The Ontario Dental Association has pleaded guilty to allegations election laws were violated ahead of the municipal vote in October 2010.

At the time the ODA was lobbying to maintain fluoridation of the City of Waterloo’s drinking water, which was the subject of a referendum question on the ballot.

However, prosecutors filed a case claiming the group was not registered to campaign on the issue, which is a violation of Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act.

The association was given a suspended sentence on Friday, and wasn’t fined.

Robert Fleming, a Waterloo resident and head of Waterloo Watch, was the person who brought the allegations against the ODA to the attention of a Crown prosecutor.

In a statement released following the court proceedings, he said “In the interest of having just one fluoridation referendum, charges against the Ontario Dental Association were sworn out early during the campaign period, and I am pleased the ODA plead guilty to the charges as laid.  Local municipal democratic process was successfully protected.”

In a statement to CTV News, the ODA said it decided to move past the issue, and not take up any more court time, by entering the plea.

“The people of Ontario should be assured that the ODA will continue to advocate on behalf of the public when it comes to their health and well-being. The association will continue our work to educate the public about the benefit of community water fluoridation because in the right amount it is both safe and effective.”

Voters narrowly rejected continuing to fluoridate Waterloo’s water, with 50.3 per cent voting to end the practice. Dentists then appealed to city councillors to reject the decision.

Additional charges against two dentists, Dr. Harry Hoediono and Dr. Ira Kirshen were dropped.