Standards of Practice Consultation

Standards of Practice Consultation for Summer 2022 is now complete. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Standards and Code of Ethics.

After reviewing feedback from registrants and others, College staff will review the drafts for clarity, scope, and completeness. Then, the drafts will be shared with the Government of Alberta. The final versions will be approved by Council, which is made up of members of the public and registrants.

Once approved by Council, the new Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics go into effect and registrants will be expected to understand and adhere to them.

Click to read the full Introduction to the Standards of Practice document.

The College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (the College) is the regulatory body for the dental hygienist profession in Alberta. The College’s authority is granted by the Government of Alberta through the Health Professions Act (HPA).

The College’s mandate is to protect the public from unsafe and unethical practice and hold dental hygienists accountable for the care they provide. The College does this by developing, maintaining, and enforcing professional regulations, standards of practice, and codes of ethics.

Standards of Practice set the minimum levels of professional behaviour and conduct of regulated health professionals. It is the responsibility of the dental hygienist to understand the College’s Standards of Practice and adhere to them in their practice of dental hygiene. Performance below the minimum standard is considered unprofessional conduct as per the HPA.

  • The Standards of Practice serve several purposes, including:
    Defining for dental hygienists the minimum performance expectations that they must meet in their practice.
  • Providing the public, employers, and other health professionals with benchmarks against which the professional practice of a dental hygienist can be measured.
  • Fulfilling the requirements for the profession as set out by the Government of Alberta in the HPA.
  • Equipping the College with a legal framework for investigating complaints and pursuing disciplinary actions.

The Standards of Practice:

  • exist to support the College’s mandate to ensure Alberta dental hygienists have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgment to provide safe, effective, ethical, and beneficial oral healthcare services to the Alberta public.
  • are applicable to all dental hygienists in Alberta regardless of practice setting.
  • are comprised of standalone Standards that are to be considered part of a comprehensive unit of Standards that dental hygienists use in conjunction to inform their practice.
  • align with and are mutually supportive of other regulatory documents that guide the profession, including the HPA, Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation, and the College’s Code of Ethics, Bylaws, and various guidelines.
  • set the minimum levels of professional behaviour and conduct for dental hygienists, and where inconsistencies exist between Standards of Practice and employment policies, dental hygienists are expected to meet or exceed the Standard of Practice. (e.g., If a Standard of Practice exceeds the expectation of an employer policy, the dental hygienist is expected to meet the Standard of Practice.)
  • will evolve over time, and substantive changes will be adopted only after consultation with the profession and others as prescribed under the HPA.

The Standards of Practice are listed alphabetically for ease of access. Each of the Standards of Practice are generally structured with the following headings, with some exceptions.

Standard Statement:
describes the minimum legal and professional level of performance required by a dental hygienist.

Performance Expectations:
outline the actions that must be demonstrated by the dental hygienist to indicate how the Standard is met in practice. The expectations are not all inclusive nor are they listed in order of importance.

Client Expectation:
describe the outcomes that the client may expect when a dental hygienist meets the standard.

includes definitions of specific terms used in each Standard of Practice. Defined words are bolded the first time they appear in a Standard of Practice.

The word client appears in every Standard of Practice. The definition of a client is:
Refers to an individual, family, group, community, or organization accessing dental hygiene services. The term client in these standards also includes the client’s legal guardian or substitute decision-maker legally authorised to act on behalf of a client when appropriate. An individual client may also be referred to as a patient.

a list of references with legislative or other background information related to the Standard of Practice.

The final consultation schedule and links to the PDFs of past drafts are below.

Consultation Date
Advertising and Representation of Services August 2 - 16
Client-Centred Care June 20 - July 3
Clinical Therapy July 4 - July 18
Code of Ethics July 18 - August 2
Collaboration June 20 - July 3
Communication June 20 - July 3
Conflicts of Interest July 4 - July 18
Continuing Competence July 18 - August 2
Continuity of Care August 2 - 16
Drugs: General August 16 - 30
Drugs: Prescribing Schedule 1 Drugs August 16 - 30
Documentation July 18 - August 2
Duty to Report June 20 - July 3
Evidence Informed Practice June 20 - July 3
Informed Consent  June 20 - July 3
Ionizing Radiation August 16 - 30
Privacy and Confidentiality July 18 - August 2
Professional Accountability June 20 - July 3
Protecting Patients From Sexual Abuse and Misconduct August 16 - 30
Quality Improvement July 4 - July 18
Record Management July 18 - August 2
Restricted Activities July 4 - July 18
Safety and Risk Management August 2 - 16
Supervision of Restricted Activities July 4 - July 18