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Table of Contents

  1. About CTCMPAO
  2. Filing a Complaint
  3. Unauthorized Practice
  4. Prior Learning Assessment
  5. Renewal
  6. Standards of Practice
  7. Student Class
  8. Alignment of Renewal Year End with Fiscal Year End

About CTCMPAO

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.

No. Membership to an association will not mean automatic registration with CTCMPAO. Anyone applying for registration must meet the College's registration requirements.

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 Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (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.

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 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.

The College specifies the title and designation that each class of registered members can use in their dealings with the public and their colleagues in the health care system. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist titles, as well as the designations R. TCMP and R. Ac, are the standard for Ontario. These titles and designations are protected by law.

Only qualified practitioners who meet the requirements of the College and who practice to the professional and ethical standards of the College are authorized to use the titles, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist, and designations, R. TCMP and R.Ac, in Ontario.

We understand that numerous organizations based in Ontario, Canada and overseas provide education, training and offer certification to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. However, upon proclamation of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006, members of the College are not able to use a term, title or designation that is not authorized by the College. This includes any term, title or designation indicating or implying specialization.

Accurate descriptions of one’s additional education, training and certification can be included in one’s biography or résumé so long as they do not indicate or imply specialization. However, other than basic, legitimate educational degrees (e.g., PhD), other terms, titles or designations cannot be used after one’s name (e.g., on business cards, letterhead, promotional material or office signage).

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.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners can use the designation R. TCMP and are authorized to practice traditional Chinese medicine providing to patients a combination of therapies including TCM herbal medicine and acupuncture within the scope of traditional Chinese medicine practice; they are also entitled to use the title Acupuncturist and the designation R. Ac.

    Acupuncturists can use the designation R. Ac and are authorized to practice traditional Chinese medicine using acupuncture, including tuina, cupping and moxibustion etc., excluding TCM herbal medicine.

    Complaint Process

    Before you make a formal complaint to the College about unsatisfactory care, it is highly recommended you discuss your concerns directly with your Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. If you are unsure of the quality or appropriateness of care a patient has a right to expect from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, you can contact the College.

    A formal complaint must be sent to us in must be in writing (either by email, or by mail), on visual or audio tape, or on any other recorded formatwriting (c/o ICRC, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario, 55 Commerce Valley Drive West, Thornhill, ON L3T 7V9

    We require the following information

    • your full name;
    • a clear statement that you are submitting a complaint;
    • your mailing address and telephone contact info;
    • the full name of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist;
    • as much detail as possible about your concerns;
    • the names of other Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and/or Acupuncturists, healthcarepractitioners or persons that may have relevant information.

    You may choose to use the Complaint Form provided or provide a detailed description in writing in your own format. Once we have received a formal complaint, we will forward a letter acknowledging receipt of your formal complaint.

    While there is not typically a time limit on complaints, the College recognizes the diverse nature of complaints and maintains that certain complaints must be made within a reasonable time frame.

    The ICRC will consider your complaint. The Committee consists of three Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturists who are elected to Council and three public representatives appointed by the provincial government.

    When the College receives your complaint, a copy is forwarded to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. The Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist has 30 days to submit a written response to the College. The complainant usually has an opportunity to review the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist’s response. Your name and the nature of your complaint will be shared with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, unless there is a question of personal safety or risk involved.

    Investigation of the complaint includes written submissions from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist and any other Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturists or healthcare providers who have treated or consulted with the patient. The College may request relevant records, charts and other information from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, who has a duty to co-operate during the investigation. The Committee strives to complete the investigation and render a decision on every complaint within 150 days of having received the original complaint.

    The law governing health professions only permits the Committee to make a decision about the conduct and actions of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. The Committee cannot award compensation of any kind. Only the courts have that authority. If you are considering suing your Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist for compensation, be aware that there is a time limit for civil litigation. Your legal advisor can answer any questions that you might have about your rights to sue a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist.

    There are a number of options available to the Committee under the RHPA including:

    • Taking no further action regarding the complaint.
    • Requiring the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist to appear beforethe panel to be cautioned.
    • Referring specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence to the DisciplineCommittee.
    • Referring the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist to the Fitness toPractise Committee for Incapacity Proceedings.
    • Taking such other action that the panel considers appropriate.

    Once the panel of the ICRC reaches a decision, both you and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist will be sent a copy of the decision.

    In most cases, there is an appeal process available that provides additional protection for both the patient and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist. On request of either party, an arms-length provincial board called the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board may review the Committee's decision. The only exception to this right of review is in cases where the Committee has referred the matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing or to the Fitness to Practise Committee for Incapacity Proceedings.

    Report Unauthorized Practice Process

    There are several ways to determine if a person is a member of the College:

    1. All members of the College are listed on the Online College Registry

      If the name of the person does not appear in the Registry, the person may be practising without authorization

    2. All members of the College must prominently display his or her certificate of registration at any location where he or she practises.
    3. All members of the College must wear their College issued badge when practising the profession. It must be visible at all times

    Ideally, you would fill out an unauthorized practice reporting form” so that the College has sufficient information to investigate the matter and to contact you if it required additional information.

    Alternatively, if you do not wish to complete a form and wish to report anonymously, please call the College at 416.238.7359 and leave a detailed message as to what you saw, where you saw it, and the name of the person involved. The College can only investigate when it has sufficient information.

    The College will investigate to determine if the person is not a member of the College. If the person is not a member of the College, the College will determine the best approach in order to ensure that the person ceases practising without authorization. This could include sending a warning letter to the person and/or commencing legal proceedings against the person. Each situation will be assessed individually by the College and its solicitors.

