Occupational Licensing

Dental Hygienist Labeled 'Sexual Abuser' and Loses License for Treating His Wife

The case is a bizarre example of occupational licensing woes and backward regulations.

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A dental hygienist in Canada has been stripped of his license and labeled a "sexual abuser" by an Ontario regulatory body because he engaged in sexual relations with a patient. That patient was his wife.

The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) has barred Alex Tanase from the profession for at least five years, and online records will indicate that he was terminated over sexual abuse.

Tanase's case is particularly strange considering dentists are allowed to treat their spouses; it's only hygienists that are prohibited from having marital partners as patients, even when consent has clearly been established in their private sexual lives. The CDHO proposed an amendment to allow spousal treatment in April 2015, though it was never ratified by the government.

But Tanase thought it had been, according to a statement posted on Facebook. "After the CDHO proposal was submitted," he writes, "a colleague who is also a dental hygienist informed me and other coworkers that the spousal exemption had been approved when in fact it had not. I believed her without question. Unfortunately, I should have double-checked the great news but instead booked my wife for a cleaning. She suffers from dental fear and anxiety like so many other clients." He began cleaning her teeth in 2015 and continued until August 2016, when someone filed a formal complaint against him.

Under the Regulated Health Professionals Act, he was ruled a sexual abuser in April 2018. He appealed to Ontario's Divisional Court, which upheld the CDHO's decision last month. "Unless and until the Ontario government approves the regulation put forward by the College of Dental Hygienists to enact a spousal exemption," the panel wrote, "the mandatory revocation and ancillary relief imposed by the discipline committee as they pertain to spouses must be upheld." While the judges expressed regret that the CDHO proceeded with the complaint against Tanase, they said that, based on the current regulations, they had no choice but to rule against him.

The next time Tanase can reapply for a license will be in 2024. According to Ondina Love, CEO of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, the spousal rules exist only in Ontario and New Brunswick, which were enacted as part of a zero-tolerance policy to protect patients from exploitation. Although Tanase plans to file a second appeal, he says the estimated $35,000 fees—which will double if he loses again—are currently prohibitive, per a GoFundMe page set up to raise legal funds.

"It makes no sense, in 2019, that dental hygienists in Ontario are not allowed to clean their spouses' teeth, especially when dentists can provide dental care to their spouses," Tanase wrote in his statement. "Our spouses should have the right, just like any other client, to choose who cares for their dental health. Why are we so different from other dental hygienists in Canada? How are the dentists' spouses different from the dental hygienists' spouses?"

Tanase unwittingly hits on some of the primary concerns surrounding occupational licensing missteps. The often-extreme requirements stifle freedom of choice and are sometimes blatantly protectionist.

In the U.S., for instance, occupational licenses are commonly required in professions which most certainly don't need them. Take hair braiders, florists, and barbers, who in many states must undergo extensive—and expensive—training to get the government's stamp of approval. The result is an economy that is less dynamic, with licensing barriers preventing entry for many would-be workers.

When it comes to dental hygienists, what training should be required of them is less cut and dry. But such requirements should be created and enforced by a private professional organization of dental experts, as opposed to the government, which, in Tanase's case, has publicly labeled him a predator for sleeping with his wife. While he is not on a sex offender registry, the details of his license termination are accessible to anyone, including future employers.

"That's right: I have been labelled a sexual abuser by CDHO and the Ontario government when no actual sexual abuse existed," Tanase wrote. It's worth noting that the two are intertwined: The CDHO is governed by a council partially composed of public members put in place by the provincial government.

The U.S. is also no stranger to exacting ludicrous and long-lasting punishments for sexual "offenders." In Maryland, a teenage girl was convicted of trafficking child pornography for sending a video of herself giving oral sex; the state's highest court is currently weighing the charges. In Colorado, a 15-year-old male who swapped nude selfies with two teenage girls was forced to register as a sex offender for at least 20 years, a penalty that will drastically limit where he can live and work.

