British Columbia’s regulatory body for nurses and midwives has dropped a charge against a nurse that accused her of making “medically inaccurate” statements in her advocacy for sex-based rights.
In November 2020, the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) began investigating Amy Hamm, a registered nurse in Vancouver, following public complaints about her “gender critical” opinions and comments.
The BCCNM Inquiry Committee referred Hamm to its Disciplinary Committee, and in a charge served on April 1, it alleged that she was spreading “discriminatory” and “medically inaccurate” information on online platforms, including podcasts, videos, published writings, and social media.
The charge, also known as a citation, said Hamm had “made discriminatory and derogatory statements regarding transgender people, some of which statements included medically inaccurate information, while identifying yourself as a nurse or nurse educator.”
“We were surprised to learn that the College intended to argue about whether Ms. Hamm’s statements constituted medically inaccurate information. It appears they have since thought the better of it,” Lawyer Lisa Bildy told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
Bildy was retained by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) to handle the case and is providing pro bono legal assistance to Hamm.
ChargeThe charge against Hamm came after her involvement in erecting an “I [love] JK Rowling” billboard displayed in Vancouver, endorsing the British best-selling author’s support for sex-based rights, according to a July 4 news release from JCCF.
“Gender critical feminists typically argue that while transgender individuals have the right to live their lives with dignity and without harassment, self-identifying as transgender does not equate to literally changing sex,” said the JCCF statement.
College RespondsWhen asked to comment on Hamm’s case, BCCNM spokesperson Johanna Ward told The Epoch Times that a nurse’s actions outside of work “have the potential to negatively impact both the public’s perception of them and trust in the nursing profession,” and that behaviours considered “unprofessional conduct” under the Health Professions Act fall under BCCNM’s purview.
“BCCNM recognizes that it’s not appropriate to regulate and discipline all conduct that occurs when a nurse is off duty,” Ward said. “However, when there is a link between a nurse’s off-duty conduct and the profession that demonstrates a sufficiently negative impact on the profession or the public interest, we can and will take action.”
“BCCNM, regulating in the public interest, recognizes that all British Columbians should feel safe when interacting with registrants of the College. The College takes all allegations of discriminatory comments or conduct against any group seriously.”
When asked for the criteria used to determine whether a nurse’s off-duty behaviour has a “sufficiently negative impact” on their work and image, the BCCNM said that it wouldn’t comment further as the disciplinary hearings are ongoing.
‘Important Precedent’In a series of Twitter posts on July 4, Hamm expressed optimism about the change to her charge, saying that she will “never give in or give up” in the fight against it.
“Finally a bit of good news about my upcoming hearing. I’m still in the thick of it, but it feels vindicating to have the @BCnursemidwife stop falsely & publicly accusing me of spreading medical misinformation,” she wrote in a tweet. “Truth is not hateful!”
JCCF said it is concerned that regulatory bodies across Canada are “increasingly policing the speech of professionals” with threats of disciplinary action.
Hamm’s case will “set an important precedent” for regulating professionals who engage in the public policy debates, Bildy said in the JCCF news release.
“The College is tasked with keeping patients safe and regulating the profession in the public interest. Their job is not to give social justice activists a tool for ‘cancelling’ people with whom they do not agree or who have opinions outside of a narrow orthodoxy,” she said.
“Professional governing bodies are created by statute and are therefore subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of speech, thought, belief, opinion and expression are Charter rights belonging to all people, even health professionals.”