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What changes came into effect on September 1, 2011 as a result of amendments to the Physiotherapy Act?

On September 1, 2011 a number of changes to the Physiotherapy Act came into effect. These amendments:

  • Updated the scope of practice of physiotherapy. The new statement adds the component of diagnosis of physical dysfunction and it is restructured to emphasize a systems approach, and
  • Added a number of new authorized acts to the ones that physiotherapists/physical therapists were already allowed to perform.

In addition to the new authorized acts in the Physiotherapy Act, there are also some other new authorized activities that are in the process of being granted to physiotherapists/physical therapists through changes in other laws.

Physiotherapists/physical therapists should also note that The Standard of Professional Practice: Performance of Authorized Activities has now replaced the previous Standard of Professional Practice: Controlled Acts.

What are the new authorized activities that have been granted or are in the process of being granted to physiotherapists/physical therapists?

The new activities include:

  • communicating a diagnosis
  • treating a wound below the dermis
  • assessing or rehabilitating pelvic musculature
  • administering a substance by inhalation
  • ordering a prescribed form of energy (e.g. diagnostic ultrasound or MRI) (in process)
  • ordering diagnostics (e.g. x-rays or CAT scans) (in process)
  • ordering specified laboratory tests (in process)

What authorized activities can physiotherapists/physical therapists perform now?

As of February 2012, the time of writing, physiotherapists/physical therapists can perform the following kinds of authorized activities:

Authorized activities that are entry level competencies for all physiotherapists/physical therapists and which physiotherapists/physical therapists can perform without having to enter on a roster:

  • Communicating a diagnosis

Authorized activities that as of March 31, 2012, physiotherapists/physical therapists will have to enter themselves on a roster to perform or continue to perform:

  • Spinal Manipulation
  • Tracheal Suctioning
  • Acupuncture
  • Treating Wounds below the dermis
  • Assessing or Rehabilitating pelvic musculature
  • Administering a substance by inhalation (when the substance has been ordered by an authorized person)

What is the difference between a controlled act and an authorized activity?

Authorized activities include all legally restricted health care activities that may only be performed by people who have the appropriate legal authority. Controlled acts are a subset of authorized activities specific to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). Other authorized activities are restricted under different laws such as the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act (HARP) and Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act (LSCCLA) and their regulations.

What is a roster and how and when do I get on the roster?

A roster is a list of physiotherapists/physical therapists who are allowed to perform a specific authorized activity under their own independent authority. These lists are managed by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Registrants are required to add their names to the roster (list) for each of the authorized activities they plan to perform. Some physiotherapists/physical therapists will choose not to perform authorized activities and will not need to add their names to any roster with the College.

Part of the application process requires a signed legal declaration stating the individual is competent to perform the authorized activity. Information on the rosters is accessible on the public register. There are no additional fees for getting on a roster. Online rostering has been available since February 1, 2012.

If you perform any of the authorized activities for which rostering is required, you must be on the appropriate College roster by March 31, 2012 unless you plan to perform this activity under some alternative authority mechanism such as delegation or medical directive.