DGO Update

Dear DGO Members,

Quite a few of our dual members (DGO members who are also DAO members) have sent us copies of a new “COMMUNIQUE” sent to DAO members, discussing the lawsuit with question and answer topics.  The DGO Board of Directors felt that it should comment concerning certain statements that the DAO has made in the “COMMUNIQUE”, which we do not believe to be accurate.

This is not being done only for the benefit of DGO members, but also for the great number of Denturists in Ontario who really do not know the facts of this lawsuit.  Many Denturists who are not DGO members have told us that their own association has told them very few facts about the lawsuit and, of those facts that they were told about concerning the lawsuit, they believed that most of the information they received was very creatively worded.

Please be one hundred percent confident that the DGO has given you all the facts, supported with documents, not opinions, as was the case on October 30, 2014 at the special meeting we had for All Denturists in Ontario.  These documents are available to be seen by ANY Denturist at ANY time.

BACKGROUND TO THE LAWSUIT

As most of you know, before the start of the lawsuit we spoke to DAC and wrote them a letter about joining their association.  They refused to acknowledge the DGO as a second association in Ontario and expected us to pay what we believed to be exorbitant non member fees to them, both for DACnet and the procedure codes.  In the letter we sent to them, it was very clear that we would be willing to pay more, but not almost ten times more, than the amount that “their” official affiliate, the DAO pays. We asked them to discuss the matter but, in return we received threats of legal proceedings for copyright infringement concerning DACnet and the procedure codes.

We never wanted a fight or legal entanglements with DAC or its affiliate, the DAO.  We just wanted to be treated fairly like everyone else, and go to work in the morning to feed our families.  We did not wish to put into question the validity of copyright in the procedure codes if we were treated fairly. However, we were then pushed hard and we had to defend ourselves.

We asked the DGO lawyer to begin dialogue with the DAC lawyer.  We asked for clarification on the DAC’s claim to copyright but what we received was not convincing to our lawyer, so we asked for more information, but nothing more was received from the DAC lawyer.

In July 2013, approximately four months later, a new and much more aggressive lawyer for DAC sent letters to ALL non DAO members in Ontario, threatening lawsuits and threatening to pursue us personally to the fullest extent provided by the law. The letter stated that, “your actions may constitute professional misconduct”.  There was also something else that was new in the new DAC lawyer’s letter: the DD designation, which ALL Denturists in Ontario have used and was now allegedly a trademark not to be used by anyone except DAC members and their affiliates.  This was the final straw for the DGO Board of Directors and its members.

On August 22, 2013, the DGO filed an action in the Federal Court of Canada against the Denturist Association of Canada and its Ontario affiliate, the Denturist Association of Ontario.

On October 16, 2014, the Honourable Justice Manson of the Federal Court of Canada issued his Judgment and Reasons. Then, on November 10, 2014, the Honourable Justice Manson of the Federal Court of Canada issued his Order as to Costs.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH FACTS AND DOCUMENTS

QUESTION 1:

DAO states that it was unnecessarily and improperly included in the legal action and the DGO refused to release them from the litigation.

True or False?   Did the DAO try to avoid being part of the law suit?

False.  The actual correspondence between our lawyer and the DAC lawyer is attached.  Our correspondence details why the DAO were identified as a respondent party.  Our correspondence also contains a clear statement from our lawyer confirming that we were prepared to release the DAO as long as they would have no claims, and would not assert any claims in the future against any of the DGO members, officers or directors.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE DGO WAS PREPARED TO RELEASE THE DAO FROM THIS LEGAL PROCEEDING, BUT THE DAO WAS NOT PREPARED TO CONFIRM THAT IT HAD NO CLAIMS, AND WOULD NOT ASSERT ANY CLAIMS IN THE FUTURE AGAINST THE DGO, ITS MEMBERS, OFFICERS OR DIRECTORS.

QUESTION 2:

DAO has maintained that it wanted to distance itself from the DGO/DAC proceedings as this was not a DAO problem.

True or False?  Why was the DAO being sued?

False.  From the beginning it appeared to the DGO that the DAO wanted to protect its position as the “only one” association in Ontario with access to DACnet and procedure codes.  The DGO believes that the DAO acted in this way because it feared losing members to the DGO.

