COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information for Physiotherapists & Others

The College is keeping a watchful eye on the evolving COVID-19 situation. The safety of patients, physiotherapists and others remains our top priority and we are relying on information from trusted sources.

We encourage you to follow direction coming from the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario.

Update: The Ontario government released a list of essential services to help Ontarians better manage the transmission of COVID-19 on March 23, 2020.

The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario does not have the legal authority to direct facilities providing patient care and private practices to close. This direction can only come from the Ontario government. Physiotherapists who work in hospitals, have been receiving direction from their employers.

To date, private practice, long-term care, retirement homes, and community care physiotherapist employers and non-physiotherapist employers have made their own decisions about whether to close their practices.

In the March 23 statement from the government (see point 58) they suggested that physiotherapists can continue to provide “emergency care.”

Even with this direction, each physiotherapist must assess whether the risk of not providing services outweighs the risks of exposing the physiotherapist, staff and/or the patient to COVID-19. If the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is greater to all, the physiotherapist cannot provide treatment until the Ontario government and Public Health Ontario advises that it is safe to resume care.

So what does this mean for physiotherapists?  

What about physiotherapists who work in private practice, long-term care facilities, retirement homes and organizations that deliver home care services?

What constitutes emergency care in a private practice setting?

Read the answers to these questions.


Contact your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario at  1-866-797-0000 if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a health care professional.

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

Resources for PTs: 

Ministry of Health dedicated website for the health workers and health employers. The site provides sector-specific guidance for the health sectors and health professionals such as those listed below.  As these documents are regularly updated, please access the following documents through the Ministry website to make sure you are viewing the most current version.

  • Guidance for Acute Care
  • Guidance for Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting
  • Guidance for Home and Community Care Providers
  • Guidance for Long Term Care
  • COVID-19 Screening Checklist
  • Guidance for Independent Health Facilities
Free Online Resources and Courses for Physiotherapists:

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy and Physiopedia have released free online resources and courses for physiotherapists. 
Also helpful: 

Health sector organizations can call the Healthcare Provider Hotline for policy guidance related to COVID-19, urgent situations and information on Ministry programs: 1-866-212-2272 (toll free). Please be aware, the Hotline is unable to provide clinical advice regarding the management of cases.

Resources for the Public: 

Resources for Employers: 

Resources for Insurers

Looking for Information?

If you have questions about the College’s Infection Control and Equipment Maintenance Standard or need assistance to locate information or resources on the Public Health Ontario or Ministry websites, contact the Practice Advice team and they will do their best to assist you. Call 1-800-583-5885 ext.241 or email