Unauthorized (unlicensed) practice

In British Columbia, the various health professions are governed by regulatory colleges that oversee the conduct and competence of the individuals they regulate. BCCOHP governs six types of oral health professionals and they must be registered or certified with us in order to practise in BC. 

Unauthorized (unlicensed) practice

Unregistered (unlicensed) practitioners present a risk to the public because they have not demonstrated the skills, qualifications and knowledge to provide ethical and safe care in accordance with the standards set by BCCOHP. 

Under the Health Professions Act (HPA), BCCOHP’s core function is the protection of the public. The regulatory model established by the Ministry of Health sets out scopes of practice statements and restricted activities that define what oral health professionals may do, and the activities that carry risk to the public and can only be performed (or delegated by) those who have been granted authority by their regulatory college. 

For oral health professionals, there are education and competence requirements to practise or provide the services of a certified dental assistant, dental hygienist, dental technician, dental therapist, dentist and denturist.  


How to check that an oral health professional is registered

Anyone can check the registration of an oral health professional using our public register.  

We remind our registrants that they are responsible for ensuring that the oral health care professionals they hire are registered/certified with BCCOHP. They also need to be confident that anyone they refer patients to for care has been granted the authority to provide that care.

All six types of oral health professionals are included on the public register.  We are also required to include certain types of regulatory action on the public register. 

Report an unauthorized practitioner

If you are aware of anyone providing the services of a certified dental assistant, dental hygienist, dental technician, dental therapist, dentist or denturist in British Columbia who is not registered with BCCOHP, please contact our complaints team by phone at 672-202-0448 or 1-888-202-0448 (toll free), or by using our online complaint form. 

Taking action against unauthorized practice

As part of its public protection mandate, BCCOHP will investigate reports about possible unauthorized practice. While BCCOHP cannot take unilateral action, we can, with good evidence, investigate and seek court action if appropriate.