MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.
It has been reported that, after a majority of Canadian chiropractors attending a meeting of their regulator voted to oppose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, B.C.’s health minister told a representative he was starting to doubt the wisdom of self-regulation.

On Dec. 1, the College of Chiropractors of B.C. (BCCA) held its AGM and registrants voted in favour of a non-binding resolution calling for the regulator to “take a stand” against an expected vaccine mandate for health professionals. Subsequently, Health Minister Adrian Dix then “expressed his extreme displeasure” about the remarks of some chiropractors.

“Minister Dix indicated it was an embarrassment that a health profession would in such resounding numbers … support such unfounded and false claims while people are dying from COVID-19,” said the BCCA’s executive director Angie Knott. In bold and underlined text, she added, “He also stated that it made him question the validity of self-regulation.”

During the meeting in question, 78% of those chiropractors in attendance had voted in favour of the motion. Chiropractors are not trained in treating or preventing infectious disease and are prohibited from offering advice on vaccinations in B.C.

This is not the first time health ministry officials have expressed concerns about the ability of chiropractors to adequately regulate themselves.

In my view, this story is a poignant reminder of something I have been saying often:

Even the proper regulation of quackery will merely result in quackery!

 

10 Responses to B.C.’s Health Minister expressed ‘extreme displeasure’ about chiropractors

  • I go to my family Doctor for vaccine advice, he graduated and completed a residency in medical procedures/sciences. He literally studied/practiced in his field for almost 12 years prior to being a medical doctor. He told me he got the covid vaccine and I should too. I told him I was hesitant, it is a new vaccine and when the FDA fully approves will get one. He didn’t push the issue anymore.
    Go to your medical doctor for vaccine advice, not your vehicle mechanic, sports coach or chiropractor.

  • Minister Dix made a key error, by calling chiropractic a health profession.

    • Canadians tend to be polite. Also calling it a “crazy quack fraud” could be considered slander.

      More seriously as long as it is recognized by legislation, that is probably the way a minister should refer to it, unfortunately.

  • “ A total of 173 voted in favour of the resolution — or about 13 per cent of chiropractors in B.C.”

  • For context, there have long been concerns about self-regulation of healthcare professions in British Columbia. The regulatory Colleges have been accused of placing registrants’ interests before those of public health among other things. There was a review of regulation by Harry Cayton, ex chief of the UK Professional Standards Authority. It’s very scathing.

    There was a subsequent public consultation and then a working group produced Recommendations to modernize the provincial health profession regulatory framework. Of course, these are just recommendations. Whether there is political will to legislate is another matter.

    The activities of some BC chiropractors and also naturopaths could well strengthen political resolve for reform.

  • The root of this problem is the management phenomenon known as ‘regulatory capture.’ In today’s highly technical world the regulation of many industries has been delegated from government officials and politicians to the industry they are supposed to be regulating. It’s quite understandable that elected politicians should delegate; after all, they are usually not expert in the field and governments just don’t have the resources to take all of it on.

    But the risk is, proven many times over, that the regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

    Regulatory capture is managed with good enabling legislation, internal and external audit and oversight, enforcement powers and resources, training and education. Politicians, regulators and managers might learn much from the Wikipedia page on that or the several management textbooks available from Amazon.com, such as Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit It, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Clearly, the chiropractic industry in BC is being protected by the regulator, otherwise how could a conference of chiropractors entertain such nonsense as opposing vaccine mandates? Health Minister Dix should act to clean up the industry.

    • “ Clearly, the chiropractic industry in BC is being protected by the regulator, otherwise how could a conference of chiropractors entertain such nonsense as opposing vaccine mandates? ”

      There were some chiropractors who attended the conference who opposed to being forced to undergo a medical procedure.

  • That was my first thought too

  • Regulation of alternative therapies is problematic regardless of how it is done. In the UK there is statutory regulation of chiropractors and osteopaths which in theory should provide some independence in the regulation. In practice this doesn’t happen because chiropractors and osteopaths are still used as “experts” in any case taken to the regulator. This isn’t appropriate in many cases because UK chiropractors and osteopaths are not doctors and regulatory complaints involving injury or harm should be assessed by a medical expert instead.

    Take the very sad case of John Lawler who died after chiropractic treatment. The General Chiropractic Council found the chiropractor “not guilty” and she can continue to practice without any sanctions. It is hard to see how this is fulfilling the primary regulatory duty of protecting the public: https://complementaryandalternative.wordpress.com/2021/09/06/chiropractor-in-breach-of-chiropractic-code-of-practice-but-found-not-guilty/

  • It gets worse.

    “A letter from 227 B.C. chiropractors threatens to sue the 17 board members of the College of Chiropractors of B.C. if they back a provincial order for chiropractors to get COVID-19 jabs.”

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