2020-21 Annual Meeting

October 25, 2021

This was our second virtual Annual Meeting. Consistent with last year, we had more people interested in participating compared to in-person meetings in recent years. This meeting format offers convenience and easier access, and we’re glad you’re taking advantage of it!

President’s Address

As we’ve all experienced with technology, sometimes things just don’t work they way we plan. Because President Lisa Rahimi was having connection issues, Vice President Jolene Moore delivered the President’s address. On behalf of Council, they acknowledged dental assistants for the competent care they provide and the professionalism they demonstrate as we continue to live and work during a pandemic. Thankfully, President Rahimi was able to participate in the question period later in the meeting.

College Activities

Jennifer Tewes, our Registrar, took us through our 2020-21 Annual Report by highlighting our activities including:

  • new modules in the Learning Centre, dental assistants are encouraged to use the Patient Relations Module even if they already completed it
  • Bylaw changes that allow for 50% public member representation on Council and adding a Program Approval Committee
  • updates to our Code of Ethics and a new learning module to support dental assistants’ understanding of the new Code
  • new Registration Policies to formalize our processes
  • adding temporary authorization for dental assistants to perform nasopharyngeal swabbing in support of Alberta’s COVID-19 testing
  • registration numbers are consistent with previous years
  • reduced number of competence audits to re-evaluate tools and process
  • more activity in complaints
  • registrants are learning to navigate new website/Portal and Learning Centre
  • financial surplus is a result of limitations on activities due to pandemic, deficit budget planned for upcoming year to fulfil activities and use surplus funds

Question Period

We enjoyed being able to connect with you through the question period. Before and during the meeting you asked some great questions related to our activities and role. We were happy to respond about topics including:

  • review of the Dental Assistants Profession Regulation (Bill 46 will result in changes to regulations, including several things being moved out of regulations, the changes will determine our next steps)
  • volunteer honoraria (available per meeting, amounts are same as what Public members receive from government and include $115.00 for up to 4-hour meeting and $191.00 for 4 to 8-hour meeting)
  • access to Council Charter (internal resource only, Council created it to help them build a common understanding of how to best work together)
  • event expenses in the financial statements (for Planting Seeds, Growing Leaders workshop)
  • number and location of dental assistants authorized for NP swabbing and how authorization is obtained (approximately 35 distributed throughout the province; AHS approved training required, available to employee or prospective employee of AHS)
  • additional requirements for applicants educated outside Alberta to get familiarized with Alberta practice (fair registration practices don’t allow for requirements that only certain applicants would have to complete)
  • availability of courses for taking blood pressure, First Id, phlebotomy, medicines and interaction with dental procedures (check with Alberta dental assisting programs for availability and ensure you limit your practice to what you are authorized for)
  • meeting the 300 practice hours requirement during the pandemic (requirement is 300 hours over 3 years, if unable to meet this, you may complete a refresher course instead; 2020 graduates’ education is recent enough to address current hours requirement)
  • publishing upcoming hearing dates (dates will be published for hearings referred after our Bylaw amendments that allow this)
  • mandatory CPR and online courses (CPR is not mandatory for registration but is of benefit for patient protection; since we don’t require CPR, we don’t offer direction about online versus in-person courses)
  • website changes, login issues, trouble locating things (Registrar went over what’s in the Portal; there are separate logins for the Portal and Learning Centre; a meeting participant offered a tip that the Portal login is case sensitive, the Registrar noted that case sensitivity is particularly related to email addresses because some devices automatically capitalize the first character a user types in, we are working with our service provider to address this)
  • increase in unrestricted funds but no decrease in fees (financial surplus moved to restricted funds, budget was based on planned activities that didn’t happen due to pandemic, upcoming budget is deficit, fees unchanged for several years)
  • consulting with provincial association as a stakeholder (to ensure all registrants have opportunity for input we consult with all registrants directly as the provincial association doesn’t include all registrants)
  • sedation training (available through U of A, dental assistants supporting sedation is becoming more common and it’s on our radar, we currently refer to ADA&C sedation policy, safe and competent care is our focus)

We were also asked about mandatory vaccines for dental assistants (this is currently not mandatory for registration or renewal) and patients asking dental assistants to disclose their personal vaccine status. These topics are not within our role. We suggest checking your workplace policy regarding disclosing your vaccine status and/or discussing it with your employer.

Conclusion

President Rahimi provided closing remarks and thanked everyone for attending. She invited participants to:

Current date: November 29, 2021

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