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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary
COLLEGE OF DENTAL HYGIENISTS OF ONTARIO (CDHO)
 

Introduction

In October 2011, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario is subject to Ontario's fair access law, which amended the law about health professions, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). The law spells out the college’s obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.

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Commendable Practices

The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The CDHO's website is the main vehicle that the CDHO uses to communicate with its applicants. The website provides extensive information about the registration process. Some of this information is translated into French. Information about proposed changes to the CDHO's registration regulation (O. Reg. 218/94) is clear and tells applicants how this regulation will affect registration.
  • Applicants can complete most steps in the registration process outside of Canada.
  • Information that is specifically for international graduates is complete, clear, and easy to find on the CDHO website.
  • The CDHO identifies the requirements that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives and describes the process involved.

Documentation of Qualifications

  • The CDHO identifies the documents that applicants (including international applicants and graduates from non-accredited programs) must submit with their applications. This information is available through multiple access points on the CDHO website.

Assessment of Qualifications

  • The CDHO provides a significant amount of information about the assessment of qualifications, including information about and resources for its jurisprudence education module. It also provides information about the educational and exam requirements of the CDHO's qualifications assessment agencies.
  • The National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB), one of the CDHO's qualifications assessment agencies, uses standardized multiple-choice methods for its exam and develops the exam in accordance with national competencies (the knowledge, skills and training that are needed to practise the profession across Canada).

Transparency

  • The CDHO's registration information and registration process are clearly documented and easy to find.

Objectivity

  • The CDHO and the NDHCB rely on objective measures to consistently determine whether applicants meet the CDHO's registration criteria. For example, the NDHCB exam must be written by all applicants, and it uses multiple-choice questions that can be graded consistently for all applicants. The exam blueprint shows the relationship between the assessment criteria and the competencies (skills and knowledge) needed to practise the profession. Like the NDHCB exam, the jurisprudence education module is required for all applicants and uses multiple-choice questions.

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Recommendations

The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

Status
  • The CDHO specifies that language proficiency is determined by the applicant's ability to successfully complete the examinations in either French or English, but this information is difficult to find on the CDHO website. The OFC recommends that the CDHO provide this information in the International Programs section and in the Graduate Requirements section, in all places where the language proficiency requirement is stated. [Good]
Checked
June 2012
  • The CDHO will add "good character" to its registration regulation. The OFC recommends that the CDHO:
Checked
April 2012
  • Describe "good character" clearly on its website. [Good]
Checked
April 2012
  • Use objective measures to identify whether an applicant meets this requirement (for example, a police record check). [Good]
Checked
April 2012
  • The OFC recommends that the CDHO state, in the Registration area of its website and on its registration checklist, its policy for retaining (and not returning) applicants' registration application documents. [Good]
Checked
April 2012
  • Timelines for the registration process can vary. (For example, after successfully completing the NDHCB exam, applicants who are graduates of accredited programs can become registered in as little as 10 business days. But graduates of non-accredited programs must also successfully complete a provincial clinical competency assessment, which typically adds six-to-eight months to the registration process.) The different timelines for each stage of the application are not clearly described on the website or in other information for applicants. The OFC recommends that the CDHO provide additional clarification (similar to information provided in the CDHO's Fair Registration Practices Report 2010 or its Audit Report ) about the various estimated times for each stage of the application. [Good]
Checked
March 2012
  • The OFC recommends that the CDHO provide a direct link in the Registration section of its website to the fee information for the NDHCB exam. [Good]
Checked
March 2012

Documentation of Qualifications

 
  • The OFC recommends that the CDHO inform its applicants about the process for dealing with missing and incomplete documentation, either by putting this information in the Registration section of the website or by including it in the checklist document. [Good]
Checked
April 2012

Assessment of Qualifications

 
  • The CDHO's registration committee panel uses a list of criteria/competencies to make a decision about an application from a graduate of a non-accredited program. The OFC recommends that these criteria/competencies be posted on the CDHO website in the Registration section (in the Non-Accredited Programs area). [Required]
Checked
April 2012
  • The OFC recommends that the CDHO include information on its website regarding the measures the CDHO takes to ensure the objectivity, validity and reliability of the jurisprudence education module, clinical competency evaluation, and educational/equivalency assessments. [Required]
Checked
June 2012

Training

 
  • The CDHO does not provide anti-discrimination training to its staff or its registration committee members. The OFC recommends that the CDHO consider including anti-discrimination training, perhaps as part of its orientation training. The anti-discrimination training could be combined with training on other topics such as human rights, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and the anti-harassment provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. [Good]
Checked
September 2012
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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