COVID-19 Information

The College recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and is continually evolving. The College will continue to monitor, respond and communicate accordingly.

On June 14, 2022, the Province of Alberta lifted all remaining mandatory public health restrictions, as the Omicron BA.2 wave subsided and COVID-19 hospitalizations were declining. As our communities are learning to live with COVID-19, registered dental hygienists are reminded to remain diligent in applying infection prevention and control standards and best practices.

COVID-19 Immunization

COVID-19 vaccines are a safe and effective way to help prevent infection, protect you from getting severely sick from COVID-19, and prevent the spread.

Current Alberta Health guidance recommends that all eligible Albertans receive their first and second doses of an available and approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The Government of Alberta has not currently mandated COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers or any specific populations. Registered Dental Hygienists should be aware of any immunization requirements set out by employers policy based on Occupational Health and Safety legislation.


College Responsibilities

The Health Professions Act (HPA) is the Province of Alberta’s guiding document for regulatory colleges, including the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (the College). The College is accountable to the Government of Alberta under the framework established by the HPA.

The College is also responsible for following all public health orders and guidance provided through the Chief Medical Officer of Health.


Registered Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all registered dental hygienists to comply with the College’s Practice Standards and Code of Ethics, as mandated by the HPA, and to apply these to their dental hygiene practice, regardless of practice setting or area of responsibility.

Registered Dental Hygienists must adhere to the applicable governing legislation (Alberta Health Professions Act, CRDHA Practice Standards, CRDHA Code of Ethics and the Alberta Dental Hygienist Profession Regulation) and shall not make any representations that are false, inaccurate, misleading, not objectively verifiable, or contrary to the public interest or health.

Any actions taken, while acting as a regulated health professional, that are contrary to the governing legislation may result in unprofessional conduct and may be subject to investigation by the College.


A point-of-care risk assessment is the process of identifying the hazard, assessing the task, identifying the level of risk, and then determining if additional measures are required above routine practices to help reduce risk.

New Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Guidelines have been developed as a collaboration between the CRDHA, the College of Alberta Dental Assistants, the College of Alberta Denturists, and the College of Dental Technicians of Alberta and have been approved by the Councils of all four Colleges. The new IPC guidelines went into effect on June 1, 2022.

A dental hygienist would assess the risk of spread of infectious disease and determine methods to mitigate the risk of transmitting the infections to and from clients, and staff in all healthcare settings. 

Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines

The province has lifted all PPE requirements. However, risk of transmission for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses still exists, and segments of the population remain vulnerable to infection (e.g., children under the age of 12 years, persons with specific underlying health conditions, unvaccinated individuals). Oral healthcare providers need to remain diligent in assessing the risk through their point-of-care risk assessments and applying infection prevention and control practices based on the premise that everyone is potentially infective. 

There are several ways to control hazards and reduce the risk of transmission. One strategy is to use the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) hierarchy of controls: 

  1. Elimination – the most effective control is to remove the hazard from the workplace (e.g., reschedule the appointment if the client exhibits symptoms)
  2. Substitution – treat the client but modify the practice (e.g., do not perform aerosol-generating procedures)
  3. Engineering controls–includes designs or modifications to practices, equipment, ventilation systems and processes that reduce the source of exposure (e.g., high volume evacuation, 4-handed dentistry, work on clients in a closed operatory). 
  4. Administrative controls–alter the way the work is done including timing of work, policies and other rules (e.g., policies and staff training). 
  5. Personal protective equipment–reduce the risk of transmission/exposure through enhanced PPE (e.g., N95 masks, face-shields, gowns). PPE is considered the least effective of all the controls.  

Point of Care Risk Assessment Tool