Employers—What You Need to Know

Physiotherapists have obligations under the law to practice safely and ethically, as do their employers.

Below is information that employers may find useful as it outlines the expectations of the physiotherapy profession and the related laws and legislation. As an employer, it is important that you support the physiotherapists and other health care workers who you employ in meeting these rules and expectations. 

We encourage you to get in touch if you have additional questions or want to further discuss anything outlined below.

Contact the Practice Advisor at practiceadvice@collegept.org or 647-484-8400 or 1-800-583-5885.

The Public Register

This is where you, as an employer, should always go before hiring a physiotherapist. Confirm the person is registered with the College and access information about the person’s conduct history and other information of interest.

Verify a Person on the Public Register

Do Not Hire a Person Who is Not Registered as a Physiotherapist

If you do not find the person you are looking for on the Public Register, you should contact the College. See a list of people who have used the title Physiotherapist, Physical Therapist or PT in the past who were not entitled. This is often referred to as “holding out”. See list here: Unregulated Practitioners / Holding Out Also, see a list of physiotherapists who have been involved in a Discipline Hearing and may or may not be entitled to practice physiotherapy in Ontario.

Complete List of Discipline Hearings and the Decisions

The Accountabilities of a Physiotherapist

Regulated healthcare professionals have a list of obligations they must meet as part of a self-regulated professional. As their employer, it may be useful to better understand all of the things physiotherapists are required to complete and participate. They have obligations to have a certain amount of liability insurance, to complete a renewal process annually, keep an updated professional portfolio and complete an annual online questionnaire called PISA for example.

View a list of PT Accountabilities

The Rules and Standards

To stay registered with the College, physiotherapists must follow and meet the expectation of a number of rules (often called Standards). These rules cover things related to fees, billing and accounts, infection control, boundaries and sexual abuse, working with physiotherapist assistants, advertising, conflict of interest, privacy and confidentially, starting and leaving a practice and more.

See a Complete List of the Rules

Physiotherapist Information Advisor

The College has physiotherapists on staff whose job it is to answer questions, offer advice and direct people to the best resources. You can contact our Advisor for free and anonymous advice about any question you might have about the rules and laws PTs must follow or to better understand requirements around mandatory reports, privacy and confidentiality around records or anything else that might come up. Don’t hesitate to make use of this service.

Contact the Physiotherapy Information Advisor

Reporting Obligations for Physiotherapists & Employers

As regulated health professionals, physiotherapists, and those who employ or work with them, have obligations to report certain information to their own College or to other Colleges. Mandatory Reporting is one of the ways in which the College helps protect the public. It ensures that the College becomes aware of and can investigate incidents of possible professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of physiotherapists.  

Learn more about Mandatory Reporting or make a report

Controlled Acts–Activities PTs May Only Perform if Trained, Competent & Rostered

Rostering for a controlled act is the process where physiotherapists add their names to a list indicating they have the required training, education and experience to safely perform the higher risk activity. It is requirement for any physiotherapists performing or delegating these activities (not all can be delegated). If a PT in your practice setting is doing or delegating certain activities, there is a rule that requires they be “rostered”. These activities include:  tracheal suctioning, spinal manipulation, acupuncture (including dry needling), treating a wound below the dermis, assessing or rehabilitating pelvic musculature, administering a substance by inhalation, working with physiotherapist assistants.

Learn about Rostering

Working with Physiotherapist Assistants

Many practice settings involve physiotherapists working physiotherapist assistants to provide patient care. This is an acceptable practice but there are always additional elements of risk when involving others in patient care. As a result, the College has a Working with Physiotherapist Assistants Standard to set the expectations and supporting materials to answer questions. If your practice setting includes assistants, take time to become familiar with the rule and common questions.

Find information on PTs working with physiotherapist assistants

Registering with the College 

There are different types of certificates of registration a physiotherapist may hold. If the person is a new to physiotherapy and has not yet successfully completed the Physiotherapy Competency Exam—Clinical, they may be practicing under a Provisional Practice Certificate. This requires that they have an accountable Supervisor. They could also be practicing under an Independent Practice Certificate, a Courtesy Certificate or an Extended Practice Certificate.

Get familiar with the College’s process for registering to practice

Physiotherapist Requirement to Undergo Practice Assessment

Physiotherapists, like other regulated healthcare providers, are required by law (the Regulated Health Professions Act) to participate in a quality assurance program. These specific activities vary between professions, but they are founded in the same principles. If a physiotherapist working in your facility is selected, they are required by law to participate and as their employer, you need to support them in completing these regulatory requirement. Practice assessments are an opportunity to review one’s practice and make improvements. They take about 3 to 4 hours to complete and must take place in the PTs workplace.  

Learn more about the Practice Assessment Process

Stay Updated—Receive the College’s Monthly Communication

Sign up to receive our e-newsletter Perspectives. Find out what rules physiotherapists are required to follow, when they change, when new ones are added. Get information specific to employers and access to free resources (webinars, videos, e-learning and more).

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Helpful Links
Preventing Sexual Harassment at Work: Ontario Human Rights Commission Webinar 
Free Online Workplace Integration Courses employers, supervisors and HR professionals