BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced yesterday (February 9, 2022) that she will issue a public health order next week requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for all regulated health professionals, including occupational therapists.
The new order will broaden a previous PHO order originally dated October 14, 2021, which mandated COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers working in acute, long-term, and community care health settings. The order can be found on the COVID page.
Dr. Henry indicated that the new order requires all regulated health professionals to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine by March 24, 2022. A second dose is required 28-35 days thereafter.
The College has not yet been provided with the proposed order and does not have specific information about what role is to be played by the College and other health regulatory colleges. After the order is released, the College will review it, consult with the Ministry of Health and other BC health regulators, and provide registrants with additional information.
Under the Public Health Act, the Provincial Health Officer has the authority to issue public health orders, including vaccination mandates, to protect the public.
November 30 marked the first anniversary of the report on Indigenous-specific racism in BC’s health-care system In Plain Sight, an independent review led by Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
On that day, Turpel-Lafond released a statement highlighting some areas of progress made to date. She urged that these developments be used as motivation to address recommendations that have seen little to no movement. Occupational therapists are encouraged to read the original In Plain Sight report as well as her recent statement.
COTBC remains committed to taking action to address the what the report describes as widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people, including stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice. For example, following the ceremony and signing of the Joint Statement of Apology and Commitments to Action, College staff and/or Board members have:
- Both hosted and/or participated in multiple learning sessions and workshops to build knowledge and competencies to best undertake this work.
- Liaised with an Indigenous consultant for feedback on draft content for a Cultural Safety and Humility section on our website. Revisions are currently underway.
- Continued to collaborate with other BC Health Regulators to identify opportunities to share, partner, or build off each other’s work, in an effort to support timely and consistent action.
- Commissioned a local Indigenous artist who has started the design of a series of custom digital artwork pieces for the College.
- Initiated planning for an event to meet with occupational therapists who self-identified as Indigenous at this year’s registration renewal and provided their consent to be contacted by the College.
The College will continue to keep you informed of progress on our commitment in upcoming newsletters and other communications. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you to the four occupational therapists who allowed their names to stand for election to the Board of Directors. We also thank all the occupational therapists who voted in the recent election.
We welcome Jennifer Glasgow back to the Board of Directors, along with two new Board members, Tysen LeBlond and Philipp Santiago. Their terms begin on February 1, 2022. They will join the other Board members including appointed public representatives Mary O’Callaghan, Gayle Nye and Ian Wanke, and elected registrants Debbie Ruggiero, Carin Plischke and Jeff Boniface.
Congratulations Jennifer, Tysen and Philipp.
A big thank you to the outgoing Board members Catherine Wu and Joy Parsons, elected registrants who complete their terms on January 31, 2022. Catherine Wu served on the registration committee and then moved to participate on the inquiry committee. Joy participated on the governance panel, the registration committee and served as Chair of the Board for two years. We know board members balance many roles in their day-to-day lives and we appreciate their dedicated service to the College’s public protection work. We thank you and wish all the best to Catherine and Joy.