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October 28, 2017 4:45 am

Dentist Lobbies in Favour of CNC Dental Programs

Friday, April 17, 2015 @ 10:23 AM

Prince George, B.C. – A Prince George dentist is pleading for the board of the College of New Caledonia to keep the school’s dental programs intact.

Dr. Nav Mann, a life-long Prince George resident, a former CNC student, and local dental practice owner, says the proposed suspension of the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs would have a devastating effect.

“The loss of these programs will create a terrible ripple effect throughout the dental community, which will ultimately diminish the public’s access to high quality oral health care,” he says. “A decrease in the number of qualified certified dental assistants and dental hygienists in the region will quickly result in a significant increase in dental staff wages.”

He says those costs will “be passed along to patients” which “are likely to create a significant obstacle to them maintaining good oral health.”

Along with increased costs, he says a shortage of trained dental professionals will create longer wait times and “less time spent with each patient.”

In addition to that, Mann says the loss of the dental programs would force dental practices to look elsewhere for qualified professionals which he contends will “produce a more transient and unstable pool of dental professionals.”

CNC’s Board of Governors will announce their final decision on the dental programs at their April 24 board meeting.

The board is grappling with a $2.8 million deficit this year.


The basic problem is a 2.8 million dollar shortfall. Since the college has to run a balanced budget, the money is either added to the operational budget or taken from it, and since the province does not seem to be forthcoming with additional funding then there is a problem for the college and its board about what to cut. The interesting thing is that there appears to be only one package of choices being presented to the board to consider, and I wonder why there has not been any consideration for looking at closing some of the outlying college campuses, or perhaps limiting new hires. Since there are limited program opportunities at some campuses surely there could be some examination of their value, as it is obvious that many students come to Prince George to take advantage of the additional opportunities. Limiting program diversity seems to be problematic, but it is also disconcerting to see dental programs, which mainly provide opportunities for women to get good well-paying jobs, to get cut. It is also very strange to see counseling services slated for cutting when it is clear that private services could in no way deal with with immediate crisis intervention as often needed for students. Once again, the issue is where is there 2.8 million dollars to solve this problem, and what will be next on the chopping block in 2016?

Good on Dr. Mann for speaking out. As I have been saying from the outset of this issue, the voice of the dental professionals needs to be loud and clear if the dental programs are to have a chance at receiving ongoing support.

Now, my first suggestion is to get the dental professional community speak directly to the local MLAs and the provincial government. College boards are appointed by the government and budget cuts are directed by the Ministry. At the end of the day, the College board is a diluted voice of the government limited to making decisions from within a very limited set of options.

My second suggestion is to get every dental professional in the North involved. Having a voice like Dr. Mann is commendable but will not have near the impact that shutting down every dental practice in the North for a day of protest and a rally of several 100 dental professionals on the doorsteps of all of the local MLAs would have.

Anyone with a sense of history should take a page from Dr. Bert Kelly and the northern medical doctors playbook. They would take over CN Centre for a rally if it was one of their support programs on the chopping block.

We keep hearing from our provincial government about the shortfalls in skilled workers yet they don’t do anything to increase funding so we can make be residents skilled workers.. They would rather spend money trying to convince skilled workers in other provinces to move here or to come back home.. Also they love TFW.

We need to have homegrown talent.. Cutting money from education doenst do that, why can’t the liberals grasp that? It’s a win win.. Train bc people, they will spend money here while going to school, will build friendships etc that will make them want to stay here and work, in return will spend their money here, buy houses, cars, pay taxes etc.. All this money going into BC economy.

We always here politicians talking about the future..but why can’t they actually do something that will benifit us all in the future instead of being so short sighted?

I cam here to finish off my degree, which took 3 years. I then went on to do more schooling and stayed to work here. It’s now been 20 years, or 17 years past the point at which I had originally intended on moving back to the south coast. I pay a lot of taxes and I spend my comfortable income on local goods and services.
I trained here and stayed here; those who train elsewhere and come up here to find work when they’re new to their career, will head back to where they came from as soon as a job in their field comes up.
Keep the dental programs going and while you’re at it, keep counseling going – I wonder if the board noticed that UNBC’s Community Care Centre is closing? Our young people are told fairly regularly that they should seek help when they need it; where will college students go for help?

Same here Krusty.. came to PG in 1981 to attend CNC.. so far my 5 year plan is in year 34 :)

This is the proverbial left hand doesn’t give a crap what the right hand is doing.