If anyone can relate, it's Tanase, who teeters on losing his home after losing both his work and reputation—all for sleeping with his wife.

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  1. What I do not understand is that these are judges imposing the fine here. A judge exists so that they have the authority to state “This is patently absurd”. “In the interest of justice, I cannot enforce this”. Why are we so cowardly that we cannot stand up to stupidity?

    1. legislating on the bench isn’t quite the answer here, I don’t think.

      1. As depicted so well in Atlas Shrugged, the purpose of these laws is not that people obey them, but rather, that they create “dirt” on everyone, which the state can leverage as needed.

      2. There’s a difference between ending the prosecution of a dumb law and legislating. Otherwise, every act of prosecutorial discretion would be “legislation.”

      3. I suspect most here support the right of jurors to engage in jury nullification and the power (and even the responsibility) of prosecutors to exercise prosecutorial discretion in cases which otherwise would result in punitive sanctions against an individual when the law is clearly ridiculous or being applied ridiculously and no party is harmed by exercising such discretion.

        I don’t see why a judge doing the same is “legislating on the bench”. In this case, it’s really not likely there would be any party harmed by such discretion (except maybe the co-worker who probably “turned in” this poor guy because they wanted more hours of work for themselves).

    2. And risk their law license?

    3. Can someone explain to me the reason why this was written into the regulation? I can’t fathom why it should not be ok for someone to clean his wife’s teeth.

      1. I remember a story of a dentist awhile ago taking advantage of patients under anesthetics. Not sure that is the reason but that is what I thought of when reading.

        1. 1. That was a movie – Horrible Bosses

          2. That would be a danger from dentists but

          a) laws preventing dentists from having sexual relations with their patients still won’t prevent one from having his way with you while you’re gassed.

          b) If they did have their way with you, there are other laws – notably *rape* laws – to deal with that. Losing their license would be the least of their worries.

          c) doesn’t apply to dental hygienists who, as far as I know, never are alone in the room with you while you’re under. They clean teeth and you don’t need a general for teeth cleaning and if you did, the dentist (or someone trained in anesthesiology) would have to be there to monitor you.

          So, basically

      2. Some politically motivated shallow-thinker said “we need a rule to prevent hygienists from having sex with patients”. That was written as-is into law. Nobody said “what if they’re married?” because exceptions make it seem less serious. Or worse, somebody said “nobody would ever enforce the rule that way”. The statute certainly doesn’t say “even if they’re married”.

      3. This is Canada we’re talking about. They can’t just ALLOW subjects to do seemingly innocuous things. Think of the childrens!

      4. Or his girlfriend’s teeth, or those of someone he hooked up with casually, for that matter. I’m not seeing the power that dental hygienists hold over people that would justify this sort of regulation.

        1. Patients may be vulnerable because the hygienist may harangue on them to brush and floss regularly and threaten to enter into their dental record indications that they did not follow this advice. The hygienist could then offer to “not record the patient’s transgression” in exchange for some “favors”.

          …or something like that…

      5. There is a significant difference between allowing for unforeseen consequences such as this and “legislating from the bench”.

        As an example often seen in this website, the federal child pornography statute explicitly states to ignore the local age of consent, whether that of a state or international. To not prosecute in those cases would be to legislate from the bench as it directly contradicts the law.

        However, in this case, the rule says “having sex with a patient is a crime”, without thinking of the logical consequences. There have been issues of doctors or nurses taking advantage of patients. Dental hygienists more likely than not copied the older nurse code word for word. No one considered the possibility of a pre-existing relationship. It’s a hole. A mistake. Something that judges are supposed to cover up with precedent.

    4. Canada operate under a very different legal system than we do. Judges do not have the authority, as they do in the US, to judge the law as well as the facts of any given case, and if the law is unjust or harms, as in this case, to set it aside and render a NOT GUILTY verdict. They are more like administrative law functionaries, not after “justice” or what is right and decent, but after moving differeent coloured marbles about on a playing board.

