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

Health Regulatory Colleges Release Joint Apology and Commitment to Action Report

Nine BC health profession regulatory colleges, including COTBC, have jointly released a comprehensive progress report outlining Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism activities in the two years since signing a Statement of Apology and Commitment to Action.

The release of this Joint Apology and Commitment to Action 2021-2023 Report (PDF) coincides with and recognizes Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, both on September 30, 2023. This day also marks the one-year anniversary of the ceremony held with 11 BC health profession regulatory colleges to launch the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism Standard of Practice.

In the report’s summary, the colleges recognize “that we are at the beginning of a lifelong journey that is personal and professional, individual and collective…. We remain committed to this work, recognizing that we must be persistent in acknowledging and dismantling historic and ongoing Indigenous-specific racism everywhere that it exists.”

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.

Volunteer Position on Inquiry Committee

We’re seeking a registrant to join the College’s Inquiry Committee (IC).

The IC hears complaints filed against licensed occupational therapists under the Health Professions Act. Its activities serve the College’s public protection mandate by helping to ensure that occupational therapists in BC practice safely, ethically, and competently.

If you are interested, you must be a full registrant in good standing and understand the College’s public protection mandate. Learn more about this volunteer role, including necessary qualifications, time commitments, honoraria and more, in our Careers & Partnerships section.




Notice of Bylaw Amendment, College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia

The College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) is proposing an amendment to its bylaws (Part 1, section 7) in response to July 7, 2023, changes to the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation, which will amalgamate COTBC with several other health professions regulatory colleges into a single college on June 28, 2024. A copy of that Order in Council can be found at Order in Council 421/2023 (

The proposed bylaw amendment is subject to the notice requirement described in section 19(6.2) of the Health Professions Act. Accordingly, notice of the amendment is hereby provided to the public, the Ministry of Health, and other interested stakeholders.

The proposed amendment extends the term of office of the elected COTBC Board member for one year. This will provide for those elected board members whose terms would have expired on January 31, 2023, to continue to serve on the COTBC Board for the limited time remaining until amalgamation, when the terms of all COTBC board members will expire under section 25.05 of the Health Professions Act. Keeping these elected members on the COTBC Board in the lead up to amalgamation will allow for ongoing experience and informed governance in the final meetings of the Board. The proposed amendments are like those previously enacted by other health professions colleges as they prepared for amalgamation under the HPA.

The amendment includes the following change:

Part 1, Section 7 is repealed and replaced by the following:

Terms of office

7. (1) The term of office for an elected board member is three (3) years, beginning on February 1 of each year.

(2) An elected board member may serve a maximum of two (2) consecutive terms.

(3) A board member may resign at any time by delivering a notice in writing to the registrar and the resignation is effective upon receipt by the registrar.

(4) Despite subsection (1), the term of office for every elected board member who holds office on the date this subsection comes into force is extended by one year.

COTBC is requesting a shortened notice period from the Minister of Health. Therefore, COTBC is asking that any comments concerning the proposed amendments be sent to COTBC and the Ministry of Health no later than 4:30 pm on August 21, 2023.

View Proposed Amendments Bylaws (PDF)

View Resolution of the Board (PDF)

Comments can be sent to:



Fax: 250-386-6824


Carin Plischke, Registrar
College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia
402 – 3795 Carey Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 6T8

Ministry of Health



Director of Regulatory Initiatives Professional
Regulation Oversight Branch; Ministry of Health
515 Blanchard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9P4

Proposed Amendments to the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation

The Ministry of Health is proposing amendments to the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation. The proposed regulatory amendments would, effective June 28, 2024, establish the following colleges:

  • The College of Dietitians of BC, College of Occupational Therapists of BC, College of Opticians of BC, College of Optometrists of BC, College of Physical Therapists of BC, College of Psychologists of BC and College of Speech and Hearing Professionals of BC be amalgamated into one college.
  • The College of Chiropractors of BC, College of Massage Therapists of BC, College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC and the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturists of BC be amalgamated into one college.

The notice period required by the Health Professions Act before the proposed regulation amendments can be enacted will begin on May 23, 2023. The proposed regulation changes are posted on the Ministry of Health website.

The Ministry asks that any comments on these proposed regulation amendments be submitted by May 30, 2023, as soon as possible.

Please submit comments by e-mail to: