FAQs on Proposed Occupational Therapy Regulation Amendments

The College published a new set of FAQs regarding the proposed amendments to the Occupational Therapists Regulation.

The FAQs respond to the following questions:

  • Why is the regulation changing?
  • Will the proposed changes to the regulation impact my scope of practice as an occupational therapist?
  • Will the scope of practice of occupational therapists working in mental health be affected if mental health (i.e., psychosocial) is not expressly referenced in the regulation’s definition of occupational therapy?
  • Is COTBC responding to the proposed Regulation?

If you have comments on the proposed regulation, we encourage you to respond to the Ministry of Health via PROREGADMIN@gov.bc.ca.

MoH Proposes Amendments to OT Regulation

The Ministry of Health is proposing amendments to the Physical Therapists Regulation, the Occupational Therapists Regulation, the Dietitians Regulation and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturists Regulation. 

The proposed amendments are intended to align each regulation better with the Health Professions Act model (a shared scope of practice and restricted activities). All revisions and amendments are determined by the Ministry of Health.

The Health Professions Act requires notice before proposed amendments can be enacted, and this notice period started on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

Proposed amendments to the Occupational Therapists Regulation are posted on the Ministry of Health website. The Ministry requests that comments on these proposed regulation amendments be submitted as soon as possible

By e-mail: PROREGADMIN@gov.bc.ca

By mail: 

Professional Regulation and Oversight Branch
Health Sector Workforce and Beneficiary Services Division
Ministry of Health
1515 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC

2022-2023 AGM Q&A Follow Up

The College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia held its 2022-2023 annual general meeting via Zoom on Thursday, November 16, 2023You can listen to an audio recordingincluding answers to questions the College received in advance of the event.

Responses to questions posed during the virtual AGM are provided below.

“How have the clinical OTs represented in our current board sought to uphold the OT code of ethics principles of Informed Consent and Confidentiality in response to Bill 36 (which doesn’t uphold these principles)?”

As a Board member, my role in upholding the current code of ethics is to ensure that the College has the appropriate resources, including staff, to continue the work of protecting the public.

I support the ongoing work of the College staff to meet the goals identified in the strategic plan, which includes providing practice supports and ensuring a Quality Assurance Program is in place to support OTs who may need additional assistance to demonstrate competent practice.

The College operations under the amalgamated college will have to comply with the requirements of the Health Professions and Occupations Act (HPOA) once it is proclaimed in force; however, we do not see that the HPOA will diminish the importance of informed consent and patient confidentiality which are fundamental requirements for the protection of clients/patients.

– COTBC Board Member

 “You mentioned there would be webinars in the new year. Will these be on competencies content? Or on processes (such as about amalgamation, ACCR)? Thanks!”

Webinars will be provided on the changes to the ACCR, including the eLearning Module developed by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) to support registrants in implementing the Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada. The eLearning module will replace the Professional Performance Quiz in the 2024 ACCR.

Webinars may be provided on amalgamation. Updates are posted to the Amalgamation 2024 section.

“Will it be June 2024 or June 2025 that we must be vaccinated in order to be licensed to practice?” and “How does Bill 36 mention of vaccine requirements relate to the ACCR competencies to be eligible for licensing?”

Thank you for your questions regarding the HPOA. Based on the information available to us at this time, we understand that the HPOA will not be proclaimed in force and take effect until sometime in 2025. The College does not make policy decisions regarding the need for vaccination or impose requirements for it. Any direction for mandatory vaccination falls within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Chief Medical Officer and/or individual employers.

For your reference, please see the 2022-2023 Annual Report.

Ministry of Health Announces Actions to Protect People in Respiratory Illness Season

Registrants are encouraged to read the Ministry of Health’s update on the Viral Respiratory Illness (VRI) Season. The news release includes information about vaccines and medical masking.

Key highlights include the following:

  • Medical mask wearing will be required by all health care workers, volunteers, contractors and visitors in patient care areas starting October 3, 2023.
  • Masks are required in health care facilities managed by health authorities and long-term care sites.
  • At this time, the mask mandate does not apply to private clinic settings.

COTBC understands that private health care clinics, such as those commonly used by occupational therapists, are not included in this directive and are not required by the province to adopt medical masking procedures at this time.

Despite this, we encourage registrants to consider the risks to their own client populations, staff and themselves, and to review current information from the Centre for Disease Control to determine the most appropriate measures for infection prevention and control in their practices.

Registrants are reminded to review the Practice Standard for Infection Prevention and Control to support their decision making.

The Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer can issue directives and orders to address public safety concerns at any time, including but not limited to a directive in the future to include mandatory medical masking in private practice environments. The College will provide registrants with information as it is confirmed and urges registrants to consult government sources for more details.

If you have any questions regarding this public health directive, contact us at practice@cotbc.org.

Repeal of Public Health Order Requiring all Health Profession Regulatory Colleges to Record Vaccination Status of Registrants

Please note that a previous Order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) “to prevent or reduce the risk of the transmission of infection with SARS-CoV-2 by health professionals” has been terminated effective July 14, 2023, as outlined in a July 14 Notice of the Provincial Health Officer.

In accordance with the termination of this order, health profession regulatory colleges are no longer required to record the vaccination status of registrants after July 14, 2023.

This repeal does not affect the requirements of health care employers and post-secondary institutions to collect the vaccination status information of their employees and students.

Separate public health orders remain in place requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health professionals working in residential care and acute care and community care settings.