Update on BC Health Regulatory Framework following MOH Meeting

September 15, 2020 BCPA participated in an early information session regarding modernization of the BC health profession regulatory framework. In preparation for this meeting, a survey was issued seeking membership feedback with respect to how paramedics may fit into the proposed regulatory framework (this survey is still open and seeking participants). With the October 24 provincial election the status of proposed regulatory changes with respect to future provincial legislation is unknown.

BCPA will continue to keep the membership apprised of this quickly developing situation. Continued membership feedback will be collected via ongoing survey. Click the link below to participate.

BC Health Profession Regulatory Framework Survey

Early paramedic survey results have brought forward several themes worth addressing:

Financial Cost of Professional Registration

While it is impossible to declare a precise yearly registration cost, it is possible to infer a probable cost range based on existing professional college and registration bodies. Presently Canada has self regulatory colleges in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba (in transition), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Fees in the self regulated provinces are as follows:

Alberta: $525

Saskatchewan: $510

Manitoba: $550

New Brunswick: $400

Nova Scotia: $450

Canadian Average: $487

Of note the current model in other provinces is one with a single profession per college. The proposed changes to the BC regulatory framework would create professional colleges covering multiple professions per college (six regulators in total). The multi-professional college model of regulation, though new in North America, has been deployed in the United Kingdom. The UK Health and Care Professionals Council regulates multiple professions under a single regulator, including paramedics. Shared overhead costs may reduce the yearly registration fee of included professionals.

Why not an independent paramedic only regulator?

Presently BC has over 20 health professions regulated under the Health Professions Act. Both the Cayton Report and the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation have identified a strong public appetite for health regulatory reform. Public consultation has resulted in moves to simplify the regulatory process, enhance accountability to the public, and guarantee merit based appointments to the respective regulatory boards. In keeping with the public’s desire to simplify process and enhance accountability, the current regulatory framework recommendation involves a reduction in the number of colleges to six from the previous number over twenty. As part of the reformation process, there exists the opportunity to incorporate the regulation of Emergency Medical Assistants (paramedics) into one of the newly formed regulatory colleges. Presently paramedicine is a regulated health occupation. Reformation under a regulatory college would include a transition to paramedicine being a regulated health profession.

In reviewing the available information, the multi-profession model presents both strengths and potential weaknesses. Public approachability, public accountability, and governance complexity all stand to improve under a multi-profession model. Risks to be mitigated include, loss of voice for professions with a small number of practitioners, inappropriately matched health professions within a given college, and a perceived loss of regulatory independence.

Current proposed health regulatory changes present the greatest opportunity paramedicine in BC has had to modernize paramedic practice regulation. The opportunity to develop a separate individual professional college is not presently on the table.

What could a professional college mean for educational standards?

In addition to regulating the practice of a given health profession, regulated health profession colleges have the ability to set and enforce minimum educational standards. In effect this allows professional colleges to evaluate the quality of an educational programme of study and determine if said programme meets the minimum standards for it’s graduates to pursue registration or licensure. If educational institutions fail to meet these standards graduates would not be eligible for registration with the governing professional college.

If for example the minimum entry to practice requirement for a profession is a baccalaureate degree, only those who have completed the required baccalaureate degree would be eligible for registration.

Which of the proposed health profession colleges are paramedics going to end up in?

This has yet to be determined. If paramedicine is moved under one of the proposed health professions colleges, the overseeing college is expected to be identified as part of the ongoing consultation process. Based on responses received from BCPA members thus far, Paramedics believe the proposed Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professionals to be the most appropriate fit.

Directly from Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework, “One of the umbrella regulatory colleges, which will tentatively be referred to as the Regulatory College of Allied Health and Care Professionals, should include: dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech and hearing professionals, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic professions in the future.”

Of note diagnostic and therapeutic professions will likely include professions such as Respiratory Therapy, Medical Radiation Technology,  and Perfusion.

The potential for great change is at our doorstep.

Remember everyone, 

Education Builds the Dream

Ed Peters