BC Government Introduces New Legislation to Replace Health Professions Act

BC’s Minister of Health on October 19, 2022, introduced new legislation to replace the Health Professions Act (HPA), the umbrella statute by which the government has established a common regulatory system for the province’s health professions.

The new Health Professions and Occupations Act (HPOA), which received Royal Assent on November 24, 2022, lays the groundwork for transforming how regulators fulfill our mandate to protect the public. This new legislation reflects Harry Cayton’s 2018 review of both the HPA and the former College of Dental Surgeons of BC, and the subsequent recommendations from the all-party Steering Committee on the Modernization of Health Profession Regulation in 2020.

It is now up to Cabinet to determine when this new Act will take effect. For now, CPTBC continues to operate under the current HPA.

What will this mean for physical therapists?

We are reviewing the new HPOA and will assess how it will impact our work. Some notable provisions include:

  • A significant focus on discrimination and anti-racism
  • Enabling colleges to create and update bylaws without requiring ministerial approval
  • Eliminating the election of registrant board members in favour of fully appointed boards
  • Setting out requirements for the creation of a new oversight body with responsibility for functions such as managing the board appointment process and running disciplinary hearings
  • Requiring colleges to publish the outcome of all disciplinary actions
  • Changing the terms “registration” to “license” and “registrants” to “licensees”
  • Legislative options and a path for amalgamations, to reduce the number of health profession regulators from fourteen to six; this will impact CPTBC as we eventually become part of a new amalgamated College

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Ministry, registrants, fellow regulators, and the public to advance a vision for health profession regulation that is efficient, consistent, effective, and firmly focused on the public interest. We will provide physical therapists with regular updates over the coming months.