February 13, 2023

The HPOA: Who is who

Happy lunar new year! Happy year of the water rabbit. 

In this post, we continue to cover different aspects of the HPOA. In our upcoming post, we will cover our 2022 Administrative Law Round-up.

The Health Professions and Occupations Act, SBC 2022, c. 43 (Bill 36 – 2022) provides for a number of committees and statutory actors, some with predecessors in the HPA and some new. The following list of committees and roles focuses on persons relating to the regulatory colleges of professionals (rather than to health occupation directors).


1. The superintendent’s office: HPOA s. 435(1) establishes the Office of the Superintendent of Health Profession and Occupation Oversight “as an office of the government”. This office has purposes set out in s. 435(2)(a) to (g), which include advice and recommendations to the minister; promoting awareness of and adherence to guiding principles (in HPOA s. 14); promoting consistency among regulators; superintending regulators; and publishing information and records in the public interest. The superintendent’s office consists of the superintendent, the discipline tribunal, and employees. (The HPOA defines “employee” to mean (a) an employee, agent, or volunteer; (b) a person acting under a contract; and (c) a person holding hospital privileges. Accordingly, the term may cover independent contractors.)

2. The superintendent: HPOA s. 436(2) allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e., government) to appoint the superintendent (in accordance with the Public Service Act). 

The superintendent may

  • appoint a deputy superintendent (HPOA s. 438(1));
  • appoint employees to assist the superintendent and the discipline tribunal (HPOA s. 437(1)); and
  • retain consultants, experts, specialists and other person (HPOA s. 439(1)).

The Superintendent may, by order, require regulatory colleges to pay “general administration fees” (HPOA s. 440(1)).

The Superintendent must comply with any directions made by order of the minister (HPOA s. 441).

3. For more on the discipline tribunal, see below.


4. Regulatory college: HPOA s. 342 defines “regulatory colleges” as consisting of any regulatory college established under HPOA s. 415, continuing as an amalgamated college, or continued under s. 342(2), which includes any corporation colleges established or continued under the Health Professions Act “immediately before its repeal”.

5. Registrar: HPOA s. 359(1) requires that a board appoint, among others, one employee of the regulatory college as the registrar. A registrar must appoint one deputy (HPOA s. 360(1)), and may appoint additional deputies (HPOA s. 360(2)). Deputy registrar must be “employees” (HPOA s. 360(3)). A registrar “may, on behalf of the regulatory college, employ persons…” (HPOA s. 360(4)). A registrary may retain or employ persons (officers) “to exercise the powers and perform the duties of quality assurance assessors, investigators and capacity officers…” (HPOA s. 363(1)(a)).

6. Professional standards advisors: Although the HPOA does not define this term, HPOA s. 361(1) requires that a board seek the advice of “professional standards advisors” (with specific, minimum qualifications) for purposes of making bylaws respecting “eligibility standards, ethics standards and practice standards”.


7. Licence committee: A regulatory college establishes a licence committee to direct the college’s licence program. Respecting this and other committee, a college must make bylaws respecting the composition and the processes of its committees and their panels (under HPOA s. 357).

8. Permit committee: A regulatory college establishes a permit committee to direct the college’s health profession corporation permit program. The HPOA addresses such permits under Part 3, Division 4 (see HPOA ss. 56-66).


The HPOA does not provide for a quality assurance committee. However, the HPOA addresses Quality Assurance Programs under Part 3, Division 8 (see HPOA s. 97-105). Such a program has two purposes:

  • “to assist individual licensees to improve their own professional performance” (HPOA s. 98(1)(a)); and
  • “to identify issues of professional performance found across multiple licensees or within a class of licensees and recommend measures that may be taken to remedy those issues” (HPOA s. 98(1)(b)).

9.  Quality assurance assessor: A regulatory college may retain or employ a person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of a quality assurance assessor, which means conducting quality assurance assessments with respect to the practice of a designated health profession for which the assessor holds a licence to practice (HPOA s. 363(5)).

A quality assurance assessment may involve a licensee self-assessment; an assessor observing a licensee’s practice; an assessor inspecting a licensee’s records; and or other actions authorized under regulations or bylaws (HPOA s. 99(2)). 

A quality assurance assessor is one kind of quality assurance officer, which is a term that also includes (under HPOA s. 1), anyone in a class of persons who, under a bylaw, is “authorized to obtain or disclose information with respect to a quality assurance program or a quality assurance assessment….”


10. Investigation committee: A regulatory college establishes an investigation committee to direct the college’s investigation program. The investigation committee receives complaints and related information (HPOA s. 123 and s. 153); may initiate investigations without a complaint (HPOA s. 124); must investigate and assess matters (see HPOA ss. 125-136); may direct a summary protection order (HPOA s. 126(c)); may request that the director of discipline issue a citation (HPOA s. 137), and may settle a matter for which it has requested a citation, subject to the approval of the director of discipline (HPOA s. 139).

11. Investigator: The college may retain or employ a person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of an investigator (under HPOA s. 363, in the case of an investigation of a licensee).

12. Capacity officer: The college may retain or employ a person (who must hold a licence to practice a designated health profession) to exercise the powers and perform the duties of a capacity officer, which means conducting capacity evaluations that may extend to licensees who practice different designated health professions (under HPOA s. 363(7)). The HPOA addresses capacity evaluations in Part 3, Division 13 (HPOA ss. 140-151).


13. Director of discipline: The Minister may appoint a director of discipline, who is responsible for managing the discipline tribunal (under HPOA s. 444). The director must be a current or former member of a law society in Canada.

14. Discipline tribunal: The superintendent’s office may establish a discipline committee, which includes the director of discipline, and discipline panel members.

15. Discipline panel: The superintendent’s office must appoint a discipline panel to conduct a discipline hearing (under HPOA s. 169).

Lisa C. Fong, K.C. and Michael Ng