Mandatory Reporting

Mandatory reporting legally requires a dentist to provide information about themselves, another dentist or another regulated health professional to the RCDSO, other relevant regulators or authorities. It is in the interest of public safety that this critical information is brought forward as soon as possible. Dentists must comply with their legal, professional and ethical reporting obligations.

The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) sets out a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual and $200,000 for a corporation for failure to make certain types of mandatory reports.

What are dentists legally required to report?

Sexual abuse of patients

If you have reasonable grounds, obtained in the course of practising the profession, to believe that another regulated health practitioner has sexually abused a patient, you must:

  • File a report with the registrar of the practitioner’s regulatory college. You can find contact information for Ontario's health regulatory Colleges here
  • File a report within 30 days, or immediately if you reasonably believe that the other practitioner will continue to sexually abuse the patient or will sexually abuse other patients.
  • Make reasonable efforts to advise the patient of your duty to report. You may only disclose the patient’s name with the patient’s written consent.
  • Include your name and an explanation of the alleged sexual abuse in the report. It cannot be anonymous.

Read more about sexual abuse and boundary violations.

Source: Health Professions Procedural Code, Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991


Dentists are required to disclose to RCDSO:

  • Findings of professional negligence or malpractice
  • Findings of guilt for any offences
  • Charges for any offences
  • Bail conditions or restrictions and any subsequent variations
  • Professional disciplinary, professional misconduct, or incompetence findings by another regulatory or licensing body in any jurisdiction

When must you disclose these findings to the College?

  • As soon as possible
  • Do not wait until filling out the College’s online annual licence renewal form to disclose this information
  • Send the applicable information to

Source: Health Professions Procedural Code, Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991

Professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity

Dentists who terminate the employment or revoke, suspend or impose restrictions on the privileges of a regulated health professional for reasons of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity must:

This required duty to report professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity also:

  • Applies to a partnership, associateship or health professional corporation that is dissolved for reasons of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.
  • Exists even if the regulated health professional resigns before their employment is terminated or they voluntarily relinquish their privileges.

Source: Health Professions Procedural Code, Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991

Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Dentists have a duty to immediately report to a children's aid society suspected abuse or risk of harm to a child.
  • The definition of child abuse under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) includes:
    • Physical or emotional harm arising from neglect;
    • Abandonment;
    • Failure to supervise and protect;
    • Sexual exploitation and molestation; and
    • Failure to obtain required medical or other treatment.

Source: Child,Youth and Family Services Act

Reportable Diseases

Dentists are legally obligated to report a suspected or confirmed case of a reportable communicable disease to their local medical officer of health.

The report:

  • Must be submitted as soon as possible after the initial suspicion
  • Must contain the patient’s:
    • name and address;
    • date of birth and sex; and
    • the onset date of their symptoms.
  • The medical officer of health may require the dentist to provide additional information.

The Health Protection and Promotion Act's list of reportable diseases include:

  • Hepatitis;
  • Tuberculosis; and
  • Whooping cough.

Source: Health Protection and Promotion Act

Long-term Care and Retirement Homes

A dentist must immediately report any of the following suspicions related to a resident of a nursing home or retirement home facility:

  • Improper or incompetent treatment or care
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Unlawful conduct
  • Misuse or misappropriation of a resident’s money or of funding provided to a licensee

You must immediately report the suspicion and related information to:

Source: Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, Retirement Homes Act, 2010

Controlled Drugs and Substances

If a dentist finds out that a controlled substance has been lost or stolen from their office, they must:

Source: Narcotic Control Regulations, Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations

Concerns About Risk of Serious Bodily Harm or Death

Health professionals, including dentists, are permitted to disclose personal health information of patients where they believe it is necessary to eliminate or reduce the risk of serious bodily harm to someone or death. This could be to prevent risk of harm or death to the patient or to other people. 

If dentists share personal health information to eliminate or reduce a risk of bodily harm or death, they are protected from legal liability provided they have acted reasonably and in good faith.

Whether a dentist decides to disclose personal health information in order to reduce a risk of harm is a matter of the dentist’s professional judgment in light of the specific circumstances. The College recommends that dentists consult legal counsel when faced with this decision.  For more information on this type of disclosure, please see the guidance published by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Source: Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004

Serious Adverse Events (Tier I/Tier II)

All dentists providing sedation or general anesthesia must monitor and report any serious adverse event (Tier One Event) or other incident (Tier Two Event) to the RCDSO

Source: Standard of Practice on the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia

Privacy Breaches 

Privacy breach refers to any unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, retention or disposal of personal health information. Under the Personal Health Information Protection Act2004 (PHIPA) health information custodians, including dentists, must report certain privacy breaches to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).   The IPC Guidelines specify seven categories of breaches that must be reported to the IPC.  

As of January 1, 2018, health information custodians are also required to provide the IPC with an annual report that tracks privacy breach statistics. More information can be found here.

As of January 1, 2024, the IPC has the discretion to issue monetary penalties as part of its enforcement powers for violations of PHIPA.

Penalties are up to a maximum of $50,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. More information can be found here.

Source: IPC - Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario