Easy to Say, Hard to Do

Canadian regulators are increasingly moving from dual mandates to single mandate organizations: https://nurses.ab.ca/docs/default-source/latestnews/governance-review-findings-report.pdf?sfvrsn=867323df_2. However, distinguishing which activities fall within the public interest regulatory mandate and which fall within the advocacy / practitioner support mandate is not easy.

Take the example of whether regulators should actively address preventative health measures for practitioners, particularly those related to substance use and mental illness. One prominent observer, Harry Cayton, argues that wellness initiatives are not part of the mandate of regulators; they should be done by professional associations: https://sml-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/cayton-report-college-of-dental-surgeons-2018.pdf at page 58.

However, many regulators are continuing (or expanding) their involvement in wellness initiatives: http://www.cno.org/en/trending-topics/nurses-health-program/. Recently Australian regulators affirmed and expanded their commitment to such initiatives: https://ajp.com.au/news/funding-boost-for-support-service/.

Those in favour of the regulator’s role in wellness programs argue that such initiatives, if properly framed, protect the public by preventing harm to clients and others that can result from an unrecognized, concealed or untreated health condition. Such initiatives can enhance high quality practice. They also avoid expensive and slow reactive measures such as incapacity proceedings.

This debate over regulators’ mandate on wellness matters is just one example of the separating mandates debate.

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