      Sort of remind me of the administrative law “judge” for Oregon’s Labour and INdustries who “found” the bakery couple in Gresham “guilty of “discrimination” for declining to bake that “speshul” cake for the two females wanting to “marry”. The two had specifically gone on the hunt for an openly christian baker for the express purpose of being declined, then throwing their hissy fits and taking legal action. The “judge” is a known sodomite, ad slammed the couple as hard as he could. Hope he sleeps well at night (not really) cause HE has made a hash of this couples’ life, destroyied their business, and broken them financially. I’m certain that had this been tried in front of a jury of the couple’s peers they’d have not been found to be out of line.

    5. The purpose of the law and this ruling is to protect the rent seeking profits of dentists to rent out hygienists.

      Follow the dollars.

  2. In Canada, if you want to keep your sex-with-your-wife police on duty, protecting you from having sex with your wife, you are allowed to KEEP your sex police!

    I for one, hope that the Canadian sex-with-your-wife police will STAY in Canada! And NOT cum down here!

    (So I guess the Mounties are against un-authorized mounting, then? So WHY do they call them Mounties, then?)

    1. It’s all BS. Everyone knows married guys don’t have sex.

      1. Sure they do. Just not with their wives and sometimes not for “free”.

  3. Although Tanase plans to file a second appeal, he says the estimated $35,000 fees—which will double if he loses again—are currently prohibitive…

    There is no such thing as a free redress.

  4. “He began cleaning her teeth in 2015 and continued until August 2016, when someone filed a formal complaint against him.”

    There’s a special place in hell waiting for the prick who filed the complaint. Hopefully their departure from this life on their way to eternal torment involves a wood chipper.

    1. Woodchipper first, departure second.

    2. continued until August 2016, when someone filed a formal complaint against him

      Glad someone else fixated on the same seemingly throwaway clause that actually highlights the real problem: anonymous complaints. Unless the complaint came from someone demonstrably harmed by his actions or someone complaining on behalf of a minor, why would they investigate?

      1. Agreed; when I read the headline I figured the guy must have had some hanky panky going on in the clinic; I envisioned him putting her under some nitrous and getting on the nasty with her in the chair [no, I’m not Crusty, really].

        Turns out all he did was clean her f’ing teeth, and be married to her. But in a world where there are so many opportunities to snitch on your fellow humans, I suppose it is inevitable that some piece of shit with a grudge or whatever agenda would use it.

        1. I’m turning you in for speaking your mind without a permit!

        2. Could he have used as a defense that he never has sex with his wife?

          1. How did the judge prove he was having sex with his wife. We all know that after several years of marriage sex may not be happening.
            The man’s defense should have been that he does not have sex with his wife, she testifies to that, and let the jerks prove otherwise.

      2. That jumped out at me too. Whoever complained knew the law and had some desire to fuck this guy over. I’d guess a coworker.

        1. Perhaps the colleague who told him the law was changed was actually setting him up.

        2. It could also be one of the pecksniffs who believe every law is sacred and Must Be Obeyed.

        3. or a competitor in the same line of work and town

        4. I was thinking maybe a co-worker who wanted more hours of work.

      3. If you “see something, say something”.

        You know, growing up it never occurred to me that I should be rooting for Boss Hogg; I always sided with the Duke boys. Never in a million years did we think that Darth Vader was the good guy.

        Now, they have us neighbor against neighbor.

    3. Seriously. Who is the fucking asshole who filed a complaint? Must have been someone with a score to settle.

      1. or somebody sleeping with his wife.

        1. Or someone wanting to sleep with his wife.

    4. Woodchipper? I think a dental drill would be appropriate here.

      Is it safe?

  5. While the judges expressed regret that anyone ever filed a complaint against Tanase, they said that, based on the current regulations, they had no choice but to rule against him.

    Sorry, pal, but the law is the law.

