Regulation of health professions is one of the ways that the provincial government serves and protects the public. There are 26 regulated health professions in British Columbia. They are regulated by 20 self-governing bodies, known as "colleges", and one government-appointed licensing board.
Regulation helps to protect the public by ensuring that professional care or service received by the public is competent, ethical and meets the standards that society views as acceptable.
BCCNP is the college empowered under the Health Professions Act to regulate the practice of three distinct professions: practical nursing, psychiatric nursing, and nursing. This includes licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). Only BCCNP registrants are authorized to use the title "nurse" while practising their profession in British Columbia.
BCCNP's regulatory functions include:
The Health Professions Act is an umbrella statute by which the government has established a common regulatory system for the province's health professions. It was enacted by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1990.
The government, through regulations enacted by the Cabinet, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor, makes the decision whether a particular profession will be regulated by a college under the Health Professions Act. For each health profession designated by these Cabinet-enacted regulations, the Minister of Health then enacts further regulations that establish the name of the college responsible for the profession, and that set out reserved titles, a scope of practice statement and restricted activities for registrants of the college.
Bylaws are legal rules made under the Health Professions Act by and for each of the colleges. Bylaws provide a detailed, profession-specific framework for each college's governance and operations. Bylaws are enacted by the college board, subject to oversight by the Minister of Health. Bylaw-making by the college board is an exercise of law-making authority delegated directly to the board by the Legislative Assembly.
In addition to electing BCCNP board members, BCCNP registrants contribute to regulation of the three professions by serving on college committees, providing input into standards development, participating in general meetings, and joining in other BCCNP activities.