Our History

1963

  • Several alumnae of the School of Dental Hygiene, University of Toronto, feel it’s time to organize graduate dental hygienists in Canada on a national basis. They correspond with as many dental hygienists as possible across the country, and, through the combined efforts of dental hygienists in Alberta and Ontario, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) is formed and an executive is chosen.
  • Mai Pohlak becomes CDHA’s first president.

1964

  • The first annual CDHA convention and general meeting are held in Edmonton, Alberta. Represented at the meeting are dental hygienists from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
  • A provisional constitution is adopted, and Jill Dossett is elected president for 1964–65

1965

  • At the Quebec City Convention, the board of directors with delegates from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia ratify the Constitution of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

1967

  • After two years of provisional status, the British Columbia Dental Hygienists Association constitution is approved.

1968

  • CDHA presents an important brief to the newly convened “Ad Hoc Committee on Dental Auxiliaries” of the Department of National Health and Welfare. The committee’s report is significant in its endorsement of extended duties for dental hygienists, particularly in the area of restorative dentistry.

1970

  • The Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association becomes the sixth constituent association of CDHA.
  • CDHA is a founding member of the International Liaison Committee on Dental Hygiene.

1972

  • The Quebec and PEI Dental Hygienists Associations become the seventh and eighth constituent associations of CDHA.

1974

  • The New Brunswick Dental Hygienists Association is formed.
  • CDHA sponsors a conference on dental auxiliaries, a unique event due to its broad representation, ambitious agenda, and free and wide-ranging discussion among representatives from every sector of the dental field.

1978

  • Newfoundland becomes the tenth constituent association of CDHA.

1980

  • CDHA presents a brief to the Health Services Review Commission under the chairmanship of Justice Emmett Hall. One of the fourteen recommendations is that “further research be conducted concerning dental care delivery systems in Canada.”

1982

  • The world’s first conference on dental hygiene research is sponsored by the University of Manitoba’s School of Dental Hygiene and the Department of National Health and Welfare’s Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene. Fourteen distinguished researchers and consultants from across Canada and the United States serve as conference leaders. Forty-two dental hygienists, representing education, public health, hospital, and private practice settings, register as participants.

1988

  • CDHA publishes a national survey of dental hygienists, entitled “Dental Hygiene in Canada, 1987 National Survey of Dental Hygienists: A Demographic, Educational and Employment Profile.”
  • The Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene, Department of National Health and Welfare Canada, publishes a report entitled “The Practice of Dental Hygiene in Canada: Description, Guidelines and Recommendations.” The report highlights a need for more research in such areas as the epidemiology of dental diseases, methods of preventing dental diseases, factors affecting the use of preventive measures, cost-effectiveness of preventive measures, different human resources configurations in dental care, and innovations in delivery systems for dental health.

1990

  • CDHA holds a symposium in Edmonton, Alberta, on “Clinical Dental Hygiene: Directions for Research, Teaching and Evaluation.” The purpose of the symposium is to emphasize the relationship among clinical dental hygiene research, education, and dental hygiene practice; to explore ways to participate in collaborative research; and to investigate a conceptual framework for the dental hygiene profession.

1991

  • The Quebec Dental Hygienists Association disbands.

1993

  • CDHA holds its fourth professional conference, the North American Research Conference: An Exploration into the Future. The American Dental Hygienists Association participates in the development of the conference workshops.
  • CDHA creates the Board Council on Education and Research.

1994

  • The Dentistry Canada Fund is formed when the Canadian Dental Research Fund, the Canadian Fund for Dental Education, the Canadian Dental Foundation, and several smaller funds are merged.
  • CDHA purchases a national office building at 96 Centrepointe Drive in Nepean, Ontario.

1995

  • As part of CDHA’s goal to promote quality dental hygiene research, the Board Council on Education and Research offers its first research grant/award to members.
  • The first independent dental hygiene practice opens in British Columbia

1997

  • CDHA’s Board Council on Education and Research publishes the Educators’ Directory, which includes a listing of researchers and their subject areas.

