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What loud bells will wake BC doctors and the public to the dangers of Bill 36, the HPOA?

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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 6, 2023.

Image of the great bell ben.There is a sleeping sickness throughout our land. It has found its way into health care and affected all the doctors. It is not some esoteric thing happening in some small political arena or lawyers club. This impacts all of BC and all of us: the ability of doctors to practice medicine the way they were taught and trained, according to their conscience and oath for the benefit of patients.

The significance of Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, is profound and the association, Doctors of BC, should be ringing alarm bells. Instead, they are subduing the importance of it, convincing all doctors to move on to the regulations, like lemmings over the cliff. Not only is this unhelpful to doctors, it is actually dangerous for doctors with their purpose and professional obligations to deliver health care to patients. Bells need to ring everywhere, and the association should be dissolved.

Doctors and the public who are calling for Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, to be repealed are correct. This is what needs to happen. There is nothing good that can come from going forward with the regulations.

It should never have got to this point. Passing of the Act in the BC legislature in November 2022 was an abuse of power. The use of early closure of debate in Parliament should not be ignored especially since many sections that had not been read into law or reviewed in Parliament have significant impact on the public interest in health care and how health professionals and occupations deliver care. It is surprising that Premier David Eby, as the leader of the BC Government, would allow, let alone invoke, early closure having previously been a leader with the BC Civil Liberties Association. Or has he too become influenced by managerial bureaucracy?

Nonetheless, this is not a trivial matter. On Thursday night, October 26 in a virtual meeting, doctors and other health care professionals had the opportunity to hear Gail Davidson, human rights advocate, advocating with others for the repeal of Bill 36, the HPOA, not some massaging of it. Anyone present could surely hear the bells ring as she struck on different sections in the act, including many never introduced to parliament because of early closure of debate.

Doctors throughout BC need to listen to the recording, link below, or invite Gail Davidson to speak at Grand Rounds at their hospitals. Maybe even invite her to a debate with Deborah Viccars, DoBC VP for policy, planning and law, who is herself a lawyer, and from the start, early this year, influenced the board to send the message to members that: they hear the members concerns about the legislation, however, they are moving on to try to influence the regulations and that repeal is a huge task with low chance of success. The CEO Anthony Knight, new this year, should also be invited to the debate.

Doctors need to ring the bells themselves to wake up their own association, the Doctors Of BC, and tell them they are not listening to the members. First, all efforts must be made to repeal the Act.

Resident doctors and medical students must also ensure that their respective associations truly represent and serve them, not just in name. Have their associations just learned old tricks to please the masters or themselves? This is important. Young doctors need to ensure they will be able to practice the way they are learning, according to their conscience and oath for the benefit of patients.

There are already tens of thousands of people in BC who have signed a formal petition for the Act to be repealed and, while those numbers continue to grow, there is also a growing flood of postcards signed by individuals arriving at MLA offices asking for it to be repealed as more and more people realize how important it is.

The HPOA is bad legislation, a skeleton to be filled later with regulations behind closed doors in Cabinet; combined with the historically disdained upon process of early closure of debate in Parliament, preventing the consideration of important sections of the legislation that directly impact the public interest in health care delivery.

These two practices are detrimental to democracy and must be halted.

Doctors and patients are working together to be heard see the web links below.


Web links:

1. See Gail Davidson on Bill 36, the Act, video from meeting of Oct 26, 2023.

Gail Davidson, human rights advocate, speaks about the many problems with the Act and answers questions in the first 25 minutes of this video.

Tip 1: Video platforms can be distracting with a side column of other videos. Fortunately, many sites, like youtube and rumble allow viewing with a narrow browser window and widths less than 900px can be more pleasing and easier to focus on.

Tip 2: Listening to the audio with the screen off is also an effective way to learn from some videos like this one.

2. Send a Postcard to your MLA.

A grassroots campaign is already underway with thousands of postcards to MLAs from patients signed at offices of doctors and other health practitioners.

They will send a postcard to your MLA for you, click on: Send a postcard

You can use this on your mobile device or desktop and share it with friends and family. If you hurry, you may get your postcard delivered direct to the BC Legislature on November 9, 2023 along with thousands of others from all over the Province and see it on live stream.

3. Invitation for doctors and other health professionals to attend the BC Legislature Gallery with reserved seating on November 9, 2023, but must be cleared in advance.

While there are only a couple of days to go, it is an important opportunity for doctors, who can, to attend the BC Parliamentary Gallery to show their disapproval with the Act. The presence in the gallery, while constrained to required decorum and behaviour, will be an important visual for the public of the concern about the Act. Details for this event are provided on


Doctors and others can watch a brief presentation on the HPOA

Here is another short presentation to help doctors, and everyone else, learn why this is very important. Take a look at what Wayne Alton, retired lawyer, shares in this section of the video recording of the February 8, 2024 meeting of Physicians and Health professionals, click here.

Cease fire banner, you don't speak for the people.