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​​This consultation ended March 23, 2015

Update (August 26, 2015)

The proposed Part 12 of the CDSBC Bylaws were filed with the Ministry of Health after the close of the consultation period. Subsequently, an additional amendment was required in order to make section 12.14.2 consistent with the previously amended sections 12.8 and 12.9.

Consultation on Revised CDSBC Bylaw Part 12: Advertising and Promotional Activities

The College of Dental Surgeons of BC has posted revisions to Part 12 of its bylaws on Advertising and Promotional Activities.


Proposed revisions to bylaws 12.02 (Limitations on promotional activity) and 12.05 (References to qualifications) were posted for public consultation from October 29, 2013 – January 31, 2014. Those bylaw revisions were in turn based on the February 2013 Board workshop on advertising and promotional activities. The direction of the Board from that workshop was to focus on protection of the public, clarity, simplicity, and flexibility.

About 140 individuals and organizations submitted feedback during the first consultation phase. The vast majority of respondents were dentists, and their responses were across the board: some felt the draft bylaws were too restrictive or heavy-handed, while others wanted to see stronger bylaws and more enforcement. Both general dentists and certified specialists made submissions.

Note: the first consultation invited comments on two supporting documents: draft promotional activity guidelines, and a draft complaint form for use by registrants who wish to file a complaint about the advertising of another registrant. Those documents have been on hold while the Ethics Committee worked on the foundational piece: the bylaws.

The Ethics Committee considered all the feedback and incorporated the key themes into the new draft, concluding that all of Bylaw 12 should be revised in order to meet the original objectives. While there were other laudable concepts and language considered for inclusion, those that were not specific enough to be enforceable did not make it into the final revision.

From the analysis, the Committee articulated a list of the key elements that the bylaw should address. These became the basis of the revised draft bylaw. The essential elements are:

  • requirement for dentists to identify in their advertising whether they are general dentists or specialists
  • restrictions on how registrants can refer to their non-dental degrees and continuing education courses
  • prohibition on the advertising of free or discounted services and rewards programs, which may induce the public to seek unnecessary treatments or procedures
  • preservation of the ability to provide pro-bono services to those in need
  • requirement to clearly identify the names of registrants who own and/or provide services or derive income at a dental office

The bylaw as drafted attempts to strike the balance between Charter rights of free speech versus the regulator’s responsibility to protect the public. The bylaw was also renamed to reflect that it addresses both advertising as well as promotional activities.

The fully revised Part 12 was brought to the Board on November 29, 2014. Because of the significance of this bylaw and the range of opinion submitted during the first round of consultation, the Board approved the document for a second round of consultation for 90 days.

Next steps

Provided that no substantive issues arise from the consultation, the proposed Part 12 of the CDSBC Bylaws will be filed with the Ministry of Health after the close of the consultation period.