April 21, 2020
On April 21, the Ministry of Health announced that it is proposing amendments to the Health Professions General Regulation. Note that the notice period outlined below is 24 hours, ending at 11:59 pm on April 22, 2020.
Health regulatory colleges in British Columbia regulate using the Health Professions Act, the Health Professions General Regulation, specific professional regulations, and their own bylaws. To learn more about the specific regulations and bylaws for CDSBC, visit: www.cdsbc.org/about-cdsbc/regulations-bylaws.
The proposed amendments would give the Provincial Health Officer, during a declared public health emergency (e.g. COVID-19), the power to give certain health professionals or classes of health professionals authority to work outside of their regular scopes of practice. These services would be subject to limitations and conditions imposed by the Provincial Health Officer and situations where the health professional(s) could provide the services safely.
These regulations on their own do not authorize professionals to work outside their regulatory scope of practice, rather this would have to be authorized through an order by the Provincial Health Officer.
Additionally, the Ministry is proposing minor amendments to the Health Professions General Regulation to allow for a temporary suspension of complaints and investigations timelines during the COVID-19 public health emergency. To be clear Colleges' obligation to investigate and regulate their registrants is not suspended – they continue to have obligations to the public. Their investigations can continue during the state of emergency, this change in regulation is just an acknowledgment that there may be delays beyond the College or registrant's control – and that steps need to be taken to ensure that investigations don't get needlessly suspended and the public put at risk.
The proposed amendments are posted here >>
The notice period that is required by the Health Professions Act before the proposed regulation amendments can be brought into force will begin on April 21, 2020, and due to the priority of implementing the changes in response to COVID-19, it is anticipated that the notice period for the changes will be shortened to 24-hours.
The Ministry requests that any comments on these proposed regulation amendments be submitted by 11:59 pm on April 22, 2020. Please submit comments by e-mail to the Professional Regulation and Oversight Branch of the Ministry of Health at: PROREGADMIN@gov.bc.ca