RICHMOND (February 18, 2021) – BC Liberal MLAs Teresa Wat and Coralee Oakes are asking John Horgan and the NDP why they have failed to respond to calls by B.C.’s Chinese communities to continue the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) exam in the traditional languages of Simplified and Traditional Chinese.
“We have received numerous letters, calls, and emails saying that this change in language availability for the exam will severely impede many Chinese Canadians from pursuing a career in the field,” said Wat, Opposition Critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture and MLA for Richmond North Centre. “My colleague MLA Oakes and I have both written to Minister Anne Kang asking her to take action on behalf of our Chinese communities, yet there has been no movement on the issue.”
Concerns were raised to MLAs following an announcement by the Canadian Alliance of Regulatory Bodies of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists’ (CARB-TCMPA) — which serves as the regulatory body for TCM in Canada — that October 2021 would be the last month they would administer TCM exams in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. More than half of the 2,000 registered practitioners in Canada have cited Chinese as their native language.
“This decision will not only have a negative impact on TCM as a medical practice, but as a cultural practice as well,” added Wat. “TCM has been passed down through generations and is a staple of Chinese culture within our communities. It is an important issue that should not be ignored by government.”
“Also troubling is the fact that students were not consulted as part of the decision-making process– and now their career aspirations may now seem out of reach,” added Oakes, Opposition Critic for Advanced Education and MLA for Cariboo North. “Government should be supporting the next generation of practitioners, instead of making it harder for them to get into the field and share their knowledge and skills with future patients.”
Wat and Oakes are urging the NDP to take steps to ensure that British Columbians wishing to pursue a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine have the freedom to study and practice it in the language that has been in use in TCM exams for more than two decades.