Health Professions and Occupations Act (HPOA)
On November 24, Bill 36 – 2022: Health Professions and Occupations Act received Royal Assent and is being finalized as an Act. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix introduced Bill 36 to replace the Health Professions Act (HPA) in the Legislative Assembly on October 19. It is now up to Cabinet to determine when this new Act will take effect and replace its predecessor, the HPA. For now, B.C. health regulatory colleges will continue to operate under the current HPA.
This legislation is, in part, a response to the Cayton Report published in 2019 and includes further recommendations made in 2020 by the multi-party Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation. It also reflects recommendations made in the In Plain Sight report addressing racism in healthcare. Information on the College of Chiropractors of B.C.’s consultation submissions can also be found on our website.
Amongst other provisions, this new legislation will enable:
- The creation of a regulatory oversight body
- New and transparent discipline processes
- A strong commitment to cultural safety and humility
- Enhanced opportunities to share information between colleges
- A competency-based, modernized board appointment system, a shift away from elections
- Additional legislative tools to facilitate amalgamations.
We are in the process of developing our plan to implement the new Act. We will soon begin to collaborate on this front with our partners including the Ministry of Health, registrants, health profession colleagues and the public in advancing the modernization of health profession regulation. We are committed to sharing information as it becomes available with registrants, the public and health profession partners.
While not included as part of the new legislation, the Ministry has made it clear that amalgamations to reduce the number of regulatory colleges will proceed in the near future by way of regulation. The Ministry’s announcement indicated that one such amalgamation “will combine the colleges for chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopathic physicians, and traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncturists.”
Several regulatory colleges have already undergone amalgamation. B.C.’s nursing colleges and midwifery college were consolidated into one regulatory body, now known as the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives. The College of Physicians and Surgeons amalgamated with the College of Podiatric Surgeons, continuing under the name College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. And just this fall, the B.C. College of Oral Health Professionals became the sole regulatory body for all oral health professionals in our province.