BRITISH COLUMBIA: The Justice Centre announces that the hearing for Vancouver area nurse Amy Hamm began today at the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM). An investigation was launched by the BCCNM in November, 2020, in response to public complaints about Ms. Hamm’s ‘gender critical’ opinions and comments. This followed her involvement with an “I ♥ JK Rowling” billboard display in Vancouver, endorsing Ms. Rowling’s view that women and girls deserve their own safe bathrooms and locker rooms where biological males may not enter.
In Ms. Hamm’s case, the BCCNM Inquiry Committee referred the matter to a Disciplinary Panel. A hearing was originally set for spring of 2022, but was adjourned to today’s date. The charge against Ms. Hamm reads: “Between approximately July 2018 and March 2021, you made discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people, while identifying yourself as a nurse or nurse educator. These statements were made across various online platforms, including but not limited to, podcasts, videos, published writings and social media.”
The hearing is being conducted by videoconference, from September 21 to 23 and October 24 to 27, 2022.
The Justice Centre is concerned that regulatory bodies across Canada are increasingly policing the speech of professionals with threats of disciplinary action. “The College is tasked with keeping patients safe and regulating the profession in the public interest. Their job is not to give social justice activists a tool for ‘cancelling’ people with whom they do not agree or who have opinions outside of a narrow orthodoxy,” says lawyer Lisa Bildy, co-counsel for Ms. Hamm.
“Professional governing bodies are created by statute and are therefore subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of speech, thought, belief, opinion and expression are Charter rights belonging to all people, even health professionals,” Ms. Bildy adds.
“This case will set an important precedent for regulated professionals who engage in the public square in policy debates which may be contentious, as it seems virtually everything is in these times,” concludes Ms. Bildy.