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Health Professions and Occupations Act (formerly Bill 36)
On November 24, 2022, the BC government completed third reading of the new Health Professions and Occupations Act (formerly known as Bill 36), which will bring sweeping changes to how health professions are governed and regulated. In May 2023, our president, board chair and CEO met with the Ministry of Health deputy minister to voice concerns expressed by members, which focus on the shift to appointment of college boards and changes related to investigation and discipline.
The Ministry will now move toward developing regulations before the Act takes effective, a process which could take a year or more. It is extremely unlikely that government will repeal legislation that has received royal assent. At this time, we will focus our efforts on this ‘window of time’ while regulations are being developed to advocate on behalf of our members so that your views are reflected in the implementation. We are in discussions with other organizations representing health professionals so that our responses are aligned and coordinated.
It should be noted that the Act also contains important improvements in supporting cultural safety and humility, regulating additional professional occupations, and consolidating smaller regulatory colleges to improve their capacity to regulate effectively.
Doctors of BC is moving forward with three streams of work:
As requested by members, we will be providing information for greater understanding and clarity about the Act. In April 2023, we conducted an online webinar Town Hall that included representatives from the Ministry of Health. We also sought feedback from members to help guide our advocacy approach. A summary of the Town Hall will be shared soon.
We are doing research both nationally and internationally so that we better understand the implications of the legislation.
We are continuing our engagement with members and the Ministry to advance our advocacy moving forward.
We held a town hall webinar on April 25, 2023 in which government public servants outline the reasons for the Health Professions and Occupations Act and explain what this means for doctors; followed by a discussion with Doctors of BC leaders on the next steps to effectively advocate on behalf of the profession. This is a written summary of that webinar.
Doctors of BC’s position on the Health Professions and Occupations Act can be found in a president’s letter sent to members in January 2023.
Doctors of BC Past President Dr Ramneek Dosanjh spoke to CTV News, “This is not the time to implement and make these kinds of sweeping changes without deep consultation that could actually impact our profession and our patients.”
Doctors of BC President Dr Joshua Greggain spoke with Vancouver Sun noting that "Doctors of BC supports efforts to hold our health-care providers, including physicians, accountable to a high standard for both public confidence and health issues.” However, he said the “process matters as much as outcome and many physicians have been blindsided by a process they weren’t fully informed about."