A message from the Association of Alberta Dental Assistants Board Chair
January 1, 2021
Hello, my name is Susanne Strueby. I currently work in general dental practice in Edmonton, Alberta. It is with great excitement that I recently accepted the position of Chairman of the Board of the Association of Alberta Dental Assistants.
The Association of Alberta Dental Assistants is a professional members’ association, established in 2012 to serve as a unified voice for dental assistants in Alberta and to work in the interest of and on the behalf of the Registered Dental Assistant. These are roles that cannot be filled by our professional College the CADA.
2019/2020 has been a very busy year, and 2020/2021 will be no exception. Since March of 2020, the AADA has been busy keeping RDA’s up to date with Covid-19 regulations and the sometimes minute by minute and day to day changes in public health directives. You can find a copy of our annual activities in detail on the Provincial News page of this website.
When the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in all of the oral health Colleges creating their own set of guidelines to provide dental treatment during Covid-19, the AADA began to receive calls from RDAs who were working in clinical environments having staff under three different sets of guidelines. In response to the concerns that were raised, the AADA wrote to Minister of Health Tyler Shandro asking that all clinical oral health professionals work under a single set of guidelines. As a result of our advocacy, the Minister required the Colleges for Dentists, Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists to work together to issue a single set of guidelines for clinical staff to work under. This was a huge victory for the AADA on behalf of our members and for public safety in assuring all three professions was working under the same set of guidelines.
Working to make changes in legislation is not fast or easy. Many of these projects take years of effort, countless submissions, several meetings with government Ministers and staff. The AADA continues to work tirelessly on issues related to Workers Compensation, the Health Professions Act, and Occupational Health and Safety. We are also continuing our efforts to remove the monopoly of provision of Liability Insurance with Practice Permits. Currently, only 3 of 29 health profession Colleges in Alberta include professional liability insurance with licensure, with the other 26 Colleges citing conflict of interest with the PLI being offered by the provincial Colleges.
The AADA is participating through our representatives with the Canadian Dental Assistants Association (CDN DAA) with respect to the review of the national classification of dental assistants in Canada. Under the current National Occupations Classification, dental assistants are categorized as “unskilled workers”. The CDAA and NDAEB will be releasing the latest National Occupational Analysis for Dental Assistants in early January 2021. That document will be the basis for the Canadian Dental Assistants Association to prepare their proposal and arguments to have the dental assistant profession reclassified as “skilled workers”. The value of that re-classification will be huge for our profession across the country. As we continue to expand our scope of practice and our value to the oral health of Canadians it is important that we be recognized for the training, skills and patient treatment that we provide.
The AADA developed our new website with the assistance and sponsorship of Maxident Professional Software and we were excited to have it launched on December 1, 2020 under our new domain name www.rda-alberta.ca This site has a “Paid Members” page that provides exclusive resources to those RDA’s who support our work through their financial contribution to a Society partner of the AADA. Without the financial support of our Society partners we would be unable to operate. Our volunteers are also obtained through these local Society partners and they bring their experience and knowledge of association operations to us for your benefit.
For those areas of Alberta who no longer have a Local association, the AADA has set aside funds to help RDAs restart one and ensure that those regions have more opportunities to participate, contribute to and establish a dental assistant community for support, services, and benefits. I encourage you to contact the AADA office if you are interested in starting a Local in your region.
I would also encourage you to come to us with issues of urgency and importance to the practice of the RDA. We won’t be able to make changes if we don’t know what your concerns are. Regularly, you will see surveys or polls on our Facebook page and group page. We need your feedback and data to inform our initiatives so please take a few minutes to provide that to us. We thank you in advance for your participation!
The Alberta Association of Dental Assistants works tirelessly on behalf of all Alberta RDA’s whether you are a paid member or not. Needless to say, advocacy does require finances and volunteers. Without financial support and participation from you, the RDA, the AADA could not continue working on these many projects and initiatives on your behalf. I would encourage each and every RDA in Alberta to support your tri-levels of professional associations through a local association membership so these important organizations can continue to work on behalf of all dental assistants. The more RDA’s who join with us the more we can accomplish and the more the work can be shared. Invest in your profession. Invest in your professional future. Invest in your career.
Together we can accomplish great things!
Susanne Strueby, RDA
AADA Board Chair 2020-2021