Council Activities – May 2024 Update

June 10, 2024

Since our March 2024 update on Council activities, Council participated in two e-votes and met once in May. Though Council’s activities usually take place during their regularly scheduled meetings, occasionally they need to make decisions between meetings.

These are Council’s activities since our last update:

Appointed

Approved

  • a new Current Practice Registration Policy

Registration applicants must demonstrate current practice as part of the requirements to obtain registration and a practice permit. Current practice requirements have been addressed in the Registration Policies, but not all together in one policy. The new policy gathers all current practice requirements for registration applicants into one place.

  • changes to Registration Policy RP1 Initial Registration

Changes to the policy include rewording for clarity and allowing applicants who received the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) Certificate through transfer of credentials to qualify for registration. Previously, all applicants who applied for registration based on having the NDAEB certificate had to successfully complete the NDAEB written examination. This requirement created a barrier for applicants who obtained the NDAEB certificate through transfer of credentials as they did not write the examination.

  • increasing the Treatment and Counselling Fund limit to $119,500.00
  • moving $3,500.00 from unrestricted funds into the Treatment and Counselling Fund

The amount in our Treatment and Counselling Fund is based on the Funding for Treatment and Counselling Regulation, which requires that we provide for 100 hours of psychiatric counselling to eligible patients, and Council’s decision that the Fund should be available for up to five patients. The April 1, 2024, Schedule for Medical Benefits includes an increase to the hourly fee for psychiatric counselling. The new Fund limit covers 100 hours for five patients at the new hourly fee. Transferring $3,500.00 into the Fund will top it up to the new limit.

  • rebalancing Council terms by extending one regulated Council member term by one year and one regulated Council member term by two years
  • extending regulated Council member Chelsey Dudley’s term by one year to November 30, 2025
  • extending regulated Council member Genevera Hunt’s term by two years to November 30, 2026

With four of five regulated Council members ending their terms on November 30, 2024, the potential exists for the Council to lose a large amount of corporate and historical knowledge at one time. Additionally, we are anticipating the appointment of three new public Council members. Potentially, we could have up to eight new Council members (out of ten) within the coming months.

Extending the terms of existing regulated Council members helps to limit the loss of knowledge, better positioning Council to provide the leadership, strategic direction and oversight for fulfilling our role.

  • reimbursing airfare expenses for College volunteers and staff at the economy flex rate, or similar fare, when travelling on College business

Airfare options have changed significantly in recent years. Economy flex rates offer reasonable options at a fair cost, including better ability to reschedule flights. The change clarifies what we will reimburse.

  • requesting a resume including work experience, formal education, and volunteer experiences from individuals who are applying to serve on committees

The additional information included in a resume will help identify candidates’ suitability for a given role, contributing to more effective committee appointments.

  • discontinuing Leave of Absence (non-practicing) status, effective November 30, 2025
  • ceasing to accept applications for transferring to Leave of Absence status
  • allowing registrants who currently hold Leave of Absence status to renew their Leave of Absence status for one more year if they are eligible

Leave of Absence (non-practicing) status has been an option for dental assistants taking a temporary leave from practice. They continued to be on the General Register, but with a suspended practice permit as the status does not allow them to work in the dental industry. This has created confusion for the public and employers about eligibility to practice. Dental assistants have also been unclear, thinking they could practice in a reduced capacity if they chose Leave of Absence.

Leave of Absence status offers no clear contribution to public safety. Discontinuing the status reduces the opportunity for registrants to misinterpret that they are eligible to practice when they are not.

Dental assistants wanting to take a leave from practice will continue to have options. They can maintain their practice rights as long as they meet the requirements, or they may cancel their registration and reapply before returning to practice. The requirements to return to practice from cancelled registration are the same as those to return from Leave of Absence status.

We will no longer grant new Leave of Absence status. Anyone who already has Leave of Absence status and is eligible to renew this fall may do so for December 1, 2024, through November 30, 2025. The status will no longer be available to anyone as of November 30, 2025.

  • requiring dental assistants to complete a Patient Relations Learning Module refresher annually, effective December 1, 2024

The Patient Relations Learning Module is currently a one-time requirement for dental assistants. We introduced it in response to the Health Professions Act requiring colleges to establish a patient relations program that includes measures to prevent and address sexual abuse and sexual misconduct towards patients by regulated members. A yearly refresher demonstrates that we require dental assistants to maintain this knowledge in the interest of public safety.

To prepare, we will develop a separate refresher module that focuses on key concepts. Once the refresher is in place, dental assistants will need to complete it before renewing their practice permit in the fall of 2025 for the December 1, 2025, through November 30, 2026, permit year.

  • the March 2, 2024, meeting minutes

Authorized

  • Administration to use up to $80,000.00 from the Evaluation and Innovation Fund for the Continuing Competence Program Review Implementation Plan

Acting on recommendations from the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) Review will enhance the CCP, making it more usable and effective for dental assistants and the College. 

  • Administration to use up to $15,000.00 to develop a refresher for the Patient Relations Learning Module

The refresher will be based on content from the existing Patient Relations Learning Module. It will focus on key concepts that support the Health Professions Act and Standards of Practice requirements.

  • Administration to use up to $75,000.00 from unrestricted funds for additional staffing costs in the 2024-25 fiscal year

Salary ranges will be adjusted to meet current market rates identified in the 2024 Management and Staff Compensation and Benefits Market Report. As Council approved the 2024-25 budget before the Report was available, Administration needs Council to authorize the use funds for the additional costs for staff salary adjustments.

Disbanded

  • the Registrar Performance Management Committee

Formally disbanding the Committee members is a housekeeping measure as the Committee was rescinded in September 2023. The disbanded Committee’s responsibilities are now part of the Governance Committee’s role.

Discussed

  • learnings from their governance and Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility and Allyship training
  • progress on achieving the Strategic Plan

Participated in

  • governance training
  • Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility and Allyship training
  • a review of the Compensation and Benchmarking Market Report
  • a presentation about the Continuing Competence Program

Received

  • the consent agenda items for filing

These items include notice of Public Member reappointment, financial statements, information update from Administration, and committee meeting notes.

Renominated

  • Jennifer Tewes as a Director on the Board of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board, effective May 2024 through May 2027

As the dental assisting regulator in Alberta, our College is a Member Organization of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB). The NDAEB asks each Member Organization to nominate a staff person to serve on its Board of Directors. Nominating Jennifer Tewes, our Registrar & CEO, is consistent with our Governance Policies.

Tabled

  • a proposed English Language Proficiency Registration Policy

Council tabled the proposed policy until they have additional information about how it aligns with the Government of Canada’s English language requirements for immigration.

Tasked

  • Administration with reporting on existing administrative policies, including ongoing reporting of policy updates and new policies.
  • The Governance Committee with drafting a delegation policy for Council’s consideration

Current date: June 22, 2024

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