Discipline Regulations

Link to law: https://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/ddiscipl.htm

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Discipline Regulations
made under Sections 33 and 45 of the

Dental Act

S.N.S. 1992, c. 3

O.I.C. 2002-6 (January 11, 2002), N.S. Reg. 3/2002

as amended by O.I.C. 2007-581 (November 6, 2007), N.S. Reg. 423/2007

Citation

1     These regulations may be cited as the Discipline Regulations.

Definitions       

2     In these regulations,

 

                (a)    “Act” means the Dental Act;

 

                (b)    “Board” means the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia;

 

                (c)    “licensee” means a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant against whom acomplaint has been made;

 

                (d)    “Registrar” means the Registrar of the Board.

Offences

3     The offences under these regulations include

 

                (a)    unprofessional conduct;

 

                (b)    infamous conduct;

 

                (c)    breach of, or failure to observe, the Advertising Standards;

 

                (d)    breach of, or failure to observe, the Code of Ethics.

 

4     (1)    “Unprofessional conduct” by a dentist is defined to include any of the following:

 

                (a)    the contravention or violation of any provision of the Act or regulations madepursuant to the Act;

 

                (b)    failure to abide by the terms, conditions or limitations of any licence issuedunder the Act;

 

                (c)    failure to diagnose and treat one or more patients with a standard of skill,knowledge or judgement that is reasonable in the practice of dentistry in NovaScotia;

 

                (d)    conduct that is detrimental to the best interests of one or more patients;

 

                (e)    over-treatment;

 

                (f)    charging fees for services that are not performed;

 

                (g)    failure to maintain adequate patient records;

 

                (h)    improper use of the authority to prescribe, sell or dispense a drug, or falsifyinga record in respect of a prescription or the sale of a drug;

 

                (i)     engaging in dentistry while the ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or adrug;

 

                (j)     engaging in dentistry while the ability to do so is impaired by an infirmity orreasons of health;

 

                (k)    failure to comply with a decision of the Complaints Committee or DisciplineCommittee.

 

       (2)    “Unprofessional conduct” by a dental hygienist has the same meaning as in theDental Hygienists Regulations.

 

       (3)    “Unprofessional conduct” by a dental assistant has the same meaning as in theDental Assistants Regulations.

 

       (4)    “Infamous conduct” by a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant is defined toinclude any of the following:

 

                (a)    conduct or behavior while engaged in dentistry that is unbecoming a dentist,dental hygienist, or dental assistant;

 

                (b)    the conviction of any offence related to dentistry;

 

                (c)    conduct or behavior that is likely to bring dentistry or the dentist, dentalhygienist, or dental assistant into disrepute whether or not such conduct orbehavior is in the course of or related to dentistry.

 

       (5)    “Advertising Standards” means the advertising standards in the AdvertisingStandards Regulations.

 

       (6)    “Code of Ethics” for dentists means the Code of Ethics for dentists pursuant toRegulation No. 3 - Code of Ethics.

 

       (7)    “Code of Ethics” for dental hygienists means the Code of Ethics for dentalhygienists pursuant to the Dental Hygienists Regulations.

 

       (8)    “Code of Ethics” for dental assistants means the Code of Ethics for dental assistantspursuant to the Dental Assistants Regulations.

Complaint

5     (1)    Any person may file a complaint in writing with the Registrar concerning a dentist,dental hygienist, or dental assistant.

 

       (2)    The Registrar shall conduct an investigation upon receipt of a complaint undersubsection (1) or when the Registrar has reason to believe that an offence may havebeen committed under these regulations, the Act, or other regulations under the Act.

 

       (3)    Following an investigation pursuant to subsection (2), the Registrar shall refer thematter to the Complaints Committee.

Complaints Committee

6     (1)    The Complaints Committee shall be composed of 10 members, none of whom shallbe a member of the Discipline Committee, as follows:

 

                (a)    4 licensed dentists, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentist;

 

                (b)    2 licensed dental hygienists, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentalhygienist;

 

                (c)    2 licensed dental assistants, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentalassistant; and

 

                (d)    2 members of the general public who are not licensed dentists, licensed dentalhygienists or licensed dental assistants.

