A message to all dentists in Ontario – COVID-19 Pandemic
In accordance with our mandate to act in the public’s interest and in hearing the numerous comments made to us by members, in consultation with hospitals and public health and others, we are offering to the membership the following measures and guidelines in response to the COVID–19 pandemic.
1. The RCDSO strongly recommends that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately. Emergency treatment should continue.
The College will revisit this recommendation in the first week of April.
We have received many calls over the past 24 hours from dentists and hygienists concerned about keeping dental practices open and putting their patients, communities and staff at risk.
In addition, many health care providers in community settings have not been able to secure a reasonable supply of PPE that would be required to actively treat COVID-19 cases.
These factors, along with a spike in new cases and the call for effective social distancing, make it clear that bold action is required.
Since this suspension will affect members of your office staff, we recommend that you consult with an employment lawyer.
2. The College will continue to enforce the Standard on Infection Prevention and Control, in cooperation with public health.
The current crisis requires continued rigour regarding IPAC. The College will not be relaxing any Standards or required processes.
3. All in-person meetings at the College have been suspended until further notice.
Virtual meetings will be set-up as needed.
4. All speaking engagements and presentations by College staff are cancelled until further notice.
5. All business travel for staff has been cancelled.
The current recommendation from the Ministry of Health is to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada. Staff will also need to meet guidelines from public health regarding monitoring and isolation following personal travel outside Canada. All dentists and College staff must follow current advice regarding travel from Public Health.
6. Renewals of existing facility permits and Certificates of Authorization are suspended.
Current permits will be extended and remain in force.
Renewals will have an extended deadline. New applications or upgrade requests will not be granted until further notice, pending inspection and training.
Requirements for minimal sedation are suspended until further notice.
For those members who already have Certificates of Authorization, they will remain in force past their expiry date until further notice.
7. The Quality Assurance program is suspended effective March 16, 2020.
The selection of members for review of their e-Portfolio and the Practice Enhancement Tool (PET) will be suspended. The College will extend timelines for those members already selected and in the process of completing the review of their e-Portfolio or the PET.
Members may continue to earn CE points for activities they choose to pursue during the suspension of the Quality Assurance Program, but they should not feel compelled to attend live events in person in order to fulfill CE requirements. Consideration should be given to choosing online CE activities or attending virtual events.