ODHA Website > Students > Contract and Employment Information
Contract and employment information

Young candidate having an interview with his employerDental hygienists are increasingly being presented with employment contracts from their employers.  Before signing an employment contract, it is advisable to have a lawyer review the content, in part or completely, to ensure you understand the document.  ODHA can assist you by providing free legal advice through our benefit provider Legal Line.

(To access Legal Line benefit login and then click on link above)

For information regarding the inclusion of restrictive covenants in your employment contract and how they affect you, the following article written by lawyer James Heeney, will help clarify this issue. For more information please call the ODHA office.


Dental hygienists are usually paid an hourly wage, however, you may also be paid by commission.  Commission is calculated by percentage of dental hygiene services billed.  For example, if you bill $1,500 in dental hygiene services in one day and are paid 25% commission, you would earn $375 for that day.  Your daily/weekly earnings would vary week to week depending on your billings.  Whether you are paid hourly or commission your employer will deduct payroll taxes including Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums and federal and provincial income tax.

Employee or Self-employed or Independent Contractor:

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has specific criteria to fulfill in determining whether you are an employee or self-employed in your workplace.  The facts of the working relationship as a whole decide the employment status.  It is not a choice but a fact of your employment environment.  CRA has published a booklet titled Employee or Self-Employed? (publication #RC4110), available online here.

This booklet clearly outlines how to determine your employment status.  In most cases, dental hygienists working in a dental practice owned by a dentist are employees.  The only way to be certain you meet the criteria set out by CRA is to obtain a ruling. Details in obtaining a ruling are in the CRA booklet. For more information call the ODHA office.

Working as an independent contractor requires that you to obtain your authorization to self-initiate seal from the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO).  The following link details the requirements for self-initiation.

Once you have obtained your seal, you may consider opening your own dental hygiene clinic or operating a mobile dental hygiene service.  There are many resources available from ODHA.  ODHA has developed a comprehensive guide, Starting your Own Business, that includes business plans, cash flow forecasting charts and an integrated marketing and communication guide.  You may also call ODHA for further information and guidance.