What is the role of the RCDSO and the national third party providers?


In Ontario, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario has responsibility for the regulation and registration of dentists granted by an Act of Parliament in 1868. No other organization or association has this authority.

The College’s entry to practice standards are approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario and based on nationally approved standards and measurements deemed necessary for public safety.

Our governing statute, the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), in addition to the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act (FARPA), obligates us to provide candidates with a proper, transparent and fair process of review.

The RHPA sets out the common requirements for all health regulatory colleges in Ontario, including our mandate and statutory committees. Each college then has a profession-specific act; in our case that is the Dentistry Act, 1991.

The College derives its authority to define registration requirements, policies and by-laws from the RHPA. The first version of the registration regulation and all subsequent amendments were submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to be enacted into law.

The vetting process includes an intense analysis of the requested additions or amendments to the regulation. The Ministry requires information such as:

  • rationale for the regulation or amendment;

  • how it ties in to the College’s policy objective;

  • explanation of what the problem is and evidence;

  • how it supports the Regulated Health Professions Act, including how it assists in public protection and the risks if the regulation/amendment is not passed;

  • financial implications;

  • impact on the profession, other regulated professions, other government Ministries, other jurisdictions;

  • compliance with Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act.

National third party providers and the criteria used to determine equivalency

Canada operates according to a mutually recognized system of accreditation of dental training with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland through reciprocal agreements.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) is an autonomous body responsible for accrediting dental programs in Canada. Accreditation is a peer review process that measures education programs and hospital dental services against predetermined national requirements. CDAC acts as a partner with the profession, educational institutions and health facilities to protect and further the public interest through the accreditation process.

The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) is the body incorporated by an Act of Parliament as being responsible for the establishment of qualifying conditions for a national standard of dental competence for general practitioners, for establishing and maintaining an examination facility to test for the national standard of dental competence and for issuing certificates to dentists who successfully meet this national standard.

The NDEB is comprised of twelve members. Each dental regulatory authority (DRA) appoints one member and two members are appointed by CDAC. The NDEB through in-depth investigation and analysis has established the nationally accepted record of Competencies for a Beginning Dental Practitioner in Canada. This list is transparent and available on their website at www.ndeb-bned.ca.

These competencies are used to establish curriculums for full and degree completion programs, the NDEB Equivalency Process for the internationally trained, for examination blueprints and accreditation standards used by Canada, as well as guides for the United States, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. They have also been used both nationally and internationally to establish processes in dentistry and in other professions as well. In short, the competencies define the methods and mechanisms to be used to evaluate the competence of candidates.

The four-year dental programs, international degree completion programs and assessments assure that these competencies are met by all practitioners, whether Canadian or internationally trained.

The final safeguard that the designated outcomes have been achieved is that all candidates, regardless of where they were trained, must complete the NDEB national examination consisting of written and OSCE components.