Regulatory Modernization

A BC Government Steering Committee has released recommendations to modernize the provincial framework for health profession regulation. The recommendations, outlined in Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework, have implications for all health profession regulatory colleges in BC.

BCHR is committed to providing ongoing updates on how the health profession regulatory system is evolving in BC, and how BCHR members are responding to better serve and protect all British Columbians. See our latest news bulletins about regulatory modernization and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Visit the BC Ministry of Health’s Professional Regulation page for details about the government’s initiative to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework.

Visit individual college websites to learn about specific activities related to modernization. See the list of BCHR member colleges, including links to their websites.

BCHR bulletins about regulatory modernization

Frequently Asked Questions about Regulatory Modernization

This section will be updated as new information becomes available.

The BC Ministry of Health has announced the release of a report outlining final recommendations for changes to the province’s health profession regulatory system. The report, Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework, focus on modernization in several key areas:

  1. Commitment to cultural safety and humility
  2. Improved governance
  3. Improved efficiency and effectiveness through a reduction in the number of regulatory colleges
  4. Strengthening the oversight of regulatory colleges
  5. Complaints and adjudication
  6. Information sharing to improve patient safety and public trust

The modernization plan recommends for significant changes to current regulatory organizational structures. Specifically, the plan calls for a reduction in the number of colleges from 20 to six, namely to:

  1. Maintain the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and support its planned amalgamation with the College of Podiatric Surgeons of BC (completion date August 31, 2020);
  2. Support the planned amalgamation of the BC College of Midwives and the BC College of Nursing Professionals to create a new BC College of Nurses and Midwives (completion date September 1, 2020);
  3. Maintain the College of Pharmacists of BC;
  4. Create an oral health regulatory college by amalgamating:
    • College of Dental Hygienists of BC
    • College of Dental Surgeons of BC
    • College of Dental Technicians of BC
    • College of Denturists of BC
  5. Create a new umbrella regulatory college, tentatively referred to as the Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professionals by amalgamating:
    • 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 diagnostic and therapeutic professions in the future.

  6. Create a new umbrella regulatory college, tentatively referred to as the Regulatory College of Complementary and Alternative Health and Care Professionals, by 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

The report states that all currently regulated health professions will continue to be regulated.

Going forward, any newly-regulated health professions will be brought under one of the six regulatory colleges within the new structure. For example, the recommendations explicitly provide for diagnostic and therapeutic professions to be regulated in the future under new umbrella regulatory college for allied health and care professionals.

The BC Ministry of Health initiated a review of the provincial regulatory framework for health professionals in response to criticisms about the current model of regulation as set out in the Health Professions Act.

The review, led by international regulation expert Harry Cayton, found that the provincial regulatory framework for health professionals fails to support regulatory colleges in fulfilling their mandate, stating that the Health Professions Act “is no longer adequate for modern regulation.” Mr. Cayton’s report highlighted deficiencies with the current regulatory model, including issues related to the governance of regulatory colleges, a complex complaints and discipline process, and lack of transparency of regulatory colleges.

The report also noted concern that the current model of regulation has allowed for promotion of the interests of the profession over the interests of the public. It identifies a lack of public trust in regulators and a lack of “relentless focus on the safety of patients” as inadequacies of the current model.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The establishment of the all-party Steering Committee on the Modernization of Health Professional Regulation, chaired by the Health Minister. The steering committee considered research, expert guidance and evidence from other jurisdictions and feedback gathered from an initial phase of public consultation to produce Modernizing the provincial health profession regulatory framework: A paper for consultation.
  4. A public consultation on the recommendations contained in the steering committee’s consultation paper.
  5. The release of the steering committee’s Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework.

In the introduction of his review of BC’s Health Professions Act, Harry Cayton wrote that he was assisted by many conversations with regulators, lawyers, health professionals and patients in BC. Mr. Cayton also attended a number of BC Health Regulators meetings, and received written submissions from some individual colleges.

A formal consultation process was undertaken to solicit public feedback on a consultation paper developed by the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation. The steering committee reports that its consultation paper attracted 1,780 written responses; additionally the steering committee received 4,018 survey responses.

BC’s health professional regulatory colleges have undertaken a number of initiatives that support the directions of the Ministry of Health’s modernization plan. This includes:

  1. Amalgamation: 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; and the College of Podiatric Surgeons is joining the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
  2. Regulatory Practice Excellence: Through BC Health Regulators, the colleges have developed shared resources that support a consistent, high quality regulatory approach. This includes the BCHR Framework for Quality Assurance Programs; the BCHR Framework for a Model Patient-Practitioner Relationship Program; the BCHR Public Notification Framework for Inquiry Results; and a learning module to help registrants gain competency in interprofessional practice. BCHR also hosts educational events for college staff and boards, including a Governance 101 program.
  3. Public engagement: A BC Public Advisory Network (BC-PAN) has been created to serve as an ongoing resource for health regulatory colleges interested in seeking public input on important issues related to health regulation.
  4. Improvements by colleges: Visit individual health regulator websites to learn about the changes each is making in support of modernization. The list of BCHR’s member colleges provides links to college websites.

Visit the BC Ministry of Health’s Professional Regulation page for details about the initiative to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework. Read the steering committee’s Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework.

Visit individual college websites to learn about the specific actions they are taking in response to the BC Ministry of Health’s modernization plan. See the list of BCHR member colleges, including links to their websites.