In British Columbia, there are 26 regulated health professions, of which 25 are governed by 18 regulatory colleges under the Health Professions Act. The act provides a common regulatory framework for health professions in British Columbia.
One profession (emergency medical assisting) is regulated by a government-appointed licensing board under a separate statute.
Many social workers also practice within the health system. Social workers are a self-regulating profession governed by a regulatory college under the Social Workers Act.
A health regulator’s (college’s) legal obligation is to protect the public through the regulation of their registrants. They do this by:
- determining registration requirements
- setting standards of practice
- recognizing education programs
- maintaining a register that everyone can search, and
- addressing complaints about their registrants
Colleges are required to review all complaints about the health professionals they regulate, including both current and former registrants. Colleges may conduct an investigation into a complaint, and in serious matters may refer the complaint for disciplinary action.
If you have a concern or complaint about a health professional you can visit the college’s website to learn about their complaints process. Complaints should be in writing and describe a specific concern about the conduct, competence, or physical or mental impairment of an individual health professional. Links to each regulatory college website can be found on the profession specific pages to the left.
The Ministry of Health cannot investigate specific complaints about health professionals, as colleges are independent organizations that have been given legal authority to do so.
Proposed Amendments – Oral Health Colleges Amalgamation
The Ministry of Health is proposing amendments to the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation, the Dentists Regulation, the Dental Hygienists Regulation, the Dental Technicians Regulation and the Denturists Regulation.
The proposed amendments to the regulations would establish the amalgamation of the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia, the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia, the College of Dental Technicians of British Columbia and the College of Denturists of British Columbia effective September 1, 2022, into a new amalgamated college the British Columbia College of Oral Health Professionals.
Changes to the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation can be viewed here (PDF, 95KB).
Other regulation changes can be viewed under each of the professions’ folders on the left of this page.
Please submit feedback on the proposed changes to PROREGADMIN@gov.bc.ca.
Regulating Health Professions – Modernization
From Nov. 27, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020 members of the public, community groups and health-sector stakeholders were invited to submit feedback on the proposals in the consultation paper titled Modernizing the provincial health profession regulatory framework: A paper for consultation (PDF, 1.0MB). Feedback was accepted via an online survey and written submissions. Read the What We Heard report (PDF, 489KB) for a summary of engagement results.
On August 27, 2020, the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation released its Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework (PDF, 669KB). Feedback from the consultation assisted the steering committee to finalize these recommendations for improving the model of health profession regulation in B.C. View a diagram (PDF, 44KB) of how the recommendations would change current health professions regulation.
The steering committee was established to provide advice on an approach to modernize the regulatory framework for health professions, following an inquiry into the operations of B.C.’s College of Dental Surgeons, and the Health Professions Act.
Inquiry into the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia
In April 2019, the Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, released the report, An Inquiry into the Performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and the Health Professions Act. The report is authored by Mr. Harry Cayton of the United Kingdom’s Professional Standards Authority. The report contains two parts:
- Part 1 makes recommendations to College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia; and,
- Part 2 suggests possible approaches to modernization of BC’s overall health regulatory framework.
Harry Cayton's report can be viewed here (PDF, 1.0MB).
For the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, click here.
In response to the suggestions outlined in Part Two of the Cayton report, Minister Dix established and chairs the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation.
During an initial phase of public consultation, members of the public and health sector stakeholders were invited to provide written feedback on Part Two of the Cayton report.
A summary of themes from the initial public engagement which closed June 14, 2019 can be viewed here (PDF, 116KB).