Self Regulation and the Role of the College
The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario is the regulator for the profession of physiotherapy. The College regulates and ensures the ongoing improvement of the practice of physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, to protect and serve the public interest.This means the College protects patients’ rights to safe, competent and ethical care by supporting physiotherapists to maintain the standards of practice of the profession and by holding them accountable for their conduct and practice.
Self regulation for a profession means two things. One: physiotherapists are involved in determining the rules that govern the profession (i.e. they are members of Council), and two: physiotherapists are accountable for their own behaviour (i.e. they are accountable to self-regulate) with the College providing assistance and oversight.
The work of a College is directed by a Council (similar to a Board of Directors) whose job it is to represent the interests of the public (i.e. the patients who seek physiotherapy services). The Council is made up of physiotherapists (who have been elected by their peers), academic representatives (from the universities in Ontario who provide entry level education programs) and members of the public (who have been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario). It is the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA)
that gives the College its mandate to regulate the practice of physiotherapists and gives health-care consumers a strong voice in the regulation of physiotherapists by requiring an equitable balance of public appointees and elected professionals on the College Council.
Watch the Video of John Spirou, College President
Access the College's Strategic Plan
Innovative Regulatory Leadership Promoting a Healthier Ontario
To protect and serve the public interest by promoting collaboration and accountability for self regulation and enabling a culture of continuous improvement to ensure that physiotherapists provide competent and ethical services.
College Program Areas
Registration/Entry to Practice
Prior to registration with the College, the Entry to Practice Program ensures that there has been an assessment of an individual’s qualifications in the following areas:
- education (credentials)
- competence (successful completion of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam)
- communication (English or French proficiency)
- good character
- knowledge of laws, ethics and standards (jurisprudence module)
- accountability/responsibility (liability insurance)
This assessment assures the public that only qualified and competent individuals become registered with the College, permitting them to use the title physiotherapist or physical therapist.
The Entry to Practice Program maintains a list of individuals registered with the College in what is known as the public register. The public register includes information that colleges must collect and make publicly available. The public register includes information such as name, registration number, contact information, practice information, conduct information etc.
The Entry to Practice Program also provides information for physiotherapists regarding: how to register with the College in Ontario; considerations when relocating to Ontario; demonstrating knowledge of local jurisprudence and applying for professional incorporation.
The practice advisory service ensures that physiotherapists and the public have access to a knowledgeable person with whom to discuss practice situations. The practice advisor assists callers in clarifying issues, identifies other factors to consider, and facilitates access to appropriate resources for self-directed learning. Some of the resources available include: the standards for professional practice, practice scenarios and checklists, online learning modules and frequently asked questions. While the service is confidential, aggregate information is used to identify emerging trends and guide resource development.
The practice advisory service assures the public that physiotherapists have access to practice support and assistance when needed, and that the College has a mechanism to monitor and address practice trends.
The mandate of the Quality Management Program is to assure quality practice and promote continuing competence. The Quality Management Program achieves this by performing three main activities:
- assist physiotherapists to maintain their ongoing competence (professional portfolio, self/practice reflection, education sessions),
- measure the success of physiotherapists in maintaining ongoing competence (onsite assessment program), and
- report publicly (annual report) the results of the onsite assessment process
These functions assure ongoing public confidence regarding the quality practice of physiotherapists in Ontario.
The Quality Management Program consists of three components - Practice Reflection (all physiotherapists), Practice Assessment (5% of registrants per year) and Practice Enhancement (as needed) - each of which include ongoing program evaluation activities. Tools and supports are available for each component and there are a variety of other College resources (education sessions, practice advice, newsletter articles, standards and guides, online learning modules etc) designed to facilitate ongoing competence.
An important aspect of accountability is to ensure that there is a mechanism to address concerns or complaints about a registered individual. The Professional Conduct Program is responsible for the following activities:
- ensuring that there is a fair and transparent process to respond to concerns and complaints made against physiotherapists
- disciplining physiotherapists appropriately after a hearing (conducted before a jury of peers and members of the public)
- ensuring that there is a mechanism for learning, growth, and improvement (of physiotherapists) and awareness (of the public) by summarizing and reporting publicly the results of discipline findings
These activities inspire public confidence regarding the accountability of profession. The Professional Conduct Program provides a variety of resources with regards to understanding the complaints and discipline process, mandatory reporting requirements, upcoming hearings, discipline decisions, fitness to practice and holding out
The College Council of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario is the governing body for physiotherapists Ontario. Council is responsible for making decisions that best serve the public interest and improve the quality of physiotherapists' care in the province.