The BC Government has introduced new legislation to replace the Health Professions Act that governs health regulatory colleges in the province. On October 19, 2022, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix tabled the replacement legislation: the Health Professions and Occupations Act.
The College is reviewing the proposed Health Professions and Occupations Act, and consulting with other BC health regulators and, the Ministry of Health about the legislation. The College will share information with registrants as more information becomes available.
According to the BC Government news release on the new legislation, which must pass through several stages before receiving Royal Assent and becoming law, it enables:
- A streamlined path to reduce the number of health regulatory colleges through amalgamation
- Creation of an oversight body for health regulatory colleges
- A reformed complaints process that increases accountability and transparency
- A commitment to cultural safety and humility
- Improved information sharing between colleges and with other agencies to enhance public safety and protection
- Creation of an improved governance system where all board members are appointed via a competency-based process
The news release notes that the BC Government “will continue finalizing the amalgamation of colleges from 15 to six. One amalgamation will combine the colleges for dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech and hearing professionals into one regulator.”
Amalgamation has been anticipated since the release of two key reports:
- Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework (PDF), released by the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation in 2020
- An Inquiry into the performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and the Health Professions Act (PDF), authored by Harry Cayton, CBE, and released by the BC Ministry of Health in 2019
The legislation is partly in response to recommendations in the two reports.