Posted on January 31 2014

Report of the Executive Director

Happy New Year! 2014 is now upon us and with it, we can look forward to the challenges ahead.

Research and Knowledge Transference
Surveying for the bi-annual salary survey has been completed and the first draft of the report has been circulated to representatives of the provincial bodies in dental assisting for comment. Initial review of the report shows that participation across Canada was very high and for the first time every, every single province in Canada is represented. Reviewers in each jurisdiction have been asked to provide their comments and revisions by early February after which, the report will be made public.

On January 28, 2014, the CDAA Board of Directors approved for publishing CDAA’s research paper on levels of supervision for dental assistants in Canada. Our contracted researcher, Betty Daniels, is now in discussions with a number of academic journals for the paper’s eventual publication. Within these discussions, we are exploring the rules around where and how the paper can be published. Namely, we have been told some publications require exclusivity agreements. As soon as we have clarification on this matter, the dental assisting profession in Canada will be informed as to where this paper can be found.

Finally, I have been in continued dialogue with my counterpart, Mr. Dave Lamb, at the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) regarding the 2014 National Occupational Analysis (NOA). This project is well underway with an initial focus group having taken place in early January. Further in-person consultations will be taking place in Ottawa and later in Edmonton this March and April. CDAA will soon be encouraging dental assistants in Canada to provide their input to an online survey.

As some will recall, CDAA was very active in commenting on the development of a federal oral health strategy. Unfortunately, there have been delays in the release of the federal government’s long awaited policy. I have been in touch with the office of Canada’s Chief Dental Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding CDAA’s submitted comments for the Canadian Oral Health Strategy 2014-2019. I have been told that the policy is at the last stage of internal consultation. The Chief Dental Officer, at the coming Oral Health Symposium sponsored by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) at which CDAA’s President and myself will be present, expects to make a report on the progress of this policy development.

Specifically in regards to the Oral Health Symposium sponsored by CDA, I have presented CDAA’s arguments for how CDAA envisions improved oral care for all Canadians. Within our statement, a strong case has been made for the value of regulating dental assistants in each jurisdiction. Additionally, policy makers and dentists have been strongly encouraged to utilize dental assistants to their full scope of practice.

Fostering community and capacity building for Organizational Members
One of the value added parts of CDAA is the collective bargaining ability the whole of the association can offer to dental assistants on behalf of its Organizational Members. I am pleased to announce that CDAA’s benefits plan provider has negotiated further reductions in premiums! New rate charts are being translated and finalized. As soon as the details have been confirmed, an official announcement will be made. Those seeking an individual quote are encouraged to visit:

CDAA finished 2013 in exceptionally good shape with a surplus that has allowed the association to fund 50% of the National Occupational Analysis and place additional monies into reserves or other initiatives the board will designate. The 2013 audit has been scheduled as well for February 14, 2014.

National Unity
While CDAA is in good financial shape, is not without its challenges. January marked the last month that the Saskatchewan Dental Assistants Association (SDAA) maintained its organizational membership in CDAA. We are saddened by this departure and will miss the connection Saskatchewan dental assistants will have with their colleagues in other provinces. A letter of response to their departure has been sent to the SDAA Council encouraging dialogue.

In response to this situation and in regards to the need for CDAA to begin the process of renewing its strategic plan, CDAA has hired a consultant to facilitate dialogue on the association’s next steps. A board retreat with some representation from the Organizational Members is scheduled in Ottawa February 28, 2104 to March 2, 2014.

The work ahead of us is extensive but we are up for it. There are challenges for the association, particularly in national unity but I invite you to join with us in this important work.

Thank you.

Mark Buzan, APR/CAE
Executive Director
Canadian Dental Assistants Association