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About the Association

Early History

The first dentist to enter Manitoba was Dr. J.L. Benson in 1877.  By 1883 it became evident that there was a need to protect the health and welfare of the public and guard the ideals of the profession.  Fifteen dentists in the Province saw to the passing of the first Dental Act on July 7, 1883.  The first registration fee was $100.00.

Since then there have been 89 presidents.  Seventy of them served a one year term, the others served for at least two years and one served for nine years.

In those early days the primary function of the Board was to serve as examiners for licensing exams.  Records indicate that Dr. M. Harry Garvin was first licensed on July 18, 1903.  He retired in 1965 after an illustrious career in dentistry, including being the CDA Journal Editor.

In 1903, rail fares were too costly for members to attend the Annual Meeting to elect the Board so in that year in election by ballot system was implemented.

In 1912, after years of attempting to establish a Dental Faculty, a motion was passed that the matter of becoming connected with the University by forming a Faculty be left in abeyance.  In 1957, forty-five years later the necessary details were completed to establish a Faculty of Dentistry.

By 1923, the Board was no longer involved in indentureship or license exams as most applicants had their Dominion Dental Councils.

The Board’s challenge was in trying to regulate its present members.

In 1926 members at the Annual Meeting passed a motion to give financial support to the Alberta Dental Association to defend a proposed appeal by a individual who was going to the Privy Council of Great Britain because he claimed he did not need a dental license to make and insert artificial dentures.

Responsibilities

The policy making body of the Manitoba Dental Association is the Board of Directors.  Its authority comes from the Dental Association Act.  The Act is updated, as needed, to reflect current thinking.  In 1971, two key changes were made to the legislation:  the addition of a Government appointed person to the Board, and the requirement that continuing education would be mandatory for re-licensing.  In 1993, the Peer Review Section of the Act was updated to allow a range of options for disciplining a dentist and for the process to be more transparent to the public.

In 2006, The Act was again amended which removed the requirement for dental hygienists to be registered with the Manitoba Dental Association.  The Province of Manitoba through legislation granted self-regulatory status to the profession of dental hygiene.  The amendments also allowed for the registration and certification of dental assistants under the Association.

The Board generally governs the Association through motions passed at Board Meetings.  The work of the Board is performed by numerous committees.  Committees bring their recommendations to the Board for approval.  If a committee recommendation will have a substantial effect on the practise of dentistry then it must be developed in the form of a by-law.

Once a committee is satisfied with its draft of a by-law it is presented to the Board for approval.  The Board considers the recommendation and, if in agreement passes the by-law, establishes a date it will come into effect and distributes it to the membership for approval.  Often members do not accept the by-law and write to the MDA stating their concerns.  The by-law does not come into effect but must be discussed at a general meeting of the Association.  At that general meeting the membership has two choices:  to either ratify or reject the by-law.  If the membership rejects the by-law with recommendations for amendments, those suggestions are taken back to the committee, considered and, if appropriate, developed into another draft of the by-law to go through the above process again.

Structure

Dentistry is currently structured with the Manitoba Dental Association performing two major functions: (1) protection of the public, and (2) advancement of the interest of the members.

The Dental Association Act details the powers, authority and responsibilities of the MDA as a licensing authority.  The Act reserves both the title and function of dentists and dental assistants for those who are licensed as dentists and certified as dental assistants.

The role the MDA has of advancing the interests of members has grown out of the desire of dentists not through legislated responsibilities.

Board Structure

The MDA is governed by a Board of 11 people.  Dentists are elected for a 2 year term from 3 districts.

  • Elected Dentists
    1. Central (Winnipeg & surrounding area) - 4
    2. Western (Portage la Prairie west & south of Riding Mountain National Park) – 1
    3. Northern (the remainder of Manitoba) – 1
  • The immediate Past-President
  • Representatives of the Minister of Health - 3
  • Representative of the licensed Dental Assistants Association -1

The MDA’s Registrar, Dean – Faculty of Dentistry and Canadian Dental Association Director for Manitoba are non-voting observers at the Board meetings.

The Executive Director serves as Secretary Treasurer to the Board and the Director of Member and Public Relations serves as information co-ordinator.

Manitoba Dental Association Staff

Executive Director

Rafi Mohammed

Registrar

Marcel Van Woensel

Director of Facility Assessments and Continuing Competency

Linda Berg

Director of Member and Public Relations

Pamela McFarlane

Administrator - Registration, Licensing and Dental Incorporations

Cheryl Duffy

Administrator, Peer Review and Licensing Support Services

Sarah Harvey

General Secretary

Diane McDonald