Legislative Reform

From 2001 to 2011, the repeals of individual profession-specific statutes and statutory provisions were enacted and most regulated health professions were brought under the ‘umbrella’ legislative framework of the Health Professions Act. This initiative was guided by the reports and recommendations of the former Health Professions Council, particularly the report Safe Choices: A New Model for Regulating Health Professions in British Columbia (PDF, 1.8MB).

The repeal of the Hearing Aid Act and relevant provisions of the Emergency Health Services Act (formerly the Health Emergency Act) were enacted in the Health Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2002.

On August 23, 2002, the Ministry gave initial notice of the proposed Emergency Medical Assistants Regulation to be enacted under the Health Professions Act. In April 2004, work on this transition was suspended indefinitely pending further review.

The repeals of the Chiropractors Act, the Dentists Act, the Medical Practitioners Act, the Nurses (Registered) Act, the Optometrists Act and the Podiatrists Act were enacted in the Health Professions Amendment Act, 2003. The repeal and replacement of the Pharmacists, Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act was provided for in the Health Professions Amendment Act (No. 2), 2003 and the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (also enacted in 2003).

On April 6, 2004, the Ministry gave initial notice of the proposed Optometrists Regulation.

Notice of a proposed Nurses (Registered) and Nurse Practitioners Regulation was given on November 2, 2004, and notice of proposed bylaws for a new college was given on January 12, 2005. Registered nurses became regulated under the Health Professions Act effective August 19, 2005, and in the course of that transition, nurse practitioners became a recognized category of registered nurse under the new College of Registered Nurses. Repeal of the Nurses (Registered) Act was brought into force effective April 1, 2006.

In early 2006, the Board of Examiners in Optometry submitted proposed bylaws for the new College of Optometrists under the Health Professions Act, and the Ministry gave notice of those proposed bylaws on March 22, 2006.

In Spring 2006, further technical amendments were made to the Health Professions Act to facilitate the remaining transitions. These amendments were enacted in the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2006.

On November 21, 2006, the Ministry gave initial notice of the proposed regulations for chiropractors, dentists, medical practitioners and pharmacists.

In late 2006, the College of Dental Surgeons submitted proposed bylaws for the College under the Health Professions Act and the Ministry gave notice of the proposed bylaws on December 20, 2006.

On May 3, 2007, the Ministry gave initial notice of the proposed Speech and Hearing Health Professionals Regulation, to designate audiology, hearing instrument dispensing and speech-language pathology as three distinct professions within a single college. On July 4, 2007, the Ministry gave notice of a revised draft of the proposed Regulation.

The Health Professions (Regulatory Reform) Amendment Act, 2008 (Bill 25) received Royal Assent on May 29, 2008. Bill 25 made a number of important changes to the Health Professions Act (PDF, 23KB).

On October 24, 2008, the Ministry gave notice of the final drafts of the proposed regulations for chiropractors, dentists, medical practitioners, pharmacists and speech and hearing health professionals.

On December 8, 2008, the Ministry announced the appointment of the chair and members of the Health Professions Review Board, and that the Review Board would begin receiving applications for review in March 2009.

On December 11, 2008, the Ministry announced that, effective December 15, 2008, the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology and hearing instrument dispensing were designated under the Health Professions Act, and the new College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals was established. It was also announced that, effective April 1, 2010, the Hearing Aid Act would be repealed, and the College would assume full responsibility for regulating all three professions as of that date.

On December 12, 2008, the Ministry announced effective dates for the transition of five professions to the Health Professions Act and the repeal of their current statutes, as follows:

  • chiropractic - designated effective March 1, 2009;
  • optometry - designated effective March 1, 2009;
  • pharmacy - designated effective April 1, 2009;
  • dentistry - designated effective April 3, 2009;
  • medicine - designated effective June 1, 2009.

On December 12, 2008, the Ministry gave notice of the final draft of the proposed Optometrists Regulation and the Board of Examiners in Optometry gave notice of the final draft of proposed bylaws for the new College of Optometrists.

On February 3, 2009, the College of Chiropractors gave notice of proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act.

On February 9, 2009, the College of Pharmacists gave notice of proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act and the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act.

On March 1, 2009, the Ministry announced completion of the transition of optometry to the Health Professions Act.

On March 1, 2009, the Ministry announced completion of the transition of chiropractic to the Health Professions Act.

On March 16, 2009, the College of Dental Surgeons gave notice of the final draft of the proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act.

On March 24, 2009, the Ministry announced the Health Professions Review Board is now accepting applications for review.

On April 1, 2009, the Ministry announced completion of the transitions of dentistry and pharmacy to the Health Professions Act.

On May 1, 2009, the College of Physicians and Surgeons gave notice of proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act.

On June 1, 2009, the Ministry announced completion of the transition of medicine to the Health Professions Act.

On October 16, 2009, the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals gave notice of proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act.

On February 17, 2010, the Ministry gave notice of a proposed amendment to the Health Professions Designation Regulation regarding podiatric medicine, and the proposed Podiatrists Regulation.

On April 1, 2010, the Ministry announced completion of the transition of the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology and hearing instrument dispensing to the Health Professions Act.

Effective July 1, 2010, podiatric medicine was designated under the Health Professions Act, and the new College of Podiatric Surgeons was established. Repeal of the Podiatrists Act was set for February 1, 2011.

On November 25, 2010, the College of Podiatric Surgeons gave notice of proposed bylaws under the Health Professions Act.

On February 1, 2011, the transition of podiatric medicine to the Health Professions Act was completed.

All self-regulating health professions in British Columbia are now fully regulated under the Health Professions Act.