As of July, 2021, provinces across Canada have moved into phase 3 of reopening and lifting of restrictions. Dental offices are continuing to provide the required PPE and you've noticed that the PPE checklist appears when a temping shift is posted on TempStars and include PPE for non-AGP or AGP procedures. It confirms that the office has them available and Infection Control protocols are in place and meet or exceed the provincial guidelines.
Dental assistants are regulated under the dental colleges, so the PPE and infection control protocols for dental assistant temping shifts must meet or exceed that provinces dental regulatory guidelines for temping shifts for dental assistants.
We do know, for example, that in Ontario some dental offices are restricting their dental hygiene departments to Non-Aerosol Generating Procedures, eliminating the need for N95 masks, which can be hard to find. By not having any aerosol generating procedures done in the hygiene department, it makes it easier to follow the hygiene college regulatory guidelines, while still providing much-needed dental hygiene care.
Dental offices, when accepting an offer from a hygienist or assistant to work a temping shift, must also acknowledge and agree that if a hygienist or assistant arrives at a temping shift to find the PPE or Infection Control protocols of that office do not meet or exceed the provincial guidelines and must leave as a result, the office is obligated to compensate the hygienist/assistant for the entire shift.
Because there are different ways that dental office may implement PPE and Infection Control Protocols and still be compliant, as a dental hygienist or assistant, it's important to seek clarification from the dental office owner or manager if you have questions or concerns about a dental office's protocols, systems and infrastructure.
If after getting clarification from the owner/manager you still feel the office violates the state/provincial guidelines, contact our support team right away at firstname.lastname@example.org. In most of these cases, it is a misunderstanding and the office is actually compliant once things are clarified, and we can help sort this out.
If we can independently confirm that the dental office is indeed in violation and doesn't meet or exceed the state/provincial guidelines and you need to leave the shift as a result, the office is obligated to compensate you for the lost shift earnings.
Note: The state/provincial guidelines are objectively verifiable and it might take some discussion with the office to determine if they are following or in violation of the guidelines before the PPE shift protocol payment can be confirmed.
Don't forget, you also have every right to ask for their IPAC documents if you feel the office is in violation. Always reach out if you have questions on how best to handle any situation! :)