Gandhi responds to B.C. Green caucus letter to bring Bill 36 back for debate

February 21, 2023

VANCOUVER B.C. – B.C. Green Party deputy leader Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi responded to the B.C. Green caucus’ letter to Premier Eby asking for controversial Bill 36 to be brought back to the legislature for debate:

“Bill 36 (the Health Professions and Occupations Act) is a complex 300-page legislation. The government's actions to limit debate and force a bill through the legislature in a flagrant rejection of promises previously made for open and reasonable debate serve no purpose other than to upend self-regulatory professions and subject them to tighter government control. Almost two-thirds of Bill 36 was not adequately scrutinized by the legislature before it was passed.

“Reducing the number of regulatory Colleges is a welcome change. However, politicizing the Colleges is not. Bill 36 mandates that College board members, who hear and make decisions on issues of professional misconduct, will be appointed by the Minister of Health, as will the superintendent who oversees the Colleges and has supreme power - the ability to change or overrule board decisions. When asked about this in the legislature, Minister Dix responded, ‘The minister appoints because the minister appoints.’ Self-regulating professions recognize that professional standards and discipline intrinsically require the involvement of people with expertise and experience in that profession. Modern self-regulating professions also embrace the need for public input and transparency in decision-making processes while maintaining appropriate distance from politically motivated decision-makers. Professional standards must be created, administered, and enforced by boards guided by experience and expertise. Board appointees must not be beholden to or otherwise controlled by their professions or the government of the day. Professionals should not be subject to standards set or discipline meted out by government appointees tainted by political agenda.

“I applaud the call from BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau and Green Party House Leader Adam Olsen to bring Bill 36 back for debate. Their ask of the Premier demonstrates an understanding of the significant flaws with this legislation. It shows rare political humility in now more completely appreciating the inappropriate political pressure to which healthcare professionals in BC are subject, problems which have become more visible in recent months. The pressure from Health Authority leadership, accountable to the provincial government, on healthcare workers to value obedience over truth represents a divisive and noxious culture which must change. Step 1 is to bring Bill 36 back for debate.”

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