Complaint FAQs for Oral Health Professionals

If you still have questions about BCCOHP’s complaints process after reading these FAQ, please contact the complaints team at 672-202-0448 (toll-free within Canada: 1-888-202-0448).

There are proactive steps you can take to help you avoid being the subject of a complaint. Learn more about preventing complaints before they happen: How to Avoid Complaints (PDF).

The registrant is usually asked to provide a written response to the complaint, along with the patient records. Any other oral health professionals involved in the patient’s care may also be asked to provide a report and records. The response will be provided to the complainant.

Many complaints that BCCOHP receives include concerns about patient access to records. Patients own the information contained in their patient chart and have the right by law to access a copy of their complete dental record. You are obligated by law to provide copies of what the patient has requested, including radiographs, study models and photographs. Dental offices may charge a reasonable fee to cover the cost of duplicating the records.

Patient records cannot be withheld when a patient owes money for dental work. Fee disputes or other disagreements between a patient and oral health professional are not grounds to withhold access to, or transfer of, patient records.

Patient records must also be provided if another dental office requests them. The originating oral health professional has the option to provide a complete copy of the records or send the originals to the new office with a request that the records be copied and returned. It is important for the originating dentist to keep a copy of the patient records. Not only is this required by law, but complete records can also protect oral health professionals if a complaint is launched in future.

For more information about the ownership, transfer and retention of dental records, please see BCCOHP’s Dental Recordkeeping Guidelines (PDF).

Under the BCCOHP Bylaws, the same investigation and discipline processes apply to all oral health professionals (dentists, dental therapists and CDAs, dental hygienists, dental technicians and denturists). Learn how a complaint is resolved in this document (PDF).

Resolution options include: a) close the complaint with no action taken, or with some recommendations/best practice advice; or b) ask the registrant to sign an agreement to take certain steps to improve their practice (such as taking certain courses to improve skills) or to be mentored by another registrant for a period of time.

After the investigation, the Inquiry Committee receives the investigation report and disposition options for resolution from the complaints team and makes its decision. The majority of complaints are resolved at this stage. Complaints only proceed if the Committee directs that a citation (notice of hearing) be issued against the registrant.

If concerns about a registrant’s practice are identified, BCCOHP takes a remedial and collaborative approach to addressing those concerns on a consensual basis.  Learn more about the complaint resolution process in this document (PDF).

Disposition options include: a) close the complaint with no action taken, or with some recommendations/best practice advice; or b) ask the Oral Health Professional to sign an agreement to take certain steps to improve their practice (such as taking certain courses to improve skills) or to be mentored by another registrant for a period of time.

While BCCOHP makes every effort to ensure complaints are kept confidential, it cannot guarantee confidentiality. Our records are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and may be disclosed to other persons whose interests may be affected. Note that if a complaint results in disciplinary action being taken, the outcome may become public.

If a complainant applies to the Health Professions Review Board (the HPRB) for a review of BCCOHP’s investigation and/or disposition, the complainant will usually receive a complete copy of the investigation record, although BCCOHP may apply to withhold or redact confidential information from the complainant.

A copy of the response a registrant provides to a complaint will, in most cases, be provided to the complainant.

Under the HPA, any information or documents that a complainant receives from BCCOHP during a complaint investigation must be kept private and cannot be used for any other purpose, including legal proceedings.

BCCOHP publishes the outcomes of its complaint and discipline processes. Generally, the publication is anonymous; however, when the complaint involves a serious matter or results in disciplinary action being taken, BCCOHP may be required to publish named information about a registrant.  The identity of the complainant is not disclosed.

Learn about the process

Learn more about the complaints process.

File a complaint

File a complaint using our online submission form.