HealthcarePapers 16(4) April 2017 : 55-59.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2017.25199

Acting in the Public Interest: The Heart of Professional Regulation

Heidi M. Oetter and Cynthia Johansen


In their article, Wilke and Tzountzouris (2017) describe the traditional and emerging approaches to professional regulation as restrictive (e.g., setting entry to practice requirements for registration), reactive (responding to complaints and where necessary restricting, suspending or revoking registration) or proactive (ensuring continuing competency and supporting registrants to adapt to changes in practice environments). They note the tension that exists with proactive approaches to regulation that can be seen as professional advocacy. We argue that by ensuring best practices in organizational governance and day-to-day regulatory operations that clearly situate the regulator to be acting solely in the public interest, regulatory colleges can manage the proactive regulatory approach and eliminate any perception of professional advocacy. This is critical for sustaining the professionally led model for health regulation that exists in Canada as it does today.



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