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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where do I make a complaint?
Your written complaint may be sent to: The Alberta Dental Association and College Attention: Complaints Director Suite 101, 8230 – 105 Street Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5H9 OR By Facsimile to: 1-780-433-4864.

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How does the complaint process work?
When a complaint is received, the Complaints Director may:
  • attempt to resolve your complaint between you and the dentist;
  • encourage you and your dentist to resolve the complaint directly;
  • commence an investigation into your complaint; or
  • dismiss your complaint.
Each complaint will be assessed on an individual basis. Within 30 days after your complaint is received at the offices of the Alberta Dental Association and College, you will be notified of the initial action taken. The dentist will be notified about your complaint and will receive a copy of the complaint.

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If I make a complaint, what is my role?
The individual who makes a complaint, called a complainant, is expected to pick up their mail and respond to requests from the Complaints Director or an investigator. The complaints process and the outcomes are directed by the Complaints Director and investigators. While the complainant may have strong feelings about the outcome of their complaint, the complainant does not direct the complaint process or an investigation. 


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What is the scope of the investigation?
An investigation may not be limited to the information presented in the letter of complaint.


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What happens if a complaint is investigated?
You will be notified in writing that an investigation has started and will be given the name of the investigator. The investigator will request information from people involved with your complaint. The dentist complained about will be provided with a copy of your complaint and will be asked to provide a response to your complaint in writing, a copy of your clinical record and dental health information.

Other people you have noted in your complaint or who are identified in the investigation may also be asked for information about your complaint including a copy of your clinical record and dental health information. You will be notified in writing of the results of the investigation when it is completed. 

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What is the purpose of an investigation?
A primary purpose of an investigation is to assess the quality of care and treatment delivered by a dentist to determine if it is unprofessional. 


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What if I do not pickup my mail or respond to the Alberta Dental Association and College?
After you make a complaint, additional information may be required from you. If you do not respond to requests form the Alberta Dental Association and College, your complaint may be dismissed. Confidential and private information about you or the dentist concerning the complaint will be sent to you by registered mail. If you do not pick up your registered mail, the Complaints Director may stop the investigation and dismiss your complaint.

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How long does an investigation take?
It depends on the nature of a complaint. Please contact the Alberta Dental Association and College for further information.

Is the complaint process confidential?
In the complaint process, the people who may have access to your complaint is you, the Complaints Director, any dentist you name in the complaint or who is identified during an investigation, and another person who may have information relating to your complaint, who is identified by the Complaints Director or investigators.  If the complaint is referred to a hearing, the hearing is open to the public.

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What are the possible outcomes of the complaint process?
Your complaint may be resolved, dismissed if the evidence does not indicate that further action should be taken or referred to a formal hearing and you may be asked to be a witness at the hearing.

Pursuant to section 68(1) of the Health Professions Act, Complainants whose complaint is dismissed without a hearing have the right to request a review of this decision by the Complaint Review Committee.  The application fee for this review is $200.

The Alberta Dental Association and College has established a policy under which Complainants who are concerned that they are unable to pay the $200 application fee due to their financial circumstances may apply for a waiver of the application fee. 

If a Complainant wishes to request a review by the Complaint Review Committee, he or she must make a request in writing clearly indicating that he or she is requesting a review and must provide reasons for the review.  The request for review must include the $200 non-refundable application fee or the completed Application for Fee Waiver and Statement of Finances and must be received by the Alberta Dental Association and College within 30 days of receipt of the Complaints Directors’ letter dismissing the complaint.

More information on the process and criteria to qualify for waiver of the fee may can be obtained by clicking here.  Complainants seeking more information about how to seek a waiver contact the Hearings Director of the Alberta Dental Association and College.

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Will my personal information be protected in a hearing?
One possible outcome of making a complaint is that the dentist you have been complained about will be referred to a hearing. The purpose of the hearing will be to determine if the dentist is guilty of unprofessional conduct. A panel of three dentists and a member of the public will hear the entire complaint and all of the evidence presented at the hearing to determine if the dentist is or is not guilty of unprofessional conduct. The four person panel is called a hearing tribunal.

As part of a hearing, a complainant may be asked to be a witness at the hearing for the Alberta Dental Association and College. All witnesses are required to attend the hearing and tell their story under oath, which is a promise that all statements are true and accurate. All witnesses will be required to swear certain facts about who they are and why they made a complaint. A witness may also be subject to cross-examination by the dentist’s lawyer or the dentist.

At the end of a hearing, the hearing tribunal will prepare a written decision. If a dentist is found guilty of unprofessional conduct by a hearing tribunal, a summary of the hearing tribunal’s decision, including the dentist’s name, will be published. This publication is required by Bylaw 19(7) of the Bylaws of the Alberta Dental Association and College. The decision of the hearing tribunal may reference your name. If you would prefer your name not be referenced in the decision, please let us know. In the publication of a summary of a decision, your name will be reduced to initials or a number to protect your personal information. 

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