Posted on February 5 2014

Report of the CDAA Executive Director

2013 has come to a close and with it, I am happy to report that many of our longstanding projects are now coming to fruition.

Governance and AGM 2014
After many years of the same board orientation binder, a new one has been distributed to Board members. These changes are giving the organization a more engaged Board and improved understanding of their role.

Finally, in consultation with Organizational Members, May 30 – June 1, 2014 in Halifax has been set as the next Annual General Meeting for CDAA.  As we approach this date, more details will be following.

Research and Knowledge Transference
As announced in my last report, CDAA will be undertaking the development of the next National Occupational Analysis in 2014 in partnership with NDAEB.  Over the course of December and leading into 2014, CDAA will be offering whatever assistance possible to NDAEB.  It is our intention to be more than just funders but also an integral part of the work plan in undertaking this project.

As reported several times this year, CDAA has also actively sponsored comparative research on levels of supervision for dental assistants.  In November, the first draft of this research paper was completed and has been reviewed by the Knowledge Transference Committee.  With little research published from a dental assisting perspective, this paper and the others to follow will fill an important gap identified towards regulation of the profession nationwide.

Updates to CDAA’s continuing education courses have also been made.  For the first time, four courses are now available in French and a review of our catalogue of courses to update them has also started.  CDAA’s Knowledge Transference Committee will also be reviewing options for improving and increasing the current catalogue of courses available to Canadian Dental Assistants.  CDAA’s web developer is also reviewing options to improve access to these courses by better organizing content on CDAA’s website.

CDAA’s bi-annual salary survey is also well underway with participation of every province in Canada.  As reported earlier, 2013’s survey also includes for the first time, participation from dental assistants in Prince Edward Island.  As of this date, I am told participation has been very high which leads us to believe the margin of error will be very low as well.

Thanks go again to all Organizational Members in collaborating with CDAA and the Canadian Institutes for Health Information.  In early October, the last of the data was submitted to compile the updated census of dental assistants in Canada.  Again, this data is referenced by federal policy makers and in the longer road towards making the profession more known on the federal scene, will form an important part of advancing the profession.

With CDAA’s first major research project coming close to being under our belt, we are now better positioned to advocate more aggressively for the profession at the national level – more particularly in front of the federal government and national stakeholders.  Our challenge up until now has been identifying which entities to engage as most issues affecting the profession are provincial in nature.  This Fall, a government relations firm has been working with CDAA to identify which national organizations to engage. We were also looking to identify future government sources of research funding to our future research activities sustainable.   Loaded with more that 50 pages of recommendations and unique avenues where CDAA can add value to the OMs, the report has been submitted and is under review by the Board.  I am confident that these recommendations will form an important part of the strategic direction CDAA will be taking in the years to come.

Our outreach to the Canadian Dental Association has also been fruitful.  CDAA will be equal partners in the development of a proposed National Oral Health Action Plan, initiated by CDA but with the contributions of numerous oral health and medical associations.  The goal of the National Oral Health Action Plan is to develop a collaborative strategic action plan that will address challenges and opportunities in oral health promotion and the delivery of oral health care in Canada.  The first step in the process will be a symposium of stakeholders held in Ottawa in late February 2014.  CDAA is developing its position.  More details on this initiative will follow.

In late October, CDAA’s President came to Ottawa and attended the NDAEB AGM.  Profiting from the opportunity of her presence in Ottawa, a meeting was also scheduled with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).  This proved to be an excellent opportunity to press for the place of dental assistants in the delivery of oral health to vulnerable populations.

Word of CDAA’s participation in public policy forums appears to be spreading.  In November, CDAA received an invite to comment on a review by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario to identify emerging themes relating to access to and quality of oral health care services.  CDAA’s President has provided comment.  Finally, we have assisted SDAA with a policy statement on access to oral health care in Long Term Care homes.

Fostering community and capacity building for Organizational Members
Following the request received by Organizational Members, CDAA’s malpractice insurance broker set out an RFP process to find a new occurrence based plan.  I am happy to announce that a new insurance plan is available along these lines at a very competitive rate.

Finally, in terms of improving outreach, CDAA’s marketing initiatives continue to build lists for the purposes of the weekly newsletter.  CDAA’s administrative and projects coordinator also attended an NDAEB Clinical Practice Exam.

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