Royal College of
Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Language Proficiency

Effective communication is an essential component in the delivery of safe and effective dental care. As set out in the General Regulation to the Dentistry Act (1991, O. Reg 205/94), in order to be eligible for a certificate of registration with the College, applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to speak and write either English or French with reasonable fluency. Proficiency in English or French is required for dentists to effectively communicate with patients, other professionals, and with the College.

All applications will be reviewed by the College to determine whether an applicant meets the language proficiency requirement. This policy sets out how applicants can satisfy this requirement, which can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  1. The four main pathways in which an applicant may be deemed to meet the language proficiency requirement.
  2. If an applicant is unable to demonstrate language proficiency through one of the four main pathways, applicants can provide alternative evidence of language proficiency, which will be evaluated by the College.
  3. If there are concerns that an applicant’s submission to the College does not demonstrate reasonable fluency in English or French, the application may be brought forward to the Registrar for review, or referred to the Registration Committee for final decision.

1. Main Pathways for Demonstrating Language Proficiency 

The majority of applicants will be deemed to have met the language proficiency requirement through of one of the pathways set out below:

A) Applicants who have graduated from an accredited dentistry program

This currently includes dentistry educational programs accredited by:

  • the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC)
  • the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association
  • the Australian Dental Council (after March 31, 2010)
  • the Dental Council – New Zealand (after December 14, 2011), or
  • the Irish Dental Council (after December 5, 2012)

B) Applicants who have graduated from a dentistry Qualifying or Degree Completion program

Graduates from accredited two-year qualifying or degree completion programs in dentistry.

C) Applicants who have graduated from a non-accredited dentistry program taught in English or French

Graduates from non-accredited dentistry programs taught fully in English or French. Graduates from non-accredited dentistry programs must submit a letter from the Dean confirming that the program is taught entirely in English or French to support their application.

D) Applicants who have successfully completed an English / French Language Proficiency Test

Applicants who meet the minimum score in one of the approved English / French language proficiency tests are deemed to have met the College’s language proficiency requirement. An applicant must meet the minimum acceptable score in each area, in addition to the overall band score.

Scores are valid for two years from the date of the test. This timeframe aligns with the two-year validity period recommended by testing providers. Original test results or a copy of test results from one of the following language proficiency assessments must be submitted:

IELTS Academic Format

Writing – 7     Speaking – 7     Listening – 7     Reading – 7     Overall Band Score – 7.5

TOEFL iBT:

Writing – 27     Speaking – 23     Listening – 24     Reading – 24     Overall Score – 100

CanTEST (English) or TESTCan (French)

Writing – 4     Speaking - 4.5     Listening – 4     Reading – 4     Overall Band Score – 4.5

Note:  CanTEST and TESTCan are no longer being offered. Test score results remain valid for a period of two years from the date the test was administered. All CanTEST or TESTCan test scores will be rendered invalid after August 15th, 2022.

TEF

  • Compréhension écrite (reading) - 233/300 points
  • Compréhension orale (listening) - 280/360 points
  • Expression écrite (writing) - 349/450 points
  • Expression orale (speaking) - 349/450 points

Ordre des Dentistes du Québec

French Language Certificate (as required by ODQ) issued within 2 years of submitting an application for registration. 

2. Alternative Evidence of Language Proficiency

Applicants who are unable to demonstrate language proficiency through one of the four ways noted above may submit other evidence of language proficiency to the College. A submission to demonstrate language proficiency by other means must include:

  1. A letter written by the applicant outlining how they meet the language proficiency requirement. The letter is an opportunity to demonstrate their written language skills. Information within the letter should describe how they meet language proficiency requirements, including previous employment and/or educational background, and/or relevant experience that demonstrates proficiency in English or French.; and
  2. Supporting documentation that demonstrates evidence of language proficiency from schooling, teaching or work experience gained within the past five years. Examples of evidence that demonstrates language proficiency that may be accepted by the College includes:
    • Evidence of employment as a health care provider where the primary language spoken was English or French. Supporting documentation should include a letter from a previous employer confirming dates of employment, primary responsibilities within the role, and information attesting to the applicant’s language proficiency in English or French.
    • Evidence of graduation in a health profession training program taught fully in English or French. Supporting documentation should include a letter from the Dean or head of the program confirming the successful completion of the program, and that the program is taught entirely in English or French.
    • Evidence of teaching experience at a College or University in which the primary teaching language is English or French. Supporting documentation should include a letter from the employer/faculty confirming language of instruction, employment dates, and attesting to the applicant’s language proficiency.

Applicants also have the option to provide evidence of language proficiency that doesn’t fall under any of the examples listed above.

As previously noted, any submission to the College must include a letter written by the applicant outlining how they meet the language proficiency requirement, along with supporting documentation.

3. Registrar Review and Registration Committee

All applications are reviewed and assessed for language proficiency by the College. If College staff have concerns as to whether an applicant has demonstrated language proficiency in English/French, the application may be referred to the Registrar for review. In some instances, the Registrar may also provide the application to the Registration Committee for consideration. The final decision is at the discretion of the Committee.

Applicants that are referred to the Registration Committee for consideration should expect some delay in the registration process as the Registration Committee typically meets only four to five times per year. Applicants will be provided with 30 days written notice of the referral and will be given the opportunity to submit additional evidence of their English or French language proficiency that they wish to be considered by the panel.

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* The letter submitted by the applicant is an opportunity to demonstrate their written language skills. Information within the letter should describe how they meet language proficiency requirement, including previous employment and/or educational background, and/or relevant experience that demonstrates proficiency in English or French. 

** Examples of a health profession training program include a Dental Hygienist Program, Dental Assistant Program and Dental Office Administration Program.