BC moves towards mandatory vaccination of all health care providers

John Carpay, The Western Standard

British Columbia is perhaps a week or two away from imposing a COVID vaccine requirement on tens of thousands of health practitioners, as a condition of licensing. If Bill 36 passes third reading, then dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, psychologists, chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will not be able to help their patients unless these health-care providers have been injected with whatever vaccine the government of the day might choose to require.

If a provincial government was about to issue a tyrannical ultimatum to all medical professionals, that they either take a COVID vaccine or lose their ability to earn a living, most people would expect the government to provide adequate advance warning. Maybe the premier or health minister would issue an official announcement along the following lines: “We intend to force you to take medical treatments you’ve said you don’t want. And if you refuse you will lose your career. We thought you should have a few weeks to find alternate employment.”

Bill 36, which is nearly 200 pages, was rushed through the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia by the NDP government of Premier David Eby. British Columbia’s Minister of Health introduced “Bill 36 – 2022: Health Professions and Occupations Act” in late October, and told the public this was simply a replacement of the Health Professions Act from 1996. A government website describes the purpose of Bill 36 as increasing the quality of oversight to patients, and to “streamline the process for regulating new health professions.”

BC intends to amalgamate the existing regulatory colleges from 15 down to six. For example, the colleges which govern and regulate dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech and hearing professionals will have only one regulator, not separate bodies as currently. Another amalgamation will combine the colleges for chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopathic physicians, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncturists. Bill 36 also creates a new oversight body entitled the “Office of the Superintendent of Health Profession and Occupation Oversight.”

On its face, the government’s summary of Bill 36 does not reveal anything particularly notable or concerning. Perhaps most legislators did not read Bill 36, which advanced quickly through first and second reading. The NDP majority in the Legislature closed debate as of November 23. The third and final vote on Bill 36 is expected within a week.

Under Bill 36, the new Health Professions and Occupations Act will require doctors and other health professionals to apply to the registrar of a regulatory college for a license or a permit, as a condition of practicing in their respective fields. Unremarkably, the registrar is required to consider an applicant’s competency and qualifications, and whether they are up to date on continuing education requirements. Under Bill 36, however, health care providers will be required to demonstrate to the registrar that their competence is “not unduly impaired by a health condition.”

If this seems like an odd provision, it is. Most medical practitioners aren’t playing extreme sports or climbing Everest. What kind of health condition might Health Minister Adrian Dix, who introduced Bill 36, be thinking of?

Careful review of Bill 36 provides the answers. Registrars must assure themselves that all health practitioner applicants comply with the bylaws. The bylaws aren’t written yet, and they won’t be until long after the passage of Bill 36. But Bill 36 stipulates that one of the bylaws must address “mandatory vaccinations, required under an enactment other than the bylaws, against transmissible illnesses.”

What enactment might be referred to? Bill 36 empowers the Health Minister to pass regulations to compel health practitioners “to be vaccinated against specified transmissible illnesses.”

The word “COVID” is not contained in Bill 36. And it doesn’t have to be.

Bill 36 gives the Health Minister the power, after the passage of Bill 36, to create regulations requiring mandatory vaccination for COVID-19, the annual flu shot, or any other illness, and requires bylaws to be created to implement regulations to this effect created by the Health Minister.

Therefore, three things seem apparent.

First, the BC Legislature is, knowingly or unknowingly, poised to give enormous unilateral power to the Health Minister to impose a sweeping COVID (or any other) vaccine mandate on all health professionals as a condition of licensing. Non-compliance would result in loss of professional standing, meaning that health care professionals cannot treat their patients, and cannot earn a living.

Second, Bill 36 is another predictable end-run around the democratic process. Citizens’ representatives cannot review or debate bylaws and regulations which do not exist yet, yet the Minister of Health and the college registrars can dramatically override citizens’ constitutional rights to bodily autonomy. This is not democracy, but rather the rule of bureaucracy and ministerial fiat.

Third, the small sub-group of doctors, nurses, chiropractors and other health practitioners in BC who have opposed lockdowns, and who have vocally and bravely raised an alarm about the safety and efficacy of the Covid shots, are squarely targeted by Bill 36. If the purpose of Bill 36 was to silence unwanted opposition through cancelling their professional standing, it could hardly be concocted better.

Citizens who cherish their Charter right to bodily autonomy, not to mention their Charter freedom of conscience, would be well-served to read Bill 36 and contact their elected Member of the Legislative Assembly.