Responding to Complaints at the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario

Dental technologists may become subject to complaints, which can result in professional consequences at the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario (“CDTO”). To assist with this stressful situation, we have prepared this overview for responding to complaints.

Dental technologists will receive notice of the complaint against them, a copy of the complaint, and their prior complaint history, if applicable. The CDTO generally must address and investigate all complaints. After its investigation is concluded, a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (“ICRC”), which is comprised of dental technologists and government appointed public members, will decide how to address the allegations. 

Dental technologists are generally required to comply with any requests from the CDTO. Failure to cooperate may result in professional consequences. Dental technologists are also required to prepare and submit a response to the complaint within 30 days of notification. 

Preparing a response will likely take time and effort. Dental technologists should consider contacting a lawyer who is experienced in the area of professional regulation. Once retained, legal counsel will typically become the primary point of contact with the CDTO, and will assist with the response and any other issues.

The formal complaint process operates through documentary exchange and review rather than oral hearing, which means that responses must be made in writing. Dental technologists should consider any unique aspects of their case when writing their response. In our experience, it is often useful to draft a chronological account of the event.

When submitting their response, dental technologists should enclose any relevant patient records and materials. Dental technologists should always keep their records in compliance with the practice standards of the CDTO, as the ICRC can evaluate the records at any time. A finding of inadequate recordkeeping can result in negative consequences. 

Once the investigation has concluded, the ICRC will receive and review the complaint file, and may make any of the following dispositions: 

  • Take no further action; 
  • Issue a caution in person before the ICRC; 
  • Order the completion of a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (“SCERP”);
  • Initiate a professional capacity investigation; 
  • Refer the matter to the Discipline Committee; or 
  • Take any other appropriate action, including ordering further investigation. 

Dental technologists will typically receive written reasons explaining the decision. The CDTO will post details of SCERPs, cautions, undertakings, and referrals to discipline on the public register. This information will be available to anyone viewing a dental technologist’s profile. 

In serious cases where the alleged conduct exposes or is likely to expose patients to harm or injury, dental technologists may be subject to an interim order. Interim orders can take the form of terms, limitations, or conditions on a dental technologist’s certificate of registration, which may include licence suspension. Interim orders can last for the entirety of the formal complaint process. Under section 75 of the Health Professions Procedural Code, the Registrar may also appoint a special investigator to investigate complaints that are more serious. 

Dental technologists and complainants may request a review of the ICRC’s decision before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”). The HPARB will consider whether the CDTO’s investigation was adequate and whether the ICRC’s decision was reasonable. Reviews before the HPARB are based on the documents and materials that were available to the ICRC. These documents will also be provided to dental technologists and complainants in advance of the review.

Being the subject of a complaint at the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario can be challenging. As the complaint process may result in professional consequences, dental technologists should take care when responding, and may find it prudent to seek the assistance of legal counsel.