CLE’s Self-governing professions – Natasha Dookie and Lisa Fong on the challenges of reconciliation for regulators, and managing professional anti-maskers and COVID naysayers

In the opening session of the course, Natasha and Lisa will be speaking about a number of key developments in professional regulation, including the materialization of commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the COVID pandemic.

The pressing need for professionals in BC to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples was made painfully clear last year by the report of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, “In Plain Sight” which shed light on current, overt and systemic racism against Indigenous Peoples in the BC’s health care system. This report reinforced the need for action by government and regulatory authorities to implement the recommendations made in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, and the Truth and Reconciliation Report.

The commitment to reconciliation has been reflected in many professional regulators’ activities including initiatives to educate and foster competencies of professionals relating to Indigenous peoples. However, entry-requirements that require applicants to demonstrate professional competencies relating to culturally-safe services to Indigenous peoples may be difficult for regulators to require, given recent HPRB decisions that allow mobility applicants to circumvent exams that test for such competencies. Natasha and Lisa will also discuss these labour mobility decisions from a reconciliation perspective.

Natasha and Lisa will also discuss challenges for regulators arising from the COVID pandemic, including the authority of regulators to manage registrants who express pandemic misinformation. Regulators across Canada have been faced with complaints against registrants who profess against the wearing of masks or assert that COVID is harmless, in their capacity as professionals. At issue is when freedom of expression may be curtailed when professional speech is tailored for political purposes.

Natasha Dookie is the Chief Legal Officer of the Law Society of British Columbia. Lisa Fong, QC is a partner of Ng, Ariss, Fong Lawyers. Natasha is a dog-person, while Lisa is a cat person, but what brings them together is their mutual love of good pie.

Come join us! The agenda and registration for the course is available here: Self-Governing Professions 2021 (CLE)