FAQ: Modernization of BC’s Health Regulatory System

Q1: What are the upcoming changes for BC’s health profession regulatory system?

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.

For more information, please refer to Professional Regulation – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)

Q2: Which regulators are subject to amalgamation?

The Colleges affected are:

One amalgamation regrouping: College of Dietitians of BCCollege of Occupational Therapists of BCCollege of Opticians of BCCollege of Optometrists of BCCollege of Physical Therapists of BCCollege of Psychologists of BCCollege of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC

A second amalgamation regrouping: College of Chiropractors of BCCollege of Massage Therapists of BCCollege of Naturopathic Physicians of BCCollege of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC

The provincial government also intends to begin regulating counsellors and diagnostic and therapeutic professionals.

Q3: Will this affect the CDBC fees?

Fees are determined by the Board and included in the College Bylaws – Schedule B (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 amalgamated College that will determine the fees for Dietitians.

Q4: Will this affect registration or other requirements for Dietitians in British Columbia?

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).

Q5: 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.

Q6: How will this affect complaints and investigations at the CDBC?

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.

Q7:Will any of the current regulated professions no longer be regulated?

The modernization goal is not to reduce the number of regulated health professions. All currently regulated health professions will continue to be regulated.

Q8: Who is responsible for the regulatory modernization?

The BC Ministry of Health initiated and led an extensive review and consultation process in order to develop its plan for regulatory modernization and Bill-36. The final authority to approve the Bill rests with Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly.

Q9: How did the government arrive at this plan for modernization?

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 the recommendations that formed the basis to draft the new legislation are available here.

– On October 19, 2022, the Minister of Health introduced bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act that if passed, will replace its predecessor, the Health Professions Act.

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