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Terms of Reference


The purpose of the British Columbia Patient Safety & Quality Council is to provide advice and make recommendations to the Minister of Health Services on matters related to patient safety and quality of care in all health care sectors, and to bring health system stakeholders together in a collaborative partnership to promote and inform a provincially-coordinated, innovative, and person-centred approach to patient safety and quality improvement in British Columbia.


Within the context of the strategic goals of the health system for British Columbia, the Council will:

  • Bring a provincial perspective to patient safety and quality improvement activities;
  • Facilitate the building of capability and expertise for patient safety and quality improvement in the BC health system;
  • Support health authorities and other service delivery partners in their continuing efforts to improve quality; and,
  • Improve health system transparency and accountability to patients and the public for the safety and quality of care provided in British Columbia.

Key Roles & Responsibilities

The Council will work to meet the above noted objectives through activities in the following areas:

System-wide Leadership and Coordination

  • Provide advice and make recommendations to the Minister of Health Services with respect to transformational change to facilitate improvements in the quality of care in British Columbia;
  • Lead and coordinate development and implementation of province-wide safety and quality initiatives, guidelines, protocols and practice changes known to improve health outcomes for patients and clients served by all health care sectors;
  • Form networks, sub-committees and working groups, and commission other activities as necessary in response to emerging safety and quality issues in BC, including issues which may periodically be referred to the Council by theMinister of Health Services or health authorities;

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Assist the Ministry of Health Services in the development of performance indicators related to patient safety and quality improvement;
  • Foster the development of processes and techniques to define, measure, implement and sustain optimal practice for the BC health care system;

Legislation and Regulation

  • Provide advice regarding health care legislation and regulation to promote and advance a provincial patient safety and quality improvement agenda;

Education and Professional Development

  • Promote improvement in the safety and quality of care through training and education and develop programs and activities for this purpose;
  • Support and inform the work of the Academic Chair for Patient Safety at the University of British Columbia, as well as conduct and commission research in safety and quality to support Council initiatives;

Information and Communication

  • Engage and inform the public as active participants in their own care and develop programs and activities for this purpose; and,
  • Develop mechanisms to improve health system transparency and accountability to patients for the safety and quality of care in British Columbia.

Composition of the Council

The Council will consist of a Chair and four members, as well as two ex-officio members: a Ministry of Health Services representative and the UBC Academic Chair for Patient Safety. The Chair and members are selected for their personal credibility, expertise and experience as it relates to patient safety and quality improvement. Collectively the Council will reflect the following qualities:

  • Extensive and recent clinical experience;
  • Expertise in patient safety, quality improvement and clinical risk management in the health care system;
  • Knowledge of best practice and implementation of innovation in the health care system;
  • Knowledge of health services research, measurement and evaluation;
  • Knowledge of clinical epidemiology; and,
  • Significant experience at a senior executive level within government and/or the health care system in British Columbia.

The Minister shall appoint one member to the position of Patient Safety & Quality Officer. This individual will serve as Chair of the Council and will assume full responsibility for the management of Council operations, and will be accountable in this role to the Minister through the Deputy Minister (or delegate thereof). All other Council members shall be appointed by the Minister on the advice of the Patient Safety & Quality Officer.

Council will select a Vice-Chair from its membership. Where the Chair is absent or unable to act, or the office of Chair is vacant, the Vice-Chair will serve temporarily as Chair and may exercise all the powers and shall perform all the duties of this role.

Responsibilities to the Minister

The Council receives its mandate from and is ultimately accountable to the Minister of Health Services for the manner in which it carries out its affairs.

The Council shall prepare and submit for the approval of the Minister a multi-year strategic plan to support the health system goals, an annual work plan for each fiscal year, and any other plans, reports, returns or records that the Minister requests, and provide any other information to the Minister upon request.

The Patient Safety & Quality Officer shall report quarterly to the Minister on the work of the Council, or more or less frequently as requested.

If the Minister is not satisfied that the Council has undertaken work in accordance with the approved work plan or any other direction, the Council shall take such action as directed by the Minister to rectify this situation.

Notwithstanding these requirements, the Deputy Minister or delegate will serve as the key point of contact between the Minister and Council with respect to day to day issues and activities.


The Patient Safety and Quality Officer shall be paid remuneration for his or her services on behalf of the Council in an amount determined by the Deputy Minister. Subject to prior approval of the Council, the Patient Safety and Quality Officer may appoint officers and employees and engage and retain specialists and consultants considered necessary to carry out the duties and functions of the Council and may determine their remuneration, which will be paid from the Council’s allocated funding.

Information and Communication

(a) Meetings of the Council
The timing and frequency of meetings will be determined by the tasks the Council is required to fulfill and as part of its work plan approved by the Minister. All meetings of the Council will be convened by the Patient Safety and Quality Officer (or Vice-Chair) as appropriate. Meetings will be held in Vancouver unless the Chair decides otherwise.
Networks, working groups and sub-committees associated with the Council will determine amongst their membership the appropriate timing, frequency and location of meetings.

(b) Remuneration of Members
Members of the Council are entitled to be paid fees (comparable to those for similar organizations) for attendance at meetings of both the Council and its sub-groups. The Patient Safety and Quality Officer, and any members who are also employees of the Ministry of Health, are not entitled to attendance fees.
Actual and reasonable expenses for activities required by the Council of its members (e.g., travel, accommodation and meals) will be met from the Council’s budget provided prior approval is received. Members who are also employees of the Ministry of Health are not entitled to coverage of expenses by the Council.

(c) Decision Making
Council members should strive to achieve consensus in making decisions. Where this is not possible the Patient Safety and Quality Officer shall seek the advice of the Minister, Deputy Minister or delegate thereof.

(d) Documentation of Meeting Outcomes
The Council is required to keep a record of all meetings, which outlines the matters discussed and includes a clear note of all decisions taken or recommendations made. The Council will submit these minutes to the Deputy Minister within a reasonable time period following all meetings.