1998

  • CDHA’s Board Council on Education and Research is disbanded.

1999

  • CDHA publishes an inaugural edition of Probe Scientific, which offers a forum for Canadian dental hygienists to publish their own research while also remaining open to publishing international research.

2000

  • CDHA, in partnership with the Allied Dental Educators’ Committee of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, develops the “Policy Framework for Dental Hygiene Education in Canada, 2005.” Within this framework, CDHA adopts the position that dental hygiene education programs should offer a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene.

2001

  • CDHA submits a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for their pre-budget consultations, in order to inform and educate the committee's members about the importance of oral hygiene and to ensure that oral health care gets the recognition it deserves.
  • CDHA submits a brief to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, contributing to the debate about the future of Canada's health care system; highlighting the importance of the connection between oral and general health; and advocating for increased access to dental hygiene services.
  • CDHA undertakes a study to investigate the deployment of dental hygienists in Canada. Termed the “Canadian Dental Hygienist Study: Profile 2001,” it provides information essential to planning oral health human resources for the health care system.

2002

  • The second labour survey of dental hygienists is undertaken by CDHA.
  • CDHA submits a brief and delivers an oral presentation to the House of Commons, entitled “Financing Canada's Oral Health System,” highlighting CDHA's position on funding for the oral health system.
  • CDHA submits a brief to Senator Kirby, Chairperson of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled “Dental Hygiene Care in Canada.” The report highlights areas where oral health issues have received inadequate attention, and provides recommendations on how to address these shortcomings in the oral health system.
  • CDHA develops the Dental Hygienists’ Code of Ethics.
  • CDHA publishes the Dental Hygiene Client’s Bill of Rights.

2003

  • The Dentistry Canada Fund now consists of 34 endowment funds, including the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association Education Fund.
  • CDHA holds the National Dental Hygiene Research Agenda Workshop. Eleven individuals from across Canada are brought together to develop the first “CDHA Dental Hygiene Research Agenda.”
  • CDHA submits a brief and delivers an oral presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, providing eight recommendations for federal spending on oral health and three recommendations for changes in the area of dental hygiene education, including tax deductions for continuing education expenses.
  • CDHA delivers an oral presentation to the House of Commons, entitled “First Nations and Inuit Oral Health.”

2004

  • CDHA launches the Canadian Foundation for Dental Hygiene Research and Education during its professional conference in Newfoundland. The Research Advisory Committee is formed based on a recommendation made during the development of the “CDHA Dental Hygiene Research Agenda.”
  • CDHA makes a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, advocating for policy and program changes within the federal government to improve the oral health status of Canadians.
  • Given the success of the 2002 survey, CDHA conducts a third labour survey.
  • CDHA submits a brief and an oral presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, identifying oral health services as the missing link in the health system. The brief calls for a recognition of oral health as an integral component of overall health, and its full integration into the larger health care system.

2005

  • CDHA submits a brief and an oral presentation, entitled “Investing in Oral Health – Enhancing Canadians’ Productivity,” to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for their pre-budget consultations. CDHA’s submission focuses on two areas of public policy: oral health and tax incentives for continuing education.

2006

  • CDHA submits a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for its pre-budget consultations, calling for increased spending on oral health promotion and disease prevention programs.
  • CDHA conducts its fourth labour survey.
  • CDHA gives an oral presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, describing the links between oral health and overall health.
  • CDHA submits a brief and an oral presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, making recommendations for improving access to oral health services and calling for direct payment to dental hygienists; categorical oral health funding for low-income individuals, seniors, and persons with disabilities; increased funding for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB); and tax incentives for continuing education.

2007

  • CDHA hosts the International Federation of Dental Hygienists 17th International Symposium on Dental Hygiene at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario.
  • CDHA makes two presentations to approximately 5,000 tobacco-control leaders at the 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, held in Washington DC.
  • CDHA holds its first ever student summit in Toronto, Ontario.
  • CDHA delivers a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, entitled “Oral Health Care: A Necessary Public Good Now and into the Future,” which highlights the poor oral health of a considerable portion of the Canadian population, and requests that the federal government consider providing oral health promotion and disease prevention as a public good for specific groups of citizens including children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income individuals.