 

       (2)    The term of a member of the Complaints Committee shall not exceed 3 years and theterms of the initial appointments shall be of varying lengths to permit continuity ofmembership on the Committee.

 

       (3)    The Board may reappoint a member of the Complaints Committee for further terms.

 

       (4)    The Board may, in its discretion, appoint alternates to the members of theComplaints Committee.

 

       (5)    The Board shall appoint one of the dentists on the Complaints Committee to be theChair of the Complaints Committee.

 

       (6)    The Chair shall be entitled to vote on all matters before the Complaints Committeeand in the event of a tied vote, the Chair shall have an additional casting vote.

 

       (7)    Upon receipt of a complaint, the Chair of the Complaints Committee, shall appoint apanel to consider the complaint, in accordance with the following:

 

                (a)    if the complaint is against a dentist, the panel shall consist of the Chair, 2dentists and 1 member described in clause (1)(d);

 

                (b)    if the complaint is against a dental hygienist, the panel shall consist of theChair, 1 dentist, 1 dental hygienist, and 1 member described in clause (1)(d);and

 

                (c)    if the complaint is against a dental assistant, the panel shall consist of theChair, 1 dentist, 1 dental assistant, and 1 member described in clause (1)(d).

 

       (8)    In the absence of the Chair, the other members of the panel present may appoint oneof the dentists who is present to act as Chair of the meeting.

 

       (9)    The Complaints Committee may convene and conduct a meeting by telephoneconference call.

 

       (10)  The quorum for a meeting of a panel of the Complaints Committee is 3 members.

Counsel for the licensee

7     A licensee may be represented by counsel in all matters and proceedings before theComplaints Committee and the Discipline Committee.

Procedure of Complaints Committee

8     The Complaints Committee shall provide a copy of the complaint against a licensee to thelicensee prior to making its decision.

 

9     (1)    If requested by a licensee against whom a complaint has been made, the ComplaintsCommittee shall meet with the licensee prior to taking any action.

 

       (2)    With the consent of the licensee, a meeting requested pursuant to subsection (1) maybe held by telephone conference call.

 

       (3)    If a licensee has been served with notice of a meeting referred to in subsection (1)but fails to appear at the meeting, the meeting may proceed in absence of the licenseeand the Complaints Committee may proceed to make its decision.

 

10   The decision of the majority of members of a panel of the Complaints Committee isdeemed to be a decision of the Complaints Committee.

Disposition by Complaints Committee

11   (1)    The Complaints Committee may

 

                (a)    dismiss the complaint;

 

                (b)    refer the complaint, in whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee; or

 

                (c)    take one or more of the following actions:

 

                         (i)     counsel the licensee;

 

                         (ii)    issue a written caution to the licensee;

 

                         (iii)   issue a written reprimand to the licensee.

 

       (2)    In determining the action to be taken, the Complaints Committee may consider anyevidence relevant to the complaint, including but not limited to evidence relating tothe licensee’s character, as well as evidence regarding any previous disciplinefindings against the licensee.

 

       (3)    The action of the Committee shall not be recorded on the register containing thename of the licensee.

 

       (4)    The Complaints Committee’s decision shall be reported in a publication of theBoard, either on a named or unnamed basis, as the Committee considersappropriate.

 

12   (1)    Within 30 days of a meeting of the Complaints Committee, the ComplaintsCommittee shall file its written decision with the Registrar, including

 

                (a)    its findings of fact;

 

                (b)    its conclusions respecting the disposition of the complaint; and

 

                (c)    any sanctions imposed.

 

       (2)    Within 7 days after the decision referred to in subsection (1) is filed, the Registrarshall serve a copy of the decision on the licensee and the complainant.

 

13   (1)    If the matter is referred to the Discipline Committee pursuant to clause 11(1)(b), theChair of the Complaints Committee shall instruct the Registrar to

 

                (a)    draft a notice of charge in accordance with Section 16; and

 

                (b)    request that the Chair of the Discipline Committee fix a date for a hearing.

 

       (2)    The date fixed pursuant to subsection (1) shall be at least 30 days after service on thelicensee of a copy of the decision pursuant to subsection 12(2).

Appeal to Discipline Committee

14   Within 30 days of being served with a copy of the decision pursuant to subsection 12(2),the licensee may file with the Registrar a notice of appeal, appealing the decision of theComplaints Committee to the Discipline Committee and stating the grounds of appeal.

 

15   (1)    If the matter is to proceed to the Discipline Committee as a result of a notice ofappeal pursuant to Section 14, the Chair of the Discipline Committee shall set a datefor a hearing.

 

       (2)    The date set by the Chair pursuant to subsection (1) shall be at least 30 days afterreceipt by the Registrar of the notice of appeal.

Notice of charge

16   (1)    A notice of charge for a hearing before the Discipline Committee shall be in writingand shall contain the following:

 

                (a)    a statement of the charge or charges, including the provision or provisions ofthe Act or regulations under which the licensee is charged;

 

                (b)    the date, time and place that the matter will be considered at a hearing of theDiscipline Committee;

 

                (c)    the possible sanctions that may be imposed if the charge or charges aresustained;

 

                (d)    a statement that the licensee has the right to be represented by counsel; and

 

                (e)    a statement that the Discipline Committee may proceed in the absence of thelicensee.

 

       (2)    The Registrar shall serve a notice of charge on a licensee at least 21 days before ahearing.

Service of notice

17   (1)    Service of a notice referred to in Section 9 or subsection 12(2), 16(2) or 28(2) shallbe by personal service but, if personal service is not practicable, the Registrar mayserve the licensee by registered mail.

 

       (2)    Service by registered mail may be addressed to the licensee’s last address as shownon the applicable register, or the licensee’s more recent address if known to theRegistrar, and shall be deemed to be served on the 3rd day after posting.

Settlement agreements

17A(1)    The Board may enter into a settlement agreement with a licensee who is the subjectof a complaint at any time after the Complaints Committee has referred thecomplaint to the Discipline Committee under clause 11(1)(b) but before thebeginning of a hearing referred to in Section 13.

 

       (2)    The Complaints Committee retains jurisdiction over a complaint until the beginningof a hearing by the Discipline Committee or approval of a settlement agreement bythe Discipline Committee.

 

       (3)    A proposed settlement agreement shall be in writing and shall include all of thefollowing:

 

                (a)    an admission or admissions by the licensee to 1 or more of the allegations setout in the notice of charge;

 

                (b)    the licensee’s consent to a specified disposition, conditional upon therecommendation of the settlement agreement by the Complaints Committeeand the approval of the settlement agreement by the Discipline Committee.

 

       (4)    A settlement agreement may include any sanction that could be imposed by theDiscipline Committee under Section 29.

 

       (5)    The Complaints Committee may recommend acceptance of a proposed settlementagreement if it is satisfied of all of the following:

 

                (a)    that the public interest is protected;

 

                (b)    that the licensee’s conduct or the cause of the conduct complained of can be, orhas been, successfully remedied or treated and the licensee is likely tosuccessfully pursue any remediation or treatment required;

 

                (c)    that settlement is in the interest of the public and the profession.

 

       (6)    If the Complaints Committee recommends that the proposed settlement agreementbe accepted, it shall endorse the proposed settlement agreement and forward theagreement to the Discipline Committee.

 

       (7)    If the Complaints Committee does not recommend that the proposed settlementagreement be accepted, it shall refer the complaint to the Discipline Committee for ahearing.

 

       (8)    If the Discipline Committee accepts the proposed settlement agreement, it shall draftan order incorporating the settlement agreement, which disposes of the complaint.

 

       (9)    If the Discipline Committee does not accept the proposed settlement agreement,

 

                (a)    it shall advise the Registrar of its decision and proceed no further with thehearing of the complaint; and

 

                (b)    a new hearing panel shall be appointed to hear the complaint.

