CDHA Job Market and Employment Survey

CDHA conducts a biennial compensation survey to all our practising dental hygienist members to gauge employment trends in Canada and collect and analyse data on key aspects of the profession.

This important source of information will assist you whether you are preparing for a new job interview, negotiating an employment contract, or considering relocating to another province or territory.

The 2021 online survey will be administered through a contracted third party, The Portage Group, to ensure confidentiality and privacy of responses. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will include questions on:

  • salary rates and employment benefits
  • key job responsibilities and decision-making authority
  • practice environment and job satisfaction
  • incidence of workplace related injuries
  • future plans

The survey will run from Tuesday, September 14, to Thursday, September 30, 2021.

If you do not receive an initial email invitation on September 14, 2021, please email The Portage Group at surveys@portagegroup.com.

2019 CDHA Job Market and Employment Survey

The response rate to the 2019 Job Market and Employment Survey was very strong at 33.08% (5,347 responses). The survey was sent out to 16,161 CDHA members as students and retired members were excluded from the survey.


Highlights of the Report
  • The average hourly wage of dental hygienists across all provinces and territories has risen slightly each year since 2013
  • Dental hygiene baccalaureate degree holders report higher average wages
  • The approximate unemployment rate for dental hygienists is 1%, which is below the current Canadian unemployment rate of 5.5% as of June 2019
  • 91% of respondents work in clinical dental hygiene; 71% work for a single employer
  • More than three quarters (84%) of dental hygienists receive employee benefits
  • 88% of respondents have decision-making authority over implementing dental hygiene services
  • Respondents working in specialty practices work most often in orthodontics (41%) and periodontics (36%)
  • Independently practising dental hygienists continue to report high levels of satisfaction
Challenges We Face:
  • Only 51% of respondents have a written contract with their employer, and only 42% have an annual performance review
  • Younger, less experienced dental hygienists are less likely to report a salary increase
  • Three quarters (75%) of respondents report experiencing work-related pain in the past year
  • Close to half of respondents (52%) state they are prevented from practising to the full scope due to provincial regulations
  • There is an increasing trend towards interprofessional collaboration, yet the majority of dental hygienists (63%) report that they have the least influence over making referrals to other health professionals
The Future:
  • 53% of respondents plan to practice more than 10 years in the profession in a clinical capacity
  • Among those who plan to stay longer than two years in the profession, the top preferred work setting is a clinical practice in a dental office (81%), followed by community health or public health, government (32%), and educational institution (28%)
  • 57% of respondents think their local economy will remain the same over the next year, 17% think it will improve and 7% think it will worsen