2008

  • CDHA submits a brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance emphasizing the importance of a health care system that puts prevention first.
  • CDHA presents a draft business case to the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB), entitled “Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Program Efficiencies in First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Non-Insured Health Benefits Program,” which outlines the benefits of adding dental hygienists to the NIHB provider roster.
  • CDHA creates the Education Advisory Committee (EAC), which replaces the Dental Hygiene Educators Canada (DHEC)

2009

  • CDHA participates in the first North American Dental Hygiene Research Conference, attended by 150 dental hygienists from five different countries. CDHA presents a Leading Poster Presentation Award and a Graduate Student Travel Bursary during the conference.
  • CDHA surpasses the 15,000-member milestone.
  • CDHA, in collaboration with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, launches the “Self-Initiation for Dental Hygienists” course

2010

  • CDHA celebrates the success of its advocacy efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a new Health Professions Act allows dental hygienists to be self-regulated.
  • CDHA is one of the six organizations awarded funding by the federal Elder Abuse Initiative for raising awareness on the issue of older adult abuse and neglect.
  • CDHA launches a very popular Educators’ community. Educator members receive several important benefits including access to the Educators’ Listserv, educator workshops, and an educator award.
  • The first AGM held outside of CDHA’s office takes place on October 16, 2010.

2011

  • Ten years of advocacy efforts pay off as the FNIHB, Non Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Alberta pilot project will continue as a regular service for NIHB eligible clients.
  • A successful national conference, Advancing Dental Hygiene Practice, is held in Halifax in June 2011 and attended by 226 dental hygienists.
  • The first director from the North (Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut) is elected to CDHA’s board.
  • CDHA collaborates with five other organizations to develop a joint position statement on the role of health professionals in tobacco cessation.
  • CDHA’s board of directors endorses the 2011 Position Statement on Community Water Fluoridation.
  • CDHA’s conducts its re-named Job Market and Employment Survey.

2012

  • CDHA launches its new quarterly online magazine, Oh Canada!
  • CDHA updates and republishes its Code of Ethics.
  • CDHA collaborates with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College to develop a three-part webinar series on awareness and prevention of neuromuscular skeletal disorders, as well as a chair-side resource guide of stretches and warm-up exercises.
  • CDHA signs an agreement with the Canadian Pharmacists Association to provide all CDHA members with free access to the online, bilingual Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (e-CPS), which provides health care professionals with the most current Canadian drug information.
  • CDHA opens the Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene to the public through free online access.
  • A student leadership program is launched to recruit student representatives for each recognized dental hygiene program in Canada.
  • CDHA’s board of directors endorses the 2012 Position Statement Update on Sports Mouthguards and launches a national public awareness campaign on the issue.

2013

  • CDHA celebrates its 50th anniversary.
  • Close to 600 individuals attend CDHa’s national conference, Celebrating our roots…our wings, held October 3-5 at the Toronto Airport Marriott.
  • Revised by-laws are approved by CDHA members on Oct 5, 2013.
  • CDHA launches a new Employee and Family Assistance Program.
  • CDHA launches a 25+ year membership recognition program and awards certificates to 1,620 members.
  • CDHA’s Advocacy Toolkit for members is launched.

2014

  • CDHA signs a contract with the Government of Nunavut to provide dental hygiene services to children ages 0 to 7 years.
  • CDHA attends Health Minister Ambrose’s round table on the prevention of and response to family violence and child maltreatment.
  • CDHA reaches 10,000 Facebook fans.
  • CDHA publishes a professional identity statement: "I am a dental hygienist. I educate and empower Canadians to embrace their oral health for better overall health and well-being."
  • CDHA’s board of directors approves a position statement and practice guideline on interdental brushing and flossing.
  • CDHA sells its national office at 96 Centrepointe Drive and purchases a new, larger building at 1122 Wellington St. West, Ottawa.