The DAO also stated in their “COMMUNIQUE” that they were strongly in favour of an appeal by DAC and viewed that DAC’s position had merit.  Further, the DAO also informed the DAC and stated that the DAO was prepared to support the DAC appeal financially.  This is so even after the Federal Court of Canada’s decisive Judgment and Reasons, in a clear and lengthy 30 page decision.  So much for not wanting to be involved!!

QUESTION 3:

Did the DAO mislead Denturists by printing just one quote from Justice Manson decision?

As you have all seen, the DAO keeps telling you that Justice Manson concluded that, “The DAO is an unnecessary party to these proceedings, as the evidence before me does not support any relief being justified as against the DAO”.  However, the DAO does not appear to have told you about Justice Manson’s other conclusion concerning the involvement of the DAO, from the costs decision, which reads as follows: “Based on the evidence before me, the inclusion of DAO as a party, while determined not to be proper, was not without merit, and was reasonable.  I award no costs to DAO”.

Justice Manson was clear once again that the DGO did not pull the DAO into the lawsuit without reason and acted reasonably in doing so.

QUESTION 4:

Were DGO members denied the use of the procedure codes by DAC?

This answer is tricky, in the end, the answer is no.  However, in the beginning there was no non-member fee.  The DGO NEVER had an issue paying like everyone else.  In fact, a letter was written to DAC stating that DGO members would even be willing to pay a little more.  It was DAC’s reluctance to discuss the matter and the fact that DAC expected us to pay $500 per year per member as well as $500 per year plus extras in order to use DACnet.  As you all know, these amounts are about ten times what the DAO members and other DAC affiliate members pay.  In the DGO’s view, this was ridiculous and unfair.  It was an attempt to hurt and make it difficult to run our association.  Our only choice after threatening letters were sent by the DAC lawyer to our members, was to challenge DAC on the so-called copyright on the procedure codes.  This was the third and final time the DGO would look for clarification.

QUESTIONS 5:

Who will maintain and make new procedure codes in the future?

We are very clear with all parties and Denturists across Canada.  Our association will work with everyone to progress this profession including DAC/DAO, as well as the College of Denturists of Ontario.  We are willing to help in any way possible, but only as an EQUAL partner as we are committed to this great profession.  We would like to sit down with all parties to discuss fees as well as the procedure codes.

QUESTION 6:

What does the Federal Court of Canada decision by Justice Manson mean for ALL Denturists?

The Federal Court of Canada decision from Justice Manson means that All Denturists in Ontario and across Canada can use the procedure codes and the descriptions used to submit Denturist claims to insurance companies without joining or paying fees to ANY association.  ALL Denturists are also free to use the DD acronym behind their names to distinguish them as Denturists, as we have always done.

The Denturist Group of Ontario is proud to say that we fought for the freedom of All Denturists in Ontario and across Canada to enjoy the right to choose to join any association (or no association at all, if they prefer) in order to work as a Denturist.  This was a costly and painful initiative but we believe it was well worth it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Denturist Group of Ontario was not cheap or difficult.  We did not want a fight in court with our peers or colleagues.

All we wanted was to be treated fairly, like all other Denturists in Ontario.  What is unsettling is the language that has been used against us in some of the issues raised by DAC/DAO over the years.  There are two associations of denturists in Ontario, with two very different visions on how things should be run to advance our profession to the next level.  One fundamental issue separating us is on the information provided by an association to its members on steps taken by the association.   We believe that you, our members, are part of the solution.  We want you to be involved and be active in tracing the future path of our profession.

Each association has the freedom and right to exist. The fact that there are two associations is not a bad thing. In fact, it is fantastic, it gives a choice to Denturists to choose who they believe is fulfilling their needs and vision for our profession. There is no reason to insert fear and make negative remarks about how the existence of two associations will impact the profession. We believe that both associations’ goals are to promote and progress the profession in the best way possible.

The DGO Board of Directors is committed to you, our loyal members, who have shown strength and integrity over the last four years. We pledge to continue to work hard, honestly and diligently to provide the best services for our members and the Ontario public.

DGO Board of Directors

Please Review the following Documents:

This entry was posted in Association News. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.