    1. Well, do you want the rule of law or what?

      1. I’ve heard that the best way to get rid of bad laws is to enforce them.

        1. Plenty of bad laws are enforced every day all over the world and they’re not going anywhere.

    2. “I was just following orders!”

  6. Should he lose his license? No.

    Would I want to be treated by him? Hell no. And his employer should certainly be able to fire him for inappropriate behavior.

    1. Why wouldn’t you want to be treated by him ? What was his inappropriate behavior ?

      1. He only likes gay dentists drilling his back teeth?

        1. Only if he gets AIDS from his (fully licensed, degreed, and credentialed) dentist! Yes, it can happen, it did happen! AIDS is OK, as long as the dentist is credentialed!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberly_Bergalis

      2. I’m sorry, the way reason put it (“sexual relations with a patient”) implied that he was having sexual relations while cleaning her teeth. I consider that inappropriate. As it turns out, that was just Reason deliberately sensationalizing and stoking outrage.

        A responsible journalist would have put “sexual relations with a patient” into quotes, since it is the alleged offense but obviously not the offense that occurred. But responsible journalism is obviously too much to expect from Reason these days.

    2. Freedom for all humans, all around, I say… To each his / her own. I am curious as to WHY you wouldn’t want to be treated by him, though? Because he wasn’t a law-worshipper, reading every nit-noid stupid little law on the books, to make sure he played by the rules? That he DARED, instead, to take the word of a co-worker? That he DARED to hold himself to the same rules as dentists, who ARE allowed to treat their relatives? That was pretty “uppity” for a mere teeth cleaner, to think himself entitled to do the same as higher-ranked, more-credentialed dentists?

      I for one, would NOT trust a teeth cleaner, whose husband or wife didn’t trust him or her! That his cleaning-averse wife trusted him, speaks well of the man!

    3. Would I want to be treated by him? Hell no. And his employer should certainly be able to fire him for inappropriate behavior.

      WTF? Are you imagining he knocked her out with NO2 and banged her in the dental chair in the office?

      he engaged in sexual relations with a patient. That patient was his wife.

      He just cleaned her teeth like any other patient. I will leave it to others to speculate where the actual sex took place.

      1. Don’t kink-shame, my friend.

      2. WTF? Are you imagining he knocked her out with NO2 and banged her in the dental chair in the office?

        Based on the article, yes, that’s what I imagined. As it turned out, Binion is just guilty of sloppy writing.

    4. What inappropriate behavior? He cleaned the teeth of a woman he is married to. You should read beyond the headline [see my comment above].

    5. And his employer should certainly be able to fire him for inappropriate behavior.

      I don’t think anyone will disagree with you on that. But it doesn’t seem like that’s what happened at all.

    6. It’s so absurd that it’s easy to misunderstand, but to be clear: He didn’t have sex with her at the dentist’s office. He cleaned her teeth, and then at some other time had sex with his wife as couples tend to do.

    7. NOYB2 probably just skimmed the story.

    8. I am seriously curious as to what you think was inappropriate here?

      He wasn’t banging his wife in the office.

  7. He should take the defense that, at the times he was having sex with her, she identified as his lover, not his wife. Or maybe she was a male during sex. Or any other made up thing as stupid as the regulations.

    1. Where is Bill-Clinton-inspired creative testimony when you need it most? “I did not have sex with that woman!” And dare the judge to prove otherwise! If the couple has a kid or kids, say that they inseminated with a turkey baster!

      1. You have some shit in your teeth slaver.

        1. You have evil in the black hole in the void where your brain should be.

          1. You think slavery is ok, shit breath.

            “SQRLSY One
            September.22.2019 at 10:42 am
            Nobody ever died for lack of a cake. Laws about non-bigot-driven access to emergency rooms, OK then. Hotels & restaurants, essential for travelling, OK then.”

            I win. Again. Because you are actually a for real slaver. Who wants to eat shit.

            1. The only thing that you “win” at, is making it abundantly clear that you are a mindless asshole. ‘Nuff said…

    2. ‘Just because we are married doesn’t mean that we are having sex. I am actually a celibate homosexual and you have forced me to out myself and admit this publicly. Hope you’re happy.’

