British Columbia

Investigation launched over misleading claims from board member at B.C. chiropractors' college

A board member of the College of Chiropractors of B.C. is facing an investigation over numerous misleading and dubious claims that were posted to her clinic's Facebook page.

Linda Gordon's clinic posted content on Facebook about treating ADHD and 'boosting' immunity

Linda Gordon is a chiropractor in Surrey, B.C., and a member of the board of the College of Chiropractors. (College of Chiropractors of B.C.)

A board member of the College of Chiropractors of B.C. is facing an investigation over numerous misleading and dubious claims that were posted to her clinic's Facebook page.

Last week, a member of the public sent links and screenshots of several questionable posts from the page of Linda Gordon's Surrey clinic to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan, asking for the provincial government to step in.

"It is clear that the College of Chiropractors can't regulate the profession or its board members. This is a total failure of the college. I ask again for the ministry to intervene to protect the public," reads the email, which was shared with CBC.

The posts on the North Surrey Chiropractic Clinic's Facebook page included scientifically unsupported claims that chiropractic adjustments can treat ear infections and ADHD, and "boost the effectiveness of your immune system" against colds and the flu.

The health ministry told CBC it does not have the authority to intervene in complaints about individual chiropractors, but the college says it's taking action.

"As you know, we take these issues very seriously. We were not aware of the matter and are now investigating," college registrar Michelle Da Roza wrote in an email.

Gordon was elected to the college board in 2019 to serve a two-year term.

She did not respond to a request for comment, nor did either of the other chiropractors who work at North Surrey Chiropractor Clinic — David Wasylynko and Jasleen Gill.

A sample post from chiropractor Linda Gordon's Facebook clinic suggests chiropractic treatment can 'boost' the immune system against infectious disease. (North Surrey Chiropractic Clinic)

College policy on misleading and unsubstantiated claims specifically forbids chiropractors from advertising that they can treat infections or ADHD, among numerous other conditions. Chiropractors aren't trained in treating infectious disease, and they were reminded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that any claims about "boosting" immunity are offside.

Since the complaint was made to the provincial government last week, the clinic's entire Facebook page appears to have been disabled.

As part of a 2018 drive to clean up chiropractors' advertising, the college developed a piece of software that can analyze chiropractors' web pages and social media to identify offside claims.

"Generally speaking, our marketing review tool is helpful in picking up advertising that is not compliant with our guidelines. Occasionally, the technology does not catch something — which happened in this case," Da Roza said.

Previous issues with college board members

This isn't the first time the college has had to confront the issue of board members posting prohibited content on Facebook.

In 2018, college vice-chair Avtar Jassal resigned from his post after CBC reported on an anti-vaccination video he'd created and posted on Facebook, in violation of college policy on immunization.

A Freedom of Information request later revealed that the B.C. Chiropractic Association, a voluntary professional organization, had repeatedly complained about anti-vaccination misinformation being spread by Jassal as well as two other former members of the college board, Parm Rai and Gil Desaulniers.

The college has said it has improved its process for handling complaints about marketing and communication issues since concerns were raised about those three former board members.

The chiropractors' college is expected to be folded into a new college of complementary and alternative health care along with naturopaths, massage therapists, acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners as B.C. moves ahead with plans to reform its regulatory system.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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