About the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario protects the public by ensuring that physiotherapists are delivering safe, high-quality and ethical care.  

What is the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

When you see a physiotherapist, you can expect to receive safe, quality care from a qualified health professional who is registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario – the body that regulates physiotherapists in Ontario. The College sets rules and develops programs to ensure that members of the physiotherapy profession practice in the best interest of the public. The College’s authority comes from the Physiotherapy Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

There are more than 11,000 physiotherapists in Ontario. Many health professionals provide services similar to those offered by physiotherapists, but only those who are registered with the College may use the titles: physiotherapist, physical therapist or PT.

The College is not a school or educational facility. It exists to protect the patients and the public. 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.

What is Public Protection?

The College protects the public by:

  • Setting requirements for entry into the profession so that only qualified individuals can practice.
  • Maintaining an online list of individuals qualified to practice physiotherapy, called a Public Register.
  • Developing rules and standards for physiotherapists' practice and conduct, including a code of ethics.
  • Investigating concerns and complaints from anyone about physiotherapists’ practice and disciplining when necessary.
  • Requiring physiotherapists to participate in a quality assurance program to ensure they maintain current knowledge and skills.

Legislation and regulations are in place to protect the public interest.

Here are some examples: 

Consent: Consent is required for all treatment provided by health practitioners, except when treatment is provided in an emergency situation.   

Privacy and Your Health Records: Professional misconduct regulations forbid physiotherapists from giving out your information to anyone but you or someone authorized to represent you. You must consent to the release of your information, unless it is required or allowed by law.   

Complaints Process: The public, including patients, have the right to file a complaint with the College if they have concerns about the care they received from a physiotherapist or the actions or conduct of a physiotherapist. 

Mandatory Reporting: Regulated health care providers and employers of regulated health care providers have a legal obligation to file a report with the College or other organizations in certain circumstances. These obligations relate to sexual abuse of patients, employee termination or resignation and child abuse to name a few. 

What is a Regulatory College

As one of 26 self-regulated health professions in Ontario, physiotherapists are involved in determining the rules that govern the profession and are accountable for their own behaviour, with the College providing assistance and oversight. 

The College is governed by a Council, similar to a board of directors. Council is made up of:

  • members of the public (appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario)
  • physiotherapists (elected by their peers)
  • academic representatives (teachers and researchers)

Council sets the College’s strategic direction and develops policies and standards to ensure the College is meeting its mandate to protect the public.

What is Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is a partnership between the College and registered physiotherapists. The College and registered physiotherapists share responsibility and accountability to self-regulate. Self-regulation is based on the premise that those within the profession are in the best position to determine, evaluate and enforce the standards of practice of the profession and the College acts as a steward. If either the profession or the College loses the trust of the public or the government, this privilege can be taken away.

Partnerships and Collaboration

The College values its many important partnerships and opportunities to collaborate within the healthcare and regulatory space.

Key partnerships include:

Vision and Mission Statement

Inspiring public confidence in the physiotherapy profession.

To protect the public interest by ensuring physiotherapists provide competent, safe, and ethical care.

Zero Tolerance Statement

The public interest depends on the integrity of the profession. Protecting the integrity of the profession demands zero tolerance of inappropriate business practices.

Commitment to Transparency

The College is highly committed to sharing information with members, the public and other stakeholder. Information sharing helps achieve goals, provides a foundation for effective and informed decision making, enhances practice, facilitates competence and demonstrates accountability. When developing new resources, the College consults widely and asks for input from a variety stakeholders.