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BC Government Steering Committee releases recommendations for modernizing health regulation in BC

On August 27, 2020, the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation released recommendations for broad changes to the province’s health profession regulatory system.

The Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework (PDF) have wide-ranging implications for health regulation in BC. “CSHBC is conducting a detailed review of the Steering Committee’s recommendations,” says Cameron Cowper, CSHBC Registrar and CEO. “The College is committed to moving forward with the Ministry of Health and other health regulatory colleges in BC Health Regulators to improve health regulation in BC for the benefit of British Columbians.”

Steering Committee recommendations

The recommendations were delivered by the Steering Committee, chaired by Minister of Health Adrian Dix and including Norm Letnick, health critic for the official Opposition, and Sonia Furstenau, health critic and house leader for the BC Green Party caucus.

The recommendations focus on:

  • Cultural safety and humility: Determining how cultural safety and humility can be embedded in regulatory modernization.
  • Governance:
    • Having equal numbers of registrant and public members on regulatory college boards.
    • Appointing board members based on the recommendations of a merit-based process. As such, there would no longer be elections of registrant members.
  • Reduction in the number of regulatory colleges: Reducing the number of regulatory colleges from 20 to six. See details on the recommended six health regulatory colleges below.
  • Oversight of regulatory colleges: Creating a new oversight body to increase accountability and transparency.
  • Complaints and adjudication: Establishing a new discipline process that would create clear separation between the investigation and discipline stages of complaints. While regulatory colleges would continue to investigate complaints, discipline decisions would be made by a separate independent process.
  • Increased transparency: Requiring increased public notification when action is taken in response to a complaint made about a healthcare professional.

Six health regulatory colleges

The Steering Committee recommends that the BC health profession regulatory system include the following six regulatory colleges:

  • A new Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professionals amalgmating:
    • College of Dietitians of BC
    • College of Occupational Therapists of BC
    • College of Opticians of BC
    • College of Optometrists of BC
    • College of Physical Therapists of BC
    • College of Psychologists of BC
    • College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC

This college would also regulate previously unregulated diagnostic and therapeutic professions: clinical perfusionists, medical laboratory technologists, radiation therapists, respiratory therapists

  • A new Regulatory College of Complementary and Alternative Health and Care Professionals amalgamating:
    • College of Chiropractors of BC
    • College of Massage Therapists of BC
    • College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC
    • College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC
  • A new oral health college amalgamating:
    • College of Dental Hygienists of BC
    • College of Dental Surgeons of BC
    • College of Dental Technicians of BC
    • College of Denturists of BC
  • College of Pharmacists of BC
  • BC College of Nurses and Midwives, which is an amalgamation of the BC College of Nursing Professionals and College of Midwives of BC, effective September 1, 2020.
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, which is amalgamating with the College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC, effective August 31, 2020.

The release of the recommendations follows a consultation and review process initiated by Minister Dix in 2018. The process included the release in April 2019 of a report authored by Harry Cayton, and the release in November 2019 of a consultation paper by the Steering Committee. BC’s health regulatory colleges and the public had an opportunity to provide input, which CSHBC followed up on by providing a detailed submission to the Steering Committee in December 2019.

CSHBC will continue to contribute to the modernization process the College’s experience as a multi-profession health regulator, regulating three professions: audiology, hearing instrument dispensing, and speech-language pathology.

Next steps

The recommendations will go to Cabinet and then the Legislative Assembly for approval. The recommendations will also require amendments to the Health Professions Act, currently targeted for introduction in the Spring of 2021.

Pending final decisions, the process for full implementation of the Committee’s recommendations will likely take a considerable amount of time, into 2021 and beyond. In the interim, the regulation of CSHBC registrants will continue unchanged for some time. The College will provide further updates as more information becomes available.    

More information

Read the BC Government news release on the Steering Committee’s recommendations.

Visit the BC Ministry of Health’s Professional Regulation page for details about modernization of BC’s health profession regulatory framework, and view a diagram (PDF) of how the recommendations would change health regulation.

Visit the BC Health Regulators (BCHR) Regulatory Modernization page for ongoing updates on how the health profession regulatory system is evolving in BC, and how BCHR members – including CSHBC – are responding to better serve and protect all British Columbians.

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]