 

       (10)  If a complaint is referred to a hearing before the Discipline Committee followingunsuccessful settlement negotiations, the hearing shall proceed without reference toany proposed settlement agreement or any admissions contained in the agreement.

 

       (11)  A member of the Discipline Committee who reviews a proposed settlementagreement may not sit on the hearing panel that hears the same complaint.

 

       (12)  An alleged breach by a licensee of any term, condition or undertaking of a settlementagreement shall be referred to the Discipline Committee and may form the subject ofa hearing before the Discipline Committee.

Section 17A added: O.I.C. 2007-581, N.S. Reg. 423/2007.

Discipline Committee

18   (1)    The Discipline Committee shall be composed of 16 members, as follows:

 

                (a)    7 licensed dentists, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentist;

 

                (b)    3 licensed dental hygienists, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentalhygienist;

 

                (c)    3 licensed dental assistants, each having at least 5 years experience as a dentalassistant; and

 

                (d)    3 members of the general public who are not licensed dentists, licensed dentalhygienists or licensed dental assistants.

 

       (2)    The term of a member of the Discipline Committee shall not exceed 3 years and theterms of the initial appointments shall be of varying lengths to permit continuity ofmembership on the Committee.

 

       (3)    The Board may reappoint a member of the Discipline Committee for further terms.

 

       (4)    The Board may, in its discretion, appoint alternates to the members of the DisciplineCommittee.

 

       (5)    The Board shall appoint one of the dentists to be Chair of the Discipline Committee.

 

       (6)    The Chair shall be entitled to vote on all matters before the Discipline Committeeand in the event of a tied vote, the Chair shall have an additional casting vote.

 

       (7)    The Chair of the Discipline Committee shall appoint a panel for a hearing inaccordance with the following:

 

                (a)    if the charge or charges are against a dentist, the panel shall consist of theChair, 3 dentists, and 1 member described in clause (1)(d);

 

                (b)    if the charge or charges are against a dental hygienist, the panel shall consist ofthe Chair, 2 dental hygienists, 1 dentist, and 1 member described in clause(1)(d); and

 

                (c)    if the charge or charges are against a dental assistant, the panel shall consist ofthe Chair, 2 dental assistants, 1 dentist, and 1 member described in clause(1)(d).

 

       (8)    A hearing date may only be changed by order of the Chair of the DisciplineCommittee.

 

       (9)    In the absence of the Chair, the other members present may appoint one of thedentists who is present to act as Chair for the hearing.

 

       (10)  The quorum for a meeting or hearing of the Discipline Committee is 3 members.

Counsel for Registrar

19   (1)    The Registrar may employ counsel to prepare and present a case before theDiscipline Committee in a hearing.

 

       (2)    Counsel for the Registrar shall at all times act fairly and proceed in a manner so thatall of the relevant facts, both in favour of and averse to the licensee, are presented tothe Discipline Committee at a hearing.

Counsel for the Discipline Committee

20   (1)    The Discipline Committee may employ legal counsel to advise it in the conduct of ahearing.

 

       (2)    Any legal advice given by the counsel employed pursuant to subsection (1) shall bemade known to all parties.

 

       (3)    Counsel employed pursuant to subsection (1) shall not participate in thedeliberations of the Discipline Committee respecting its decision.

Procedure and evidence in Discipline Committee hearing

21   If a licensee has been served in accordance with subsection 16(2) but does not appear atthe hearing, the hearing may proceed in the absence of the licensee.

 

22   A hearing by the Discipline Committee shall be open to the public

 

                (a)    unless the Discipline Committee, the Registrar, and the licensee all agree to aclosed hearing; or

 

                (b)    unless the Discipline Committee, in its discretion, determines that, to ensure afull and complete hearing or in the public interest, the hearing should not beopen to the public.

