The Canadian health care system, Medicaid, provides public-funded, tax-supported coverage for most doctor and hospital health care costs. Most of the responsibility for health care planning and delivery, however, is with the provinces. This also means that the regulation of health professionals including dentistry falls to the provinces, including Ontario. The current Canadian health care model is decentralized and aims to respond to the growing issues with Canada’s geography and growing cost of health care affecting all areas. Markham dentists and dentists in other towns should take note of the growing changes since it is very much provincial besides federal. Here is some info about dentistry in Canada.
The Dentistry Act is the legislation that establishes the extent of the practice and the controlled acts for the profession. The law, through the Health Professions Procedural Code, gives the provincial regulatory college the power to develop regulations that establish obligations for members’ registration requirements. The Dentistry Act also allows the college the power to develop numerous by-laws, which have a broad scope and are generally concerned with administrative matters. Besides profession-specific regulation and legislation, several provincial and federal labour laws are in place for dentists to abide by. This includes minimum salaries, hours of work, and paid and parental leave. This applies to interactions with patients as well. As one provider of Invisalign in Calgary shows, it is important be upfront and honest about pricing and expected treatment outcomes.
It is important to know that due to the nature of the Canadian health care system and its regulation, the scope of practice and requirements for dentists differ by province/territory. In some jurisdictions, dental assistants, for example, have the opportunity to do additional training in direct patient care. Registered dental hygienists in most provinces are permitted to work with a patient’s teeth and provide dental hygiene care without the presence of a dentist. These are just a couple of the differences in regulations by location.
Currently, there is concern about an overflow of dentists per-capita in large urban areas in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver. Besides the growth of population, there is also the issue of bidding for dental practices from private companies when they are for sale. With an average cost of $600,000 to open a new practice, many young dental professionals would rather buy an office that has a list of clients. The market seems to indicate that professional dentists, more than ever, need to run their practices as efficiently as possible. They should keep the idea of merging with other offices to share the growing cost of equipment and other expenses.
As a Markham dentist, there is the choice to be an associate dentist within a practice, buy an existing practice, or start a practice from scratch. Recently, there has been a move towards the corporatization of dentistry in the country; compared to the US, corporations own 30 to 40% of all dental offices.In Canada, this figure is around 2%, but slowly rising in order to cut down on the overall costs for the federal and provincial government. It is believed that corporations will potentially make it much easier for dentists to buy existing dental practices and to hire the workforce needed to operate them. As a result, the future of solo practices in Canadian dentistry is in decline.