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Government Steering Committee Releases Proposals for Modernizing Health Regulation in BC

A steering committee with representatives from all three parties in the BC Legislature has released a consultation paper outlining extensive proposals to modernize and improve the province’s system for regulating health professionals.

Read the consultation paper released November 27, 2019 by the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation: Modernizing the provincial health profession regulatory framework: A paper for consultation (PDF).

The committee is launching a public consultation to obtain feedback on the proposals. Feedback will be accepted until January 10, 2020, and can be provided through an online survey or written submissions.

CSHBC is studying the consultation paper and is engaging with the BC Ministry of Health and our fellow health regulators through the BC Health Regulators group and the BC Health Regulatory Hub to ensure the College has all available information about the proposals.

The release of the paper does not impact increases in registration and examination fees that CSHBC announced November 4, 2019. The increases will proceed as planned. Registrants must also continue to meet all existing regulatory requirements, outlined in the Health Professions Act and other provincial legislation, and in the CSHBC Bylaws.

Modernization proposals

Key modernization proposals in the steering committee’s consultation paper include:

  1. Improved governance through competency-based board appointments (replacing board elections) and balanced board membership (with equal representation between public and professional members).
  2. Improved efficiency and effectiveness through a reduction in the number of regulatory colleges under the Health Professions Act, from 20 to 5, by maintaining:
    • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC;
    • The College of Pharmacists of BC;
    • The BC College of Nursing Professionals.

And by creating:

  • An oral health regulatory college amalgamating the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, the College of Denturists of BC, the College of Dental Hygienists of BC, and the College of Dental Technicians of BC; and
  • A new multi-profession regulatory college, currently referred to as the “College of Health and Care Professions of BC”, which will regulate all health professions not covered by the above-mentioned colleges, including the professions of audiology, hearing instrument dispensing, and speech-language pathology. The paper also notes that as an alternative to joining the College of Health and Care Professions, some regulatory colleges may consider approaching the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Pharmacists, or the College of Nursing Professionals regarding a possible merger.
  1. Strengthen the oversight of regulatory colleges by creating a new oversight body with oversight responsibilities that include, but are not limited to:
  • public reporting and regulatory performance standards;
  • registration and complaint investigation decisions;
  • standards of professional practice (regulatory colleges would continue to ensure profession-specific clinical expertise informs the development of professional standards);
  • the process for bylaw amendments;
  • the board member appointment process.
    1. Improved complaints and adjudication thorough the creation of a new independent discipline process, separating the oversight responsibilities for the complaints and investigation and disciplinary decision-making stages of the process.
    2. Greater information sharing to improve patient safety and public trust.
    3. No de-regulation – all currently regulated health professions will continue to be regulated.


Background to the proposals

On April 11, 2019, BC’s Ministry of Health released a report authored by Harry Cayton, CBE, the former head of the UK’s Professional Standards Authority and an internationally recognized expert on professional regulation. An Inquiry into the performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and the Health Professions Act (PDF) was the result of an inquiry initiated by the Minister of Health. Part 2 of the report provided recommendations about how the Health Professions Act could be modernized and improved to better promote and enhance effective regulatory oversight.

The Minister of Health struck a Steering Committee that consulted broadly on the changes that British Columbians want to see to regulation of health professions. CSHBC submitted comments to the Steering Committee in respect of Part 2 prior to the June 14, 2019 deadline for feedback.

College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC, V6C 1S4

Phone: 604.742.6380
Toll-free: 1.888.742.6380
Email: [email protected]