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The CDSA investigates all allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse of patients about Alberta dentists. We provide funding for counselling for individuals that file a complaint with the CDSA.

Our guides on Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Boundary Violations detail our advice to dentists on this important issue. To make information about sexual misconduct and sexual abuse education more prominent, we post information on sexual abuse prevention on our website.

If you think you have experienced sexual misconduct or sexual abuse by an Alberta dentist, please contact the CDSA at 1-800-843-3848. We are here to listen, to answer your questions and investigate your concerns.

Sexual Misconduct & Sexual Abuse Complaints
The CDSA investigates all allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse. We recognize that reporting these allegations can be difficult. We have a number of supports in place to assist people who report these concerns.

We will offer funding for therapy or counselling for patients who file a complaint alleging sexual misconduct or abuse by a dentist as required by the Health Professions Act. For support services available in Alberta visit: Sexual Assault Services in Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sexual misconduct and sexual abuse?

    Both sexual misconduct and sexual abuse are breaches of professional boundaries between patient and dentist and are an abuse of power. The patient-dentist relationship is based on trust. Sexual misconduct or abuse by a dentist violates that trust and is never acceptable.

    Sexual misconduct includes threatened, attempted or actual behaviour such as:

      • saying something sexually suggestive
      • making sexualized comments about appearance or clothing
      • making sexual comments or jokes
      • asking personal questions, such as asking about personal intimate relationships
      • sending sexualized jokes by email
      • displaying inappropriate materials in the office or on a computer, such as sexualized photographs or videos, or cartoons of a sexual nature.

    Sexual abuse includes threatened, attempted or actual behaviour such as:

      • Kissing, hugging or touching of a sexual nature
      • Touching or asking for touching of a sexual nature
      • Touching of a sexual nature by a regulated member includes touching of a client’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks
      • Sexual intercourse
  • What are boundary violations?

    Boundaries between a dentist and a patient define the professional role. Dentists should consider whether a particular action is a legitimate part of their role. Unwanted contact by social media, asking a patient out on a date, inappropriate personal disclosure by a dentist or asking a patient about their religion, personal life and politics are some examples of what may be considered boundary violations. Boundary violations can be the first step toward increased familiarity with the patient and may be sexual misconduct that may lead to sexual abuse.

  • My dentist violated patient-dentist boundaries or engaged in sexual misconduct or abuse. What do I do?

    Please contact the CDSA. As the regulator of Alberta dentists, it is our responsibility to investigate your concerns. The CDSA’s mandate is to put patients first. We are here to listen to your concerns and investigate all complaints.

  • What concerns does the CDSA investigate?

    The CDSA investigates all concerns related to boundary issues, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse raised by patients, staff members and others.

  • Who do I tell?

    You can contact the CDSA to discuss your concerns and/or make a complaint. Our staff will explain what happens during an investigation and will answer your questions.

    You don’t have to give your name to our staff if you don’t want to. You can go over what happened, and find out about the CDSA’s processes and what to expect.

    If you decide to file a formal complaint, you are contacted by an investigator who is trained and experienced in working with patients who have experienced sexual abuse. At this point you will have to disclose your name. You’ll have an opportunity to meet in person, regardless of where you live in the province. You may bring someone along with you for support.

    The CDSA takes all complaints seriously. As part of our role to protect the public, we investigate all complaints thoroughly.