FAQ: Modernization of BC’s Health Regulatory System

Sep 3, 2020 | Blog, News

Q: What are the upcoming changes for BC’s health profession regulatory system?

A: The BC Ministry of Health has announced a number of proposed changes to modernize and strengthen BC’s health regulatory system. Briefly, these include:

  • a commitment to cultural safety and humility within professional regulation,
  • improving regulatory College governance and oversight,
  • simplifying the complaints and discipline process and updating legislation to allow regulatory Colleges to share information where necessary for public safety and protection and,
  • reducing the number of regulatory Colleges from 20 to 6.

Q: Which regulators will be subject to amalgamation?

A: The Colleges affected are:

The Oral Health Regulatory College: College of Dental Hygienists of BC, College of Dental Surgeons of BC, College of Dental Technicians of BC, College of Denturists of BC

The Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professionals*: 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

The Regulatory College of Alternative and Complementary Health and Care Professionals*: 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

Additionally, two amalgamations are already underway and close to completion: the BC College of Nursing Professionals and the College of Midwives of BC are joining together to create the new BC College of Nurses and Midwives (as of September 1, 2020); and the College of Podiatric Surgeons is joining the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (as of August 31, 2020). These amalgamations were initiated by the Colleges and have been approved by Cabinet.

* For illustrative purposes, the two new umbrella Colleges are tentatively referred. These names may change.

Q:  Will this affect the CDBC fees?

A: Fees are determined by the Board and included in the College Bylaws – Schedule D (approved by the Ministry of Health). They are reviewed on an annual basis to support the College fulfillment of its mandate and operations. Currently, it is not possible to determine the impact of amalgamation on future fees. It is the new Board of the Regulatory College of the Allied Health and Care Professionals that will determine the fees for Dietitians.

As long as the CDBC operates, dietitians can expect fees to remain relatively similar.

Q: Will this affect registration or other requirements for Dietitians in British Columbia?

A: For now, there is no change in how the College operates and what it does.

The College anticipates that there may be changes in some processes or requirements as we move to amalgamate with other health regulators and try harmonizing how we each operate. But dietitians can expect that registration and practice requirements will be determined with respect to:

  • Public safety
  • Evidence-based and data informed approach
  • Right-touch regulation
  • National collaboration and consistency

Changes might only occur after the amalgamation is completed and will most likely include consultation, as it is often required in legislation. For example, important requirements such as who can become a dietitian in British Columbia will still consider labour mobility and national requirements (the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination and the Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice).

Q: Will there still be profession-specific expertise within the amalgamated regulatory bodies?

A: This is an aspect that was recognized to be important by both the Steering Committee who recommended these changes and all regulatory Colleges. How profession-specific expertise will be included and represented in the new Colleges remains to be determined. Ultimately, this will be a governance decision by the new Board.

The CDBC, collaboratively with other regulators, has explored different models to achieve profession-specific input into the different functions and will collaborate to implement evidence-informed practices into the new model. Profession-specific input can be expressed in different ways ranging from external consultation with the dietitians’ community to profession representation at the Board, Committees, and staff level.

Q: What will happen to the public register of dietitians?

The public register of dietitians is still available here. In the future, there will be one register for all regulated health professions.

How this will look like and operate will be determined at a future time. The public and registrants can expect the register to contain consistent information and a user-friendly search function to verify the registration of the health professional they are looking for.

Q: How will this affect complaints and investigations at the CDBC?

A: Colleges have a duty to investigate complaints made in good faith and are accountable to specific timelines to complete investigations and dispose of complaints. If a complaint is not resolved by the time the CDBC amalgamates into the new College, the complaint will be transferred in the new entity to continue the work until it is disposed. Timelines will remain the same and complaints will not be dismissed or lost in the transition.

Q: Will any of the current regulated professions no longer be regulated? Will there be any newly regulated health professions?

A: In its consultation report, the Steering Committee confirmed that the intention of these changes is not to reduce the number of regulated health professions. All currently regulated health professions will continue to be regulated.

At this time, the Ministry of Health announced that the new College of Allied Health and Care Professionals would also include diagnostic and therapeutic professions (clinical perfusionists, respiratory therapists, radiation therapists and medical laboratory technologists). Going forward, any other newly regulated health professions will be brought under one of the six regulatory Colleges within the new structure.

Q: Who is responsible for the regulatory modernization?

A: The BC Ministry of Health initiated and led an extensive review and consultation process in order to develop its plan for regulatory modernization. The final authority to make changes to the regulatory framework rests with Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly.

Q: How did the government arrive at this plan for modernization?

A: The Ministry of Health’s modernization plan was informed by a review and consultation process that began in March 2018 and included:

– The appointment of Harry Cayton, an internationally recognized expert on professional regulation, to review BC’s Health Professions Act and suggest approaches to modernizing BC’s overall health profession regulatory framework.

– The Ministry of Health’s release of Mr. Cayton’s recommendations for modernization, which were included as part of his report “An Inquiry into the performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and the Health Professions Act”.

– The establishment of a cross-party Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation “Modernizing the provincial health profession regulatory framework: A paper for consultation”, chaired by the Health Minister. The Steering Committee considered research, expert guidance, evidence from other jurisdictions, and feedback gathered from two public consultations to produce the August 2020 “Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework”. Over 1,780 written submissions and 4,018 surveys were received by the Steering Committee between November 27, 2019 and January 10, 2020.

– A summary of the public consultation feedback is available here and a diagram of the newly proposed BC regulatory framework and key responsibilities is available here.

– The next steps involve presenting the recommendations to Cabinet, and if members agree with the recommendations, legislation will be drafted and reviewed by the Legislative Assembly at the Spring 2021. If passed, amendments to the Health Professions Act will be made to facilitate implementation of the recommended changes.

Q: Where should I go for more information?

To learn more about the  latest news on BC’s regulatory reform, you may want to visit the BC Government website Regulating Health Professions.

BC government links:

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