    3. I think treating your lover is just as bad under the policy. He should have claimed that while he was treating her they were temporarily separated.

    4. I think that he didn’t take such an absurd case seriously. If I was the prosecutor, I would be embarrassed to even bring it. Was this a stunt in order to drum up attention or create precedent to eliminate a bad law? That’s the only situation in which I can understand the actions of everyone involved (the complainant for making the complaint, the prosecutor for acting on it, and the judge refusing to play their game).

  8. I don’t understand how something that might be considered professional misconduct for treating an unauthorized patient or a conflict of interest morphed into a Sex Offense.

    1. What would you say to a nurse sleeping with patients in the hospital? Or a psychiatrist manipulating patients into sex? That’s what this rule was made against. Not this.

  9. “A dental hygienist in Canada”

    Oh a 3rd world human rights country. The headline made it seem like this was a real country.

    1. It’s Ontario, not Canada, and no other province has this rule, but you’re absolutely right.
      It’s exactly like how all the crazy regulations in California apply to the entire U.S. of A., making it an even worse 3rd world human rights country.

  10. But such requirements should be created and enforced by a private professional organization of dental experts, as opposed to the government, which, in Tanase’s case, has publicly labeled him a predator for sleeping with his wife.

    Go to hell. Who do you think writes the regulations the government enforces? There’s already professional organizations for every profession imaginable and those are the very rent seekers who write the rules designed simply and solely to limit competition.

    1. He did say the regulations should be enforced by the private org. Presumably that means that the sanctions are limited to expulsion from the organization. Seems like the right way to do it to me.

  11. ” when someone filed a formal complaint against him.”

    That’s the problem with these sorts of regs and laws. They weaponize assholes to go and do this shit.

    Here’s hoping – and you know who you are – karma comes back and whips you asshole.

  12. According to Wikipedia, 90% of Canadians had their “right” to same-sex marriage established by the decision of some court or other, presumably based on the Canadian Constitution. (Parliament came in later to establish this “right” for the remaining 10%).

    So they have a constitution broad enough to redefine marriage to take in same-sex couples, but apparently the constitution allows professionals to be treated as sex perverts for giving otherwise-lawful services to their spouses.

    Maybe it’s because the courts simply don’t see cases like this through their SJW filter, or maybe their protestations of support for the institution of marriage are false. Maybe you can’t show support for marriage simply by proclaiming “of course I’m pro-marriage, I let men marry men and women marry women! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with persecuting people once their married, but at least I want more people to get a paper saying they’re married.”

    1. By “coincidence,” the definition of marriage has been “broadened” and “expanded” at the same time that it’s been downgraded from an essential civic institution to one of several lifestyle choices – shacking up with paperwork but no special defenses against state power based on your marital status.

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  14. He vaguely resembles Dom DeLuise.

  15. I’d say he has a defamation case against the board and the state. They have labeled him as a sexual abuser in an official designation. He can clearly demonstrate in court that this is not the case, and that they in fact knew that this was not the case at the time that they so labeled him.

    Instead of an appeal that just nets the state more fees, I’d say go for a civil suit naming everyone involved. Sure, the state actors might be able to hide behind sovereign immunity…. maybe. But the board and its members might not. And since they have insisted on doubling and tripling down on the lies, he should be able to get a pretty hefty punitive damage award.

    At least, if the HnR Latest commentariat were sitting on the jury, that’s how it would play out.

  16. Add this to the stack of reasons why I will not go to Canada, nor do business directly with Canadians.

  17. “ He began cleaning her teeth in 2015 and continued until August 2016, when someone filed a formal complaint against him.”

    Who the fuck…?

  18. Now wait a second…his dental career may be over with….

    The question now for the Judge/LEOs is: is he still sleeping with his wife? Would this not make him a repeat offender?

  19. This is the price we must pay for CIVILIZATION!

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