Oregon licensing backup contributes to labor shortage
The Week in Brief is your weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what's happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy. In this week's news, unvaccinated health care workers could lose their licenses, Oregon faces licensing backups, and Quebec calls for mandatory vaccinations.

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A licensing backup is contributing to a labor shortage in Oregon according to ABC affiliate KEZI 9. A local salon owner says that while there is no shortage of skilled labor available, the Health Licensing Office has remained closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, slowing examination and licensing activities. 

Unvaccinated professionals working in the medical field in Washington, D.C., face the prospect of losing their licenses after Sept. 30 according to new guidelines announced last week by the DC Health Department. It says an “alarming number” of health professionals in the state are not currently vaccinated, but will allow religious and medical exemptions. The order states that a failure to comply could result in “revocation, suspension, or denial of the person’s license, registration, or certification.” 

New York State has enacted the Marijuana Revenue and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalizes cannabis use for adults within the state. As JD Supra reports, there are a number of questions yet to be answered, including appointment timing for the Cannabis Control Board’s members, what regulations will exist around the licensing and application process, and the kinds of licenses that will be available. When its five members are appointed (three by the governor, one by the state Senate, and one by the State Assembly), the board will adopt regulations so the licensing process can commence. 

The Province of Quebec has also called for the vaccination of health care workers, with Premier François Legault recently announcing a mandatory vaccination policy (CBC News). According to the provincial Ministry of Health, nearly 55,000 workers in the private and public health systems remain unvaccinated. Legault says anyone not fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 will face suspension without pay. 

Many applicants have been unable to complete the virtual clinical exams for physiotherapy certification in British Columbia as a result of ongoing examination issues, CBC reports. The Canada Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) has canceled all clinical exams set for 2021, the fourth time exams have been canceled since the onset of the pandemic. We discussed the challenges surrounding examinations during the pandemic in a recent post 

Also noteworthy: 

• The Brookings Institution looks into using AI and machine learning to reduce government fraud. 

• Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud daily talk show explores why technology is such a struggle for government agencies. 

The Economist asks if China has become a laboratory for the regulation of digital technology. 

Got a news tip? Write us at editor@ascend.thentia.com.

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Paul Leavoy
Written byPaul Leavoy
Paul Leavoy is Editor of Ascend Magazine and writes on occupational licensing, regulation, digital government, and public policy.

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