British Columbia

Chiropractors' college hires investigator after complaints about anti-vaccine posts

B.C.'s regulator for chiropractors has brought in outside help to review how it handles complaints and enforcement, following the resignation of the college’s vice chair over an anti-vaccination video he posted on Facebook.

B.C. regulator has also retained consultant to review how it handles complaints against board members

College policy forbids chiropractors from providing advice about vaccines. (Albina Glisic/Shutterstock)

B.C.'s regulator for chiropractors has brought in outside help to review how it handles complaints and enforcement, following the resignation of the college's vice chair over an anti-vaccination video he posted on Facebook.

The College of Chiropractors of B.C. has hired Mary Watterson to conduct the independent investigation promised after CBC revealed that a handful of chiropractors had violated college policy by posting anti-vaccine rhetoric on Facebook. Watterson was formerly the registrar of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Carmel Wiseman has also been hired as a consultant to review how the college deals with complaints — particularly those filed against board members — the regulator told CBC in an email. Wiseman is the former deputy registrar at the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C.

The news comes about four weeks after Avtar Jassal resigned from his position as vice chair of the college's board because of a live Facebook video suggesting that fruit smoothies are more effective than the flu shot at preventing influenza.

College policy forbids chiropractors from providing advice about immunization because they are not trained in the prevention of infectious disease.

In November, Vancouver chiropractor Avtar Jassal shared a video in which he suggested smoothies are more effective than vaccination at preventing the flu. (Facebook)

Jassal's video was one of several posts from chiropractors that were recently removed from Facebook after they were pointed out to the college and the Ministry of Health.

When Jassal stepped down from the board, the college pledged to bring in an independent investigator to look into the matter and said Jassal would be held to the same standards as any other registered chiropractor.

A member of the public first complained about Jassal's video to the B.C. government in November, along with anti-vaccination posts from two other college board members. The health ministry has said that Jassal's video was "missed" during a review of his Facebook page.

The other two board members, Parm Rai and Gil Desaulniers, were allowed to retain their positions because they responded immediately to requests to remove the posts, according to the college.

Earlier this month, the college asked all chiropractors in the province to scrub their websites and social media of anti-vaccination material and claims about unproven treatments.

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