to include our Discipline Committee decisions on CanLii (Canadian Legal Information Institute), a not-for-profit open access site for judicial decisions. We now join several Ontario-based regulators in uploading our decisions. Ontario - Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario | CanLII
  • On May 18th Bill 60: Your Health Act 2023 received Royal Assent. Bill 60 amends profession-specific acts of medicine, nursing, medical laboratory technologists and respiratory therapists. This legislation does not apply to most regulated health professions, including oral health care.

    Emergency Class Certificate of Registration: Fee By-law Consultation

    The Ontario Ministry of Health has required all of Ontario’s 26 health regulatory Colleges to develop a new emergency class certificate of registration. 

    The regulation amendment, passed by the Ontario government at the end of August, creates a new class of licensure – a term-limited emergency certificate of registration. The class of registration will only be open for applications if the government requests that the RCDSO open this class, or if Council decides that it is in the public interest to do so.

    The College’s Working Group has been working on a number of implementation issues including opening and closing the class, supervision, fees and more.

    At the September meeting, Council approved a fee structure for this class of licensure. Emergency class registrants will have to pay an annual fee of $1,000 and their application fees would be waived if they apply for full licensure post-emergency.

    The College has posted a consultation for the next 60 days, in compliance with the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. The material can be found here. The by-law amendments, including any feedback, will be brought forward for approval at the December 7 meeting of Council.

    Governance Modernization

    The Government of Ontario’s vision for governance and regulatory reform includes establishing a “Nomination and Selection Committee” to oversee the selection of Council and committee members. Council had previously established a Governance Working Group to develop sound governance practices and to support effective decision-making in the public interest. In 2022, Council requested the development and establishment of a permanent governance committee.

    The new standing Committee, the central governance body to review proposals for additional governance reform and make strategic recommendations to Council regarding governance modernization, was approved at the June Council meeting. It consists of two (2) professional members of Council; two (2) public members of Council; and at least two (2) individuals external to the College with regulatory and governance expertise.

    A panel of the Eligibility Review Committee, chaired by Maureen Boon, Registrar & CEO of the College of Massage Therapists, met five times to interview and assess highly-qualified candidates to form its recommendation for appointments to the inaugural Governance Committee. The following individuals were approved by Council:

    • Anne Coghlan (Chair, Subject Matter Expert)
    • Daniel Haas (Council Professional Member)
    • Nizar Ladak (Council Public Member)
    • Anthony Mair (Council Professional Member)
    • Judy Welikovitch (Council Public Member)
    • Kathy Wilkie (Subject Matter Expert).

    The Governance Committee will commence work in October 2023.

    Next Meeting

    The next meeting of Council will be virtual and is scheduled for Thursday, December 7th, 2023. The meeting will also be livestreamed.