While countries across the world and other provinces have dropped their covid measure and vaccine mandates British Columbia seems to be moving in the other direction.
British Columbia’s new unelected Premier David Eby and health official Adrian Dix are ramming through new legislation with draconian measures and punishments without debate.
This replacement of the Health Professions Act with Health Professions and Occupations Act will bring radical sweeping changes which will impact 100,000 of the province’s regulated health-care workers and the way their licenses to practice are managed and governed.
The opposition party BC United formerly known as BC Liberals have been trying to put up roadblocks and have it opened up for more scrutiny.
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix claims the new measures would improve patient safety and strengthen jurisdiction over the different regulatory colleges.
The way it will strengthen jurisdiction is by dismantling all 15 regulatory colleges which are for the most part privately regulated. Adrian Dix said his ministry will crush the 15 regulatory colleges down to six.
It will also remove all current health professional board members that were elected for their roles who are experienced in their professions.
“It shifts away from the election of health professional board members, creating a system where all board members are appointed” said Adrian Dix
“These changes will streamline the process to regulate new health professions, provide stronger oversight, provide more consistent discipline across the professions, act in the public interest and protect patient care in the province, while also laying the groundwork to further reduce the total number of regulatory colleges.” Dix said in a press release on Oct. 19 announcing the changes.
In the current state boards are elected individuals which takes in to consideration their merits and qualifications which is based on their expertise and experience within their profession.
The board members set out in bill 36 will be bureaucrats appointed to their roles making decisions that will affect professionals and patients, of whom the bureaucrats will be disconnected from.
The bill also aims to end the self-governance of regulatory colleges by transferring control of all health care licencing and regulation to the British Columbian government.
Many of the powers of Bill 36 have generated widespread concern. Among these changes there will be severe penalties to health providers who give what the government claims to be “false and misleading information” to patients, evidence of meeting the undefined “good character” standards required to maintain a licence to practice and mandatory vaccinations against transmissible diseases.
The government has the flexibility to change the number of shots and time line of when to get them at anytime they want.
Rights groups are saying if the government wants to strip professionals of their licences and force them to stop practicing and earning a living to provide for themselves and their families unless they submit their bodily autonomy to the state. The government needs to follow the democratic process and bring the legislation up for debate to be scrutinized and amended.
BC lawyer Charlene Le Beau states: “The enactment of Bill 36 would evidence a further erosion of the rights and freedoms our Charter is supposed to protect, particularly individual liberty. As Aristotle posited, ‘The basis of a democratic state is liberty.’
The mandatory Covid-19 vaccine had a temporary policy in place under the emergency order that proved to be controversial after some 2,500 health-care workers in the province were fired for refusing to take a COVID-19 vaccine which is contributing to the staffing shortages across the province while healthy qualified and licenced individuals already in the province have been banned from practicing because of rejecting vaccine mandates.
Penalties for individuals who commit such undefined offence under the legislation include fines ranging between $25,000 and $200,000 and jail for up to two years.
Bill 36 is “creating an environment of censorship”
Critics are saying it’s a censorship law that discourages debates and encourages professionals to snitch on each other for spreading “false or misleading” information.
Through the pandemic many politicians and unelected health officials across the country and world have labeled stuff “false or misleading” information to dismiss things they disagree with and don’t want to debate over which later the government finally acknowledges to be accurate.
Former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford expressed his concerns about Bill 36 in a blog post on Nov. 21. While he mentioned several aspects of the act that concerned him, he reserved his harshest criticism for the vague legislation and the potential danger for people who choose to oppose government positions.
“Bill 36 will give the BC Minister of Health the ability to appoint College Boards who are then required to pass bylaws mandating vaccines for any illness the government chooses as a condition of licence, and creating an environment of censorship where if you challenge the government’s position on anything you will face discipline and potentially lose your licence,” he wrote.
“It also allows the College to determine who has good character and who doesn’t and to define informed consent. This is legislation you would typically see in a communist or a police state, not in a democracy.”
The most troubling parts of the bill have no definition and should be included and debated before passed in to law. In a way the government is saying just trust us, you don’t need to know.
“This practice of leaving the details to future regulations yet to be disclosed, and allowing the government to pass the main piece of legislation without it, has to stop. It allows the government the ability to keep secret and free from any oversight or debate, the most important aspects of the legislation.”