Frequently Answered Questions
The TCM Act, 2006 establishes the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) that will be responsible for governing the profession to ensure the public is protected and the public interest is served.
It also sets out:
- The scope of practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM);
- The controlled acts that TCM practitioners and acupuncturists are authorized to perform;
- Title protection authorizing only members of the CTCMPAO to use the titles “traditional Chinese medicine practitioner” or “acupuncturist”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language;
- The composition of the College Council after transition; and
- The Council’s authority to make regulations, including the regulation on “Doctor” title.
What is the College?
A College regulates the practice of the health profession that it is to govern according to its profession specific Act and regulations, the Health Professions Procedural Code, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, its regulations and by-laws.
Distinct from a professional or advocacy association that protects the interest of its own members, the mandate of a College is to serve and protect the public interest.
The CTCMPAO is the College that regulates the practice of traditional Chinese medicine in the public interest. It is the ONLY organization legally authorized by the Ontario government to evaluate applicants and determine who is qualified to practise traditional Chinese medicine in Ontario.
Any organization that falsely holds itself out as a body that regulates individuals in TCM practice would be liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 for a first offence and not more than $200,000 for a second or subsequent offence. This includes organizations claiming to evaluate and/or certify individuals’ for the purpose of practising TCM in Ontario.
When do I need to register as a member of the College (CTCMPAO)?
You must register with CTCMPAO when the Registration Regulation under the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006 is approved by government and comes into force (April 1, 2013). At that time, you cannot practice traditional Chinese medicine, or hold yourself out as qualified to practise traditional Chinese medicine unless you are registered as a member of CTCMPAO.
This website will post updated information on progress. Practitioners are encouraged to pay close attention to the CTCMPAO announcements on this website to prepare for eventual registration. You may also wish to contact the College from time to time by phone, email or mail.
What are the fees to register with the College for a Grandparented Certificate of Registration, General Certificate of Registration and General (Provisional) Certificate of Registration?
The application fee for registration for each class is $150 (non-refundable).
The registration fee and the annual renewal fee for a Grandparented certificate of registration for either category (R.TCMP or R.AC) is $850.
The registration fee and the annual renewal fee for a General certificate of registration for either category is $850.
The registration fee and the annual renewal fee for a General (Provisional) certificate of registration for either category is $850.
*HST will be added to all fees.
The entire Fees schedule could be found on page 33 of the College By-law.
I was a practising traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor in China before moving my practice to Canada; can I still use the “doctor” title in Ontario?
At this time, practitioners of TCM cannot use the “doctor” title, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language when providing or offering to provide health care in Ontario.
Currently, under section 33 of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), no one is allowed to use the title “doctor”, its variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language when providing or offering to provide health care in Ontario, unless he/she is a member of:
the College of Chiropractors of Ontario;
the College of Optometrists of Ontario;
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario;
the College of Psychologists of Ontario; or
the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.
A person who breaches section 33 may be prosecuted in the Provincial Offences Act Court. If the person is convicted, he/she is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 for a first offence and not more than $50,000 for a second or subsequent offence.
However, the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006, amended section 33 of the RHPA to allow certain members of the CTCMPAO to use the “doctor” title. In this regard, the Council of the CTCMPAO shall draft regulations to prescribed standards and qualifications of members who may use the “doctor” title. Until the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006 is proclaimed into force and the regulations are made, the title “doctor” cannot be used.
*To see the full text of section 33 of the RHPA, please visit:
What will happen if I do not register with CTCMPAO?
After proclamation of the Registration Regulation by the government, it will be illegal for you to communicate a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis, to perform acupuncture or practise TCM unless you are registered as a member of CTCMPAO with the appropriate certificate. Anyone found guilty could face a fine of not more than $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for subsequent offenses. One could also be imprisoned for one year, or be fined and imprisoned. These offense provisions are set out in the RHPA and are common to all regulated health professions.
Further, any person holding themselves out to be qualified to practice TCM or using the title “traditional Chinese medicine practitioner” or “acupuncturist”, a variation or abbreviation or an equivalent in another language while not being a member of CTCMPAO, or claim to be a “Doctor” of TCM while not certified by CTCMPAO, could face a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offense and up to $50,000 for subsequent offenses.
Will every CTCMPAO member be required to practise in English or French?
Reasonable fluency in English or French is important since it is necessary for communication with patients, other health care professionals, hospitals, community health institutions and to understand the laws governing the health care system in Ontario and Canada. Practitioners applying for Grandparented registration but are lacking in language fluency may submit for approval a written plan on how to communicate with patients, other health care professionals, the health care system and others that use English or French on a daily basis.
Does membership in an association mean automatic registration with CTCMPAO?
No, membership to an association will not mean automatic registration with CTCMPAO. Anyone applying for registration must meet the College’s registration requirements.
As an acupuncturist, will the Ontario Health Insurance Plan cover my services at a TCM clinic?
The regulation of a profession does not confer a duty on the government to pay for its services. Only a few of the 23 regulated health professions are funded by OHIP on a fee for service basis. Private insurance carriers may choose to cover these treatments and employers may provide benefits through extended health care plans. However, neither the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care nor the College is involved in these decisions.