CDHBC Governance

Effective March 1, 1995, the practice of dental hygiene in British Columbia became regulated by the College of Dental Hygienists under authority of the Health Professions Act and the Dental Hygienists Regulation. In addition, the College has established bylaws, practice standards and a code of ethics. Taken together, these laws form the overall legal framework for dental hygiene practice in this province.

Health Professions Act

The Act describes how a health occupation can apply for designation as a healthprofession and how these applications will be reviewed. It allows for the establishment of colleges for designated professions and sets out the responsibilities of the boards of those colleges. The Act also specifies how inspections, inquiries and disciplinary actions are to be carried out, and it gives general direction on the requirements for registering the members of the profession.

In 1991, the British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association applied for designation of dental hygiene as a profession and after a comprehensive review and consultation, dental hygiene was designated under the Act in 1994.

Dental Hygienists Regulation

If the Act is the “umbrella” law for health professions, each profession’s Regulation can be considered a spoke of the umbrella. The Regulation identifies the scope of practice, reserved acts and limitations on practice of a profession.

In December 1994, the government approved the Dental Hygienists Regulation, effective March 1, 1995. As this is the specific law governing the profession, its provisions are of great significance to dental hygienists. Accordingly, registrants must ensure that they are familiar with this document. The Regulation should be read together with the practice standards, scope of practice and code of ethics.


The College’s bylaws set out the details of the operation of the college including; the election and appointment of the governing board; the duties and responsibilities of the board, registrar and deputy registrar; qualifications of registrants; standards of practice; and regulation of professional conduct.

To ensure an appropriate standard of professional conduct in their practice, registrants must become familiar with the provisions of the bylaws.

Practice Standards

A section of the College bylaws, the eight Practice Standards outline the required criteria and additional guidelines for ideal or “best” dental hygiene practice. They are intended to inform the public of the standard of care to be expected; to provide a measurable standard to which a complaint can be compared; to assist registrants with the evaluation of their own practice and identify areas requiring improvement; and to demonstrate the accountability of the dental hygiene profession to the public, other health professionals, and the government.

Code of Ethics

A section of the College bylaws, the 12 Code of Ethics statements provide general principles of ethical conduct which registered dental hygienists are expected to follow in order to fulfill their duty to the public and their profession.