What is Published on the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s Public Register?

We often assist dentists who have questions regarding the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s (“RCDSO”) public register. Upon receiving a complaint to the RCDSO, dentists should be aware that the process has the potential to result in the publication of a notation that is critical of their professional care. In this article, we will summarize some of the most relevant information regarding the public register.

What is the public register?

Under the Health Professions Procedural Code (“HPPC”), which is schedule 2 to dentists’ governing legislation, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (“RHPA”),the RCDSO is required to maintain a record of information pertaining to each registered dentist. This record is known as the register. In accordance with the RHPA and the RCDSO’s Transparency Principles, which aim to protect and inform the public, the register is available online.

The public register contains the dentist’s practice details, including their name, practice address, date of registration, class of registration, and certain details relating to any legal proceedings against the dentist.

Transparency in regulatory proceedings

There has been a movement in recent years at the RCDSO towards greater transparency and the inclusion of more information on the public register. Dentists who are subject to complaints, discipline, or capacity investigations at the RCDSO should be aware that the regulatory process can now result in more than just the direct professional consequences associated with a negative regulatory finding.

Certain information regarding practice and conduct concerns will be available to the public. This information will generally remain on the register. Accordingly, dentists should take complaints seriously. It may be prudent for dentists to retain legal counsel to assist with responding to complaints and other regulatory matters at the RCDSO.

What kind of legal information is published on the public register?

Following the conclusion of an investigation, the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (“ICRC”) can dispose of a complaint against a dentist in a number of ways. The public register will include notations of the following ICRC dispositions:

  • Cautions against a dentist;
  • Orders that a dentist complete a specified continuing education or remediation program (“SCERP”);
  • Orders subjecting a dentist to a period of practice monitoring; and
  • Referrals to discipline or incapacity hearings.

The public register will also include notations summarizing the allegations, outcome, and penalty of discipline proceedings. Any terms, conditions, or limitations imposed on a dentist, and any undertakings signed by the dentist, will also be included on the public register. The public register will also note the status of a dentist’s certificate of registration, including whether they have been suspended, revoked, or have resigned.

In addition to regulatory details, the public register will include notations of any findings of professional negligence or malpractice, as well as criminal convictions and outstanding criminal charges against a dentist. Under the RHPA, dentists are required to report certain details of any criminal proceedings against them to the RCDSO.

Dentists who are subject to any kind of legal proceedings may face public exposure through the public register. Dentists in these circumstances should consider seeking legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.