Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)


Health Professions and Occupations Act

The legislation enables:

  • Streamlined path to reduce the number of regulatory colleges through amalgamation: Under the Health Professions and Occupations Act, amalgamations will continue. The new legislation builds on the previous process of amalgamation, streamlining and making it more effective. This will ultimately reduce the number of regulatory colleges, enhance their ability to regulate and make it less confusing for patients as to which college they direct their complaints to.
  • Creation of an oversight body: The oversight body will promote accountability, transparency and consistency across regulatory colleges. The oversight body will conduct routine audits of regulatory colleges, set standards for regulatory colleges on policy and practice, investigate regulatory colleges when necessary, and make recommendations to the minister on potential candidates for health professions or occupations to be regulated under the act. The oversight body will also process and investigate complaints about regulatory colleges’ actions and policies, the act and the respective regulations.
  • Improved transparency around complaints: The complaints and adjudication system will have a new discipline process that separates the investigation stage, which will remain with colleges, and the discipline stage, which will be supported by the oversight body. Information about all agreements made between colleges and registrants will be public. Colleges will fund counselling for victims of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, and victims will be able to recover costs from registrants who harm.
  • Commitment to cultural safety and humility: A new, proactive approach and significant step forward to eliminate discrimination in B.C.’s health-care system. Regulated health professionals and regulated occupations under the act will be required to embed anti-discrimination measures in the delivery of health-care services. Discrimination will be a form of professional misconduct or actionable conduct, which will require regulatory colleges to take action against professionals and occupations when they discriminate against others.
  • Information sharing: Colleges will be able to share information more easily between each other and with other agencies to enhance public safety and protection.
  • Improved governance: Shifting away from the election of registrant board members, the legislation will create a system where all board members are appointed via a competency-based process. This will ensure board members do not feel beholden to the people who elected them. 
Colleges and number of registrants

BC College of Nurses and Midwives: 66,746

  • licensed practical nurses: 15,253
  • midwives: 513
  • nurse practitioners: 825
  • registered nurses: 46,721
  • registered psychiatric nurses: 3,434

BC College of Oral Health Professionals: 15,989

  • certified dental assistants: 6,566
  • dental hygienists: 4,328
  • dental surgeons: 4,030
  • dental technicians: 347
  • dental technician assistants: 444
  • denturists: 267
  • dental therapists: 7

College of Chiropractors of BC: 1,426
College of Dietitians of BC: 1,468
College of Massage Therapists of BC: 5,488
College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC: 14,639

  • physicians and surgeons: 14,564
  • podiatric surgeons: 75

College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC: 860
College of Occupational Therapists of BC: 2,772
College of Opticians of BC: 997
College of Optometrists of BC: 876
College of Pharmacists of BC: 8,164

  • pharmacists: 6,477
  • pharmacy technicians: 1,687

College of Physical Therapists of BC: 4,008
College of Psychologists of BC: 1,402
College of Speech and Hearing Professionals of BC: 1,911

  • audiologists: 306
  • hearing-instrument practitioners: 524
  • speech-language pathologists: 1,343

College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturists of BC: 2,567