First, cutting the program isn’t actually going to recoup the whole 2.8 million, this is just a small part of what they need. And they’ll have this need every year, so it’s a structural deficit.

Second, this will cause a cost transfer to Northern Health as low income people cannot access dental care at CNC, they will end up with other health issues related to lack of dental care, and then will end up in the healthcare system burning through cash for preventable health issues. But, there is no way in hell Northern Health will step up to the plate and make up the cash shortfall CNC is hoping to cover by cutting this program. So likely, we’ll save say $250,000 at CNC by cutting, and spend 2.0 million at Northern Health dealing with the fallout – and no one seems to be able to bridge that gap of reason.

But the good news – we have $750,000 for a park behind the wood innovation building, we have millions for a two week sporting event that we’ve yet to get a report on how we did money wise, we had hundreds of thousands to just study the feasibility of a Performing Arts Centre, and we give out hundreds of thousands yearly to things like Theatre Northwest (which I enjoy), but at the end of the day, what is more important – dental care for poor people, or theatre for middle to upper class – and then there’s the symphony as well.

Not saying the theatre and symphony shouldn’t exist, just saying we’re in a choice scenario, and if we can’t fund everything, we need to ask ourselves, ar we funding the most important things – things people truly can’t live without.

But then, pretty much everything I just listed, comes out of the City of PG pocket.

So are you advocating that the City of PG through it’s taxpayers cut some of the programs and ameneties that many of us feel are important and use the savings to subsidize the CNC Dental Program?
Perhaps the better choice is for CNC to stop hiring “Managers” possibly get rid of a few that are not needed and fund their shortfall that way!

Just want to thank Ski for phrasing the situation so clearly and insightfully.

2.8 million is 25 managers. I doubt they have that many. But to answer your question no. I’m saying we can’t fund everything and we need to make choices. I do think northern health should step up to the plate but likely it’s not legal. So a decision by one government entity to save one amount likely will cost another government entity even more. Since we are the government this short sightedness costs us eventually. Remember the dental program is only a part of the 2.8 million. There’s other areas that will feel the axe too.

What are the local MLAs saying about this? Maybe they could take some money from the carbon tax instead of giving it to the Pulp mills to do their upgrades. Another thought maybe if they don’t have any hygienists left in PG they can blame the tooth decay on removing the fluoride from the water.

CNC Dental Studies is holding an open house at the CNC dental clinic on Sunday April 19/15 from 2-4pm. We would love to have everyone come and show their community support for our program and clinic. Door prizes, goody bags, tours, demonstrations, information, and fun for all!! While you visit, sign our petition and share your support! See you there!

Oldman. Our provincial gov has given 10s of millions to the Pulpmills to install turbine generators and to upgrade them. Nuff said

I don’t always agree with Ski, but his point is sound here and well put.

I once used the CNC dental program for a free check up when I was going to college and had no dental coverage. I was lucky I went, because they discovered a major infection in my jaw from a failed root canal that I was unaware of. I had to get an emergency operation from a specialist that cost me thousands I couldn’t afford at the time. They removed some gray matter the size of the end of my pinky finger from my jaw, and I think it was Doctor Tillman said it was one of the biggest he’d seen and it was something that simply could not be put off and had to be done right away. They had to rebuild the void in my jaw with some filler that allows the bone to grow back, but its as good as new now.

Had I not had the opportunity at the time to go the to CNC dental clinic where I was originally diagnosed, then who knows how far the infection could have traveled before I was aware of it… and likely would have cost my health and Northern Health a lot more than otherwise.

Oldman1:”Another thought maybe if they don’t have any hygienists left in PG they can blame the tooth decay on removing the fluoride from the water.”

Actually this is about maintaining the teaching facility for ongoing and future training of dental hygienists! It is not about having “any” hygienists left in PG! The ones that are working now will not lose their jobs.

Having said that I urge our local MLAs to man up, get together with the hugely funded machine of NH and arrange the inclusion of the CNC Dental Hygienist program in its annual budget of hundreds of millions. Dental health, the promotion of proper daily brushing and flossing with the correct toothpaste etc plus regular proper attention by dental hygienists is something that should not even be debatable!

Now it is time for all those who are supposed to be overseeing Health to forget the talk and start the walk!

That was nice of this dentist to speak up in favour of keeping the training program.
I do wonder though, how it is so important for the dental industry to have this staffing available, why doesn’t the dental association support the program through financial supports?
Is this another case of an industry relying on government dole?
Dentists make a pretty penny, surely they could afford to support a training program for their own staffing needs.

Put your money where your mouth is.

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