Bill 10: Prohibiting the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
March 2022 - 2 min read
On March 24, 2022, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 10, the Health Professions (Protecting Women and Girls) Amendment Act, 2022. Bill 10 amends the Health Professions Act to address female genital mutilation.
The Bill defines female genital mutilation as the excision, infibulation or mutilation of female genitalia, except where valid consent is given for a surgical or other procedure performed by a regulated health professional for the person’s physical health, normal reproductive function, or normal sexual appearance or function. Procedures with valid consent from a person at least 18 years of age and where there is no bodily harm are also exempt.
Bill 10 has the following main provisions:
- Each health regulatory College must develop Standards of Practice respecting female genital mutilation within 12 months of Bill 10 coming into force;
- Individuals who have been criminally convicted of procuring or performing female genital mutilation are ineligible for registration as regulated health professionals;
- Regulated health professionals are prohibited from procuring or performing female genital mutilation;
- Employers and regulated health professionals must report to the Complaints Director if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a regulated member of any College has procured or performed female genital mutilation;
- Regulated health professionals who are criminally convicted of procuring or performing female genital mutilation will have their registrations cancelled immediately;
- Regulated health professionals found to have procured or performed female genital mutilation by the governing body of a similar profession in another jurisdiction may also have their registrations cancelled;
- Upon receiving a complaint or information suggesting that a regulated health professional has procured or performed female genital mutilation, a College’s Complaints Director must immediately notify law enforcement;
- Information or complaints that regulated health professionals have procured or performed female genital mutilation may not be resolved informally by the Complaints Director or through alternate complaint resolution.
Much like Bill 21 amended the Health Professions Act to address sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, Bill 10 amends the Health Professions Act to create specific rules for female genital mutilation. Bill 10 will require regulators to consider the possible scope and contents of new standards of practice addressing female genital mutilation for their professions.
Implications for Regulatory Organizations
If passed in its current form, health regulatory colleges will need to develop Standards of Practice respecting female genital mutilation. It remains to be seen whether the Bill will be amended to provide guidance for these Standards similar to the guidance in Bill 21 for Standards related to sexual abuse and misconduct. Field Law will monitor Bill 10 and report on significant amendments or other developments for the professions. If you have any questions about the Bill or implications for your College, please reach out to Gregory Sim or any member of Field Law’s Professional Regulatory team.