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Regulatory philosophy

updated April 2022

BCCNM seeks to ensure unshakeable confidence in nursing and midwifery care and protect the public by regulating nurses and midwives to ensure they provide care that is safe, competent, ethical, and meets the standards that the college sets.

Our legal mandate and evolving regulatory trends and theories underpin but do not alone determine our regulatory philosophy.

The following principles reflect our regulatory values about how we regulate to protect the public to optimize our impact. They define the essence of our character, providing the lens through which our staff, committees, and board approach the design, delivery, and evaluation of our regulatory programs, tools, processes, and policies.

Our regulatory prin​​ciples


We believe in preventing harms to patients and the public whenever possible. We seek to reduce harm by being proactive and preventive. To do this, we implement tools and systems to anticipate, assess, and measure risk. When harms occur, we respond and offer registrants help with compliance or, if needed, take further measures.


We believe in upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by understanding and upholding those rights, recognizing the impacts of settler colonialism, practising cultural safety and humility, addressing Indigenous-specific racism, and creating regulatory pathways for Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

We believe in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the regulation of health professionals, which means being person and family-centred in our approach and customizing our work to meet people where they are. We aim to identify, remove, and prevent systemic inequalities for all people.


We believe in the Right-Touch approach of using the minimum regulatory force needed to achieve the desired results. We use the Right-Touch principles of being proportionate, agile, targeted, consistent, accountable, and transparent. We apply Right-Touch within a complex system, by bringing deep knowledge, skill, ability, self-reflection, and judgement to every decision we make.


We believe in seeking, applying, and, when needed, developing information to inform our decision-making. We establish performance measures, including process and outcome measures, to evaluate our work and optimize our impact.


We believe that working within a large complex health care system, we need to collaborate with system partners, including other regulators, because it has the greatest impact in reducing harm to the public. We recognize that our regulatory actions are more effective and targeted when we purposefully engage with our partners and the public we serve.


We believe, as one of the largest health profession regulators in Canada, that we have an important leadership role in protecting the public. We recognize the environment we work within is complex and at times we need to incur risk to innovate and drive regulatory change to prevent harm.​​


Term Definition

​​Priniciples of Right-Touch Regulation1

Equity Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and needs different resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome.

The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Note: Indigenous culture-based approaches or ways of being are considered evidence.​

Just (As in Just Culture) Being fair and reasonable with a focus on identifying system factors that contribute to errors so that changes can be made to improve safety.
Philosophy A system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
Principle A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour.
Proportionate Regulators should only intervene when necessary. Remedies should be appropriate to the risks posed, and costs identified and minimized.
Consistent Rules and standards must be joined up and implemented fairly.
Targeted Regulation should be focused on the problem and minimize side effects.
Transparent Regulators should be open and keep regulations simple and user-friendly.
Accountable Regulators must be able to justify decisions and be subject to public scrutiny.
Agile Regulators must look forward and be able to adapt and anticipate change.

1Professional Standards Authority. Right-touch regulation. October 2015.​​

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

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We acknowledge the rights and title of the First Nations on whose collective unceded territories encompass the land base colonially known as British Columbia. We give specific thanks to the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking peoples the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Sníchim speaking Peoples the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), on whose unceded territories BCCNM’s office is located. We also give thanks for the medicines of these territories and recognize that laws, governance, and health systems tied to these lands and waters have existed here for over 9000 years.

We also acknowledge the unique and distinct rights, including rights to health and wellness, of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from elsewhere in Canada who now live in British Columbia. As leaders in the settler health system, we acknowledge our responsibilities to these rights under international, national, and provincial law.​