Updates from the CEO

It’s a beautiful day today on the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, on which our offices are located.

We are back to usual this week after having had PABC’s Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Tania Dick in town last week to spend time with the staff, meet the board and begin working with us on plans for the future. As an organization, we are committed to playing a leading role in advancing reconciliation in physiotherapy.

Please join us in warmly welcoming Tania to the team – we look forward to introducing you to her at Congress in April and we know you’ll appreciate her as much as we do!

I’ve just passed my four month mark with PABC, and I love everything about being here.  You sure know how to keep a person busy! 

Enormous thanks to all of you who have reached out for a visit, to grab a coffee or to have a zoom meeting. I love talking to members and I genuinely hope that more of you will invite us to come and visit you in your workplace, have a coffee or drop by the office.

I’ve been told you want to hear more from us and I appreciate the reminder! There are a few ways we will do that:

  • We will commit to adding to this blog at least once per week, and if you are a clinic that I can visit, or a physiotherapist or physiotherapist assistant who has something you want me to talk about, give me a poke and we’ll make it happen. 

  • We’re going to launch our “Fireside Chat” series, which will occur on the first Monday of every month from 6:30 to about 8 (unless no one comes, in which case, I will go home and hang out with my cats).  These will be sessions open to all members (including PTAs) and will be an opportunity for the staff to provide updates, for you to ask questions, and for you to chat with one another.  There’s nothing worse than only having opportunity to interact when the AGM happens, so we’re going to give you an open forum every month!

  • We’ve launched the “New Directions Podcast”.  These will be short episodes where you will hear from staff, maybe the board, Tania, possibly CPA, members who have something to share, partners.  Who knows really?  We’re just getting going, but if you’re a spotify member, you can sign up by clicking ‘here’. 

  • We are in the planning stages for a series of Town Halls targeting specific groups, so we can hear from you in a more intimate setting. 

  • And of course, our newsletter is becoming a consistent and ongoing activity, through which you can read about everything happening in physiotherapy in BC.

Here’s what you’ve been asking about lately

What are these Regulations about and what do I do?

Most of you have noticed that the government posted new regulations for PTs, OTs, Dieticians and Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncturists. I had a chance to speak directly with the team in the Ministry of health who are responsible for Professional Regulation, along with counterparts from Occupational Therapy.  We had some questions about how and why these amendments have been proposed.

The reality is, these regulations are not intended to expand or enhance the scope of practice for physiotherapists.  They are more or less ‘housekeeping’ to bring the regulations of all of the professions to an even playing field under the current Health Professions Act

When the Health Professions and Occupations Act (HPOA) is fully enacted (likely in 2025), it’s important that all of the professions come into that with similar style regulations.

While I certainly understand the desire of physiotherapists to seek ‘more’ from the regulations right now, my understanding is that these updates are intended to cover what physiotherapists already do, not add to the scope.  There will be opportunity for those discussions once the new HPOA is in place.

We will be responding as an organization, and I’m sure the College will as well.  That doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts, just be fully aware that government is considering this an update and housekeeping exercise and not an expansion of scope.

As we consider this, I am very keen to hear as many ideas and suggestions as possible about the definition of physiotherapy.  We know from the experience with PBC, that they are directly using what is in the regulations (and not what the College has defined as scope) to ascertain what services can and can’t be provided.  I would ask that all physiotherapists really consider the definition that has been provided, and what you feel is missing.

We’re told to expect some Q and A’s from our College imminently, which should shed some light on the expectations and limitations of these regulations.  We look forward to reading those as well and hope it will clear up any confusion.

Isn’t the new Act just about amalgamation?

Absolutely not. 

In fact, the amalgamation of College’s is a very small part of a huge piece of legislation. All of the professional associations are still trying to understand the various aspects of the new HPOA and how it will impact practice. It is very long and very complex, and we are currently awaiting a legal opinion that will help us understand the risks, opportunities and challenges of this legislation. 

Once we have a better finger on how it will impact your work, we’ll hold some information sessions and get whatever we can out in writing.  It is very safe to say that many of the professional health associations like PABC have deep concerns about parts of this legislation, and it will be an ongoing discussion for quite some time.

What is going on with Pacific Blue Cross?

The wheels of bureaucracy move much too slowly, and we do know many of you are waiting to hear about the outcomes of our efforts. 

We are currently in a mix of different considerations, all coming together effectively to hopefully get this situation resolved sooner, but we do have to wait while lawyers on both sides wrangle with what is happening. 

At the same time, some of our partners, are working non-legal routes to discuss options with benefit holders (employers, unions, etc.)  We continue to engage with government who we know are keeping a close watch. 

Our partnership with the Canadian Physiotherapy Association is strong, and while we are working the back channels (and front channels) in British Columbia, they are extremely supportive of the work we’re doing and what is happening on the federal level.

The biggest challenge right now, is that this work is sometimes slow to move.  Lawyers and corporations are involved, and things are not always quickly resolved when situations like this are ongoing.

We know this isn’t what anyone wants to hear, especially when PTAs and kins are losing jobs and physiotherapists are having to take on extra patients or worrying about how you chart. 

I wish we had a magic wand and could speed up the processes and things that need to fall into place to provide definitive answers.  But we don’t want to advise you and then discover we’re wrong.

Keep checking www.physioadvocate.com for updates.

Other things to be aware of?

  • We meet bi-weekly with ICBC, so if you have an issue with something related to ICBC, send them through.  I can’t promise a resolution, but we’ll definitely bring them forward as they arise.

  • We meet monthly with WorkSafe and similarly, if you’re having struggles or frustrations, let us know and we’ll reach out to them.  Some things can be answered quickly, but we need to know about them first.

  • We’re putting together a PTA steering committee which will help us develop programs, services and plans for the PTAs in the province.  If you are a PTA or know someone who you think would be interested, please have them email Azeez at aopel@bcphysio.org and he would be happy to chat with you about how you can be part of this new initiative.

I am ALWAYS happy to talk to any member.  Feel welcome to email me aburton@bcphysio.org, call or text me on my cell (604-762-4743)