Patient Relations Program Appendices

This program has been developed for registrants of the College to meet the requirements of section 16 (2) (f) of the Health Professions Act and section 7 of the Dental Hygienists Regulation.

A Guide for Prevention of Professional Misconduct of a Sexual Nature

Appendix A


To clarify the information in this section, some definitions have been provided:

Client is interchangeable with the term ‘patient’ and may be applied to groups.

Workplace is defined as the dental hygienists practice setting. This may include, but is not limited to dental offices, health and education institutions and facilities, and research laboratories.

Dental hygiene care is defined as the assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion, preventive and therapeutic interventions in a variety of practice settings, as outlined in the CDHBC Scope of Practice Statement and Practice Standards.

Professional sexual misconduct is defined as intentional or unintentional actions or comments of a sexual nature, or sexual innuendo, perceived by the client and made by a dental hygienist in the course of their professional work that a reasonable person would know are unwanted or would create discomfort. Professional misconduct of a sexual nature has a negative effect on the client and could lead to the client experiencing a variety of conditions including nervous shock, loss of memory, regressive behaviour, loss of sleep, and the loss of the ability to work. Any or all of these conditions, if proven by the client, could lead to a claim for damages or a criminal conviction of the dental hygienist.

Professional sexual misconduct by a registrant includes, but is not limited to:

  1. sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the registrant and the client;
  2. touching of a sexual nature of the client by the registrant; or
  3. behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by the registrant towards the client.

Appendix B


Examples of behaviors towards clients that constitute professional misconduct of a sexual nature include but are not limited to:

  • sexually demeaning gestures or expressions;
  • leering and staring, particularly at intimate areas;
  • sexually suggestive remarks, innuendos and jokes, and giggling or laughter that cause awkwardness or embarrassment;
  • lewd or suggestive comments, inquiries or jokes about any person’s sexual habits, appearance or sexual attractiveness;
  • verbal threats which have sexual overtones;
  • sexual flirtations, advances or propositions; 
  • implied or expressed promise of reward, or threat of reprisal, for complying with a sexually oriented request;
  • inappropriate physical contact, such as touching, patting, pinching or punching;
  • persistent unwanted contact such as standing close or brushing up against a client unnecessarily;
  • procedural techniques that may involve touching in an intimate area (such as placing items on the client’s bib, or reaching across the client’s bib to obtain an item);
  • hugging, kissing or touching without the client’s permission;
  • displaying sexually offensive or derogatory material.