 

23   In a hearing by the Discipline Committee,

 

                (a)    the Discipline Committee may

 

                         (i)     admit any evidence relevant to the complaint,

 

                         (ii)    request evidence respecting any matter at issue from any person whomthey judge to be competent to give evidence,

 

                         (iii)   summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses,

 

                         (iv)   require witnesses to give oral or written evidence on oath and producedocuments and things that the Discipline Committee considers necessaryto the proper conduct of the hearing;

 

                (b)    the licensee or licensee’s counsel shall have full opportunity to presentevidence in defence of the licensee;

 

                (c)    the licensee or licensee’s counsel may cross-examine a witness who givesevidence against the licensee;

 

                (d)    counsel to the Registrar may cross-examine a witness who gives evidence forthe licensee; and

 

                (e)    the licensee or licensee’s counsel and counsel to the Registrar shall haveaccess to all evidence admitted at the hearing; and

 

                (f)    each party shall have full opportunity to reply to the submissions of the other.

 

24   The Registrar shall ensure that an accurate record is taken of a hearing of the DisciplineCommittee.

 

25   The Chair of the Discipline Committee may from time to time adjourn a hearing.

 

26   The burden of proof applicable to a hearing by the Discipline Committee shall be proof ona balance of probabilities.

 

27   A decision of the majority of the members of a panel of the Discipline Committee isdeemed to be a decision of the Discipline Committee.

Decision of the Discipline Committee

28   (1)    Within 30 days of a hearing, the Discipline Committee shall file its written decisionwith the Registrar, including

 

                (a)     its findings of fact;

 

                (b)    its conclusions respecting the disposition of the charge or charges; and

 

                (c)    any sanctions imposed.

 

       (2)    Within 7 days after the decision referred to in subsection (1) being filed, theRegistrar shall serve a copy of the decision on the licensee and the complainant.

Sanctions and publication of decision of the Discipline Committee

29   (1)    The sanctions that may be imposed by the Discipline Committee in a decisionresulting from a hearing are

 

                (a)    cancellation of a licence or certificate of registration;

 

                (b)    suspension of a licence for a specified period of time;

 

                (c)    cancellation or suspension of a licence or cancellation of a certificate ofregistration to occur at a specified date in the future unless the licensee meetsspecified conditions before the specified date;

 

                (d)    cancellation or suspension of a licence or cancellation of a certificate ofregistration subject to restoration if the licensee meets specified conditions inthe future;

 

                (e)    suspension of a licence subject to a reduction in the term of the suspension ifthe licensee meets specified conditions;

 

                (f)    restrictions on a licence for a specified or unspecified period of time, whichmay be removed if the licensee meets specified conditions;

 

                (g)    entering a reprimand on the written record pertaining to the licensee kept bythe Registrar;

 

                (h)    monitoring of the licensee’s practice for a specified period of time by theRegistrar or an agent appointed by the Registrar;

 

                (i)     payment by the licensee of all or part of the costs of the disciplinaryproceeding, including

 

                         (i)     per day fees for members of the Discipline Committee,

 

(ii)counsel fees,

 

(iii)reporter fees,

 

                         (iv)   facility charges, and other charges associated with the hearing.

 

       (2)    The conditions referred to in clauses (1)(c), (d), (e) and (f) may include, among otherthings,

 

                (a)    the completion of a course or program of education or training prescribed bythe Discipline Committee; or

 

                (b)    the successful completion of an examination, to test the skill, knowledge orjudgement of the licensee.

 

       (3)    In determining the sanctions to impose pursuant to subsection (1), the DisciplineCommittee may consider evidence relating to the licensee’s character, as well asevidence regarding any previous discipline findings against the licensee.

 

30   (1)    The Discipline Committee’s decision shall be reported in a publication of the Board,either on a named or unnamed basis, as the Committee considers appropriate.

 

       (2)    The Discipline Committee may, in its discretion, order that a notice of suspension orrevocation of licence be printed in a newspaper distributed in the area in which thelicensee to whom the notice pertains engages in the practice of dentistry, dentalhygiene, or dental assisting.

 

31   The effective date of any sanctions imposed pursuant to Section 29 and the date for anypublication made pursuant to Section 30 shall not be earlier than the expiry of the timeperiod allowed for appeals in Section 38 of the Act, unless the licensee waives the appealperiod and agrees to implementation of the sanctions or publication at an earlier date.