Reporting Criminal Matters to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

As of May 1, 2018, dentists have the obligation to self-report criminal charges to the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (“RCDSO”). These obligations exist regardless of whether a charge has any connection to a dentist’s practice. Following the resolution of criminal charges, dentists may be subject to regulatory proceedings, which may carry professional consequences.

New requirements for mandatory reporting of charges

Before May 1, 2018, dentists were already required to report any prior findings of guilt to the RCDSO.[1] However, the governing legislation, the Regulated Health Professions Act (“RHPA”), now requires dentists to report to the RCDSO when they are charged with an offence.[2]

While individuals who have been charged criminally are presumed innocent, this reporting requirement has the potential to result in negative regulatory consequences for dentists. The RCDSO is legally required to post a dentist’s outstanding criminal or drug charges, as well as any bail conditions, on the public register.[3] This information can be accessed by anyone who searches the dentist’s name online. Dentists who fail to abide by the mandatory self-reporting obligations may be found guilty of professional misconduct.[4] Dentists may find it prudent to contact legal counsel to help navigate this situation.

What is an offence?

The term “offence” is not defined in the Health Professions Procedural Code (“HPPC”), which is Schedule 2 to the RHPA. However, this term does include offences under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It is not clear whether the HPPC would require dentists to report charges pertaining to regulatory offences. It is also not clear whether charges outside of Canada would be caught by this section.

Dentists are required to report to the RCDSO all charges arising after May 1, 2018. In addition, dentists are likely required to report any charges that are outstanding as of May 1, 2018. It is less clear whether this provision of the HPPC also applies retroactively – i.e., whether dentists are required to report any and all charges that have ever been laid against them, regardless of the time period or how the charges resolved.

Mandatory revocation as a result of criminal finding of guilt

Before May 1, 2018, dentists who were found to have engaged in explicit sexual acts with patients were already subject to mandatory revocation of their certificate of registration.[5] As of May 1, 2018, dentists who are found guilty of committing sexual offences against any person, regardless of whether or not they were a patient, will also be subject to mandatory revocation.[6] It is not clear whether a dentist who has a dated conviction for a sexual offence is, as of May 1, 2018, subject to mandatory revocation of their certificate of registration.

Factors to Consider in Reporting

Dentists are obligated to self-report criminal charges, which can potentially lead to regulatory proceedings at the RCDSO. It may be prudent for dentists who have been charged with an offence to contact legal counsel for assistance.

[1] Section 85.6.1 of the Health Professions Procedural Code, being Schedule 2 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18. [“HPPC”]

[2] Section 85.4.6(1) of the HPPC.

[3] O. Reg. 261/18: Information prescribed under subsection 23 (2) of the Health Professions Procedural Code, under Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18.

[4] Section 2.48 of O. Reg. 853/93: Professional Misconduct under Dentistry Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 24.

[5] Section 51(5.2)(a) of the HPPC.

[6] O. Reg. 262/18: Prescribed Offences – Health Professions Procedural Code, under Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18.

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