Professional Regulation

In British Columbia, there are 26 regulated health professions, of which 25 are governed by 20 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 to Various Oral Health Regulations

The Ministry of Health is proposing amendments to the oral health colleges’ regulations, including the Dental Hygienists Regulation, the Dental Technicians Regulation, the Dentists Regulation, and the Denturists Regulation.

The proposed amendments to the oral health colleges’ regulations are intended to better align the regulations to the Health Professions Act model (characterized by two elements: shared scope of practice statements and restricted activities) and to standardize terms shared between the regulations.

Additionally, amendments have been made to the regulations to clarify that unregulated persons cannot perform the restricted activities that fall under these professions (unless authorized) and to ensure that colleges have the necessary authority to act when unregulated individuals provide these services. 

Comments on these changes must be submitted no later than December 2, 2019.

Changes can be viewed under each of the professions folders on the left of this page.

Inquiry into the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia

The Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, has 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.

Media Briefing (PPTX, 715KB)

Signed Directive from the Minister of Health (PDF, 570KB)

Harry Cayton's report can be viewed here (PDF, 1.0MB).

For the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, click here.

 

Members of the public and health sector stakeholders were invited to provide written feedback on Part Two of the Cayton Report.

Following a 30-day consultation period, the initial opportunity to submit feedback on the report closed on June 14, 2019. Any future invitations for feedback and/or updates will be posted on this website.

A summary of themes from the public engagement can be viewed here (PDF, 116KB).