    If you provided contact information, the College will advise you forthwith if the person is or is not a member of the College. However, due to privacy concerns, it may not always be able to share with you its plan in how it intends to address the unauthorized practising.

    If the College obtains an order against the person, it will make reasonable efforts to advise you. Please note that once the College becomes aware that a person is practising without authorization, the name of the person will be posted on the College website.

    Prior Learning Assessment

    The PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment) process is a competency-based assessment tool for Grandparented Members to demonstrate that they possess the experience and learning that meets the required Entry-Level Occupational Competencies for the Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Canada to be issued a General Certificate of registration.

    Prior learning can be acquired through formal study and/or practice experience.

    Yes. All Grandparented Class Members must successfully complete the PLAR process no later than July 1, 2017.

    You should apply immediately (or as soon as possible). It is not advisable to apply too close to the deadline date. Professional Testing requires 6 to 8 weeks to review a Case Study Assessment or an applicant’s Academic Documentation. The number of candidates who can sit the Case Study assessment at one time is limited to the seating spaces available. After successfully completing PLAR, your application for transfer to the College requires 3 to 4 weeks to process.

    No. You have to apply to the College following the steps described below:

    1. Complete and submit an application for transfer to the College. You must declare in your application that you have completed at least three (3) years of clinical experience and 1,200 TCM patient visits that occurred in addition to the experience you reported at the time you apply the Grandparented certificate.
    2. Pay the transfer fee of $178.90 ($158.32 + HST) to the College

    The College will normally take 3 to 4 weeks to review your application. It is not advisable to wait until the November 1, 2017 deadline.

    Grandparented members must submit the transfer application to the College no later than November 1, 2017.

    Without the successful completion of PLAR, you will not be eligible to transfer to General Class. Your Grandparented Certificate of registration will expire on April 1, 2018. Therefore, you will no longer be permitted to practise TCM, perform the controlled acts and use the protected titles of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and/or Acupuncturist, and the designations of R. TCMP and/or R. Ac

    It is up to the member to decide whether he/she needs to take additional courses. To be successful in the Case Study Assessment, you must be prepared to demonstrate that you are competent in diagnosing and treating common TCM disorders.

    To successfully complete Academic Document Review, you must be able to provide official documents issued by post-secondary educational institutions that you attended. These documents must prove that you have successfully completed a traditional Chinese medicine education program with courses that align to the Entry-Level Occupational Competencies for the Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Canada. The program hours must meet the minimum requirement of 1,000 hours for R. TCMP and 750 hours for R. Ac.

    Your application will not be successful if you do not have all the required documents. All documents must be notarized.

    There is no limit to the number of times you can take the Case Study Assessment. Unsuccessful candidates who chose the Case Study Assessment may apply again in the future but must successfully complete PLAR before July 1, 2017. In the meantime, the member may continue to practise as a Grandparented member.

    If you are unsuccessful through the Academic Document Review route, you must re-attempt PLAR through the Case Study Assessment route. You must successfully complete PLAR before July 1, 2017.

    You will have up to 3 hours to complete 3 clinical cases in the assessment.

    Members can select any route to demonstrate competencies through the PLAR process in order to transfer to General Class. At the present time, the “Doctor” title regulation is not available. Once the regulation is drafted and approved by the Ontario government, General Class members meeting the regulation requirement will be able to apply.

    PLAR fee is $2034 ($1800.00 +HST) payable to Professional Testing. Yes, the PLAR fee is non-refundable.

    All members must renew once per registration year, regardless of Class.

    The registration renewal and the Prior Learning Assessment (PLAR) are two separate processes. Grandparented members completing the PLAR process must also renew once per registration year.

    Renewal

    Members must register for the new online member portal to complete the 2017-2018 registration renewal.

    The 2017-2018 renewal period will be shortened to 10 months, from June 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Only for this year, fees relating to registration will be pro-rated for 10 months.

    Please follow the Guide to Register and Access the Member Portal for step-by-step instructions on how to register and sign-in to the member portal.

    The 2017-2018 renewal period is June 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

    The 2017-2018 registration renewal is available starting on April 1, 2017. The deadline to submit the renewal is June 1, 2017.

    Upon completion of the online payment process you will receive a confirmation email. This is proof of submission of your online renewal and payment.

    All members must renew once per registration year, regardless of Class.

    The registration renewal and the Prior Learning Assessment (PLAR) are two separate processes. Grandparented members completing the PLAR process must also renew once per registration year.

    Standards of Practice

    Standards describe the expectations for professional practice. Standards are compiled, written down and formally approved by the College.

    An overarching standard for Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists in Ontario is to provide high-quality, safe and ethical care to patients.

    A standard sets out an expected performance level against which actual performance can be compared.

    The expectation for the College to compile and develop standards derives from Section 3 of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), that lays out the College’s objects.

    These include:

    • to develop, establish and maintain standards of qualification for persons to be issued certificates of registration;
    • to develop, establish and maintain programs and standards of practice to assure the quality of the practice of profession;
    • to develop, establish and maintain standards of knowledge and skill and programs to promote continuing competence among the members;
    • to develop, establish and maintain standards of professional ethics for the members.

    • Entry-Level Occupational Competencies for the Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Canada, Canadian Alliance of Regulatory Bodies for TCM Practitioners and Acupuncturists. Recommended to the Provincial Regulatory Authorities October17, 2009.
    • Entry-Level Occupational Competencies for the Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Canada (October 2009), Performance Indicators, Submitted by PLACED, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education Ryerson University to the Transitional Council/College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (TC/CTCMPAO) in completion of the Memorandum of Understanding between PLACED and TC/CTCMPAO, Approved by the Transitional Council January 25, 2010.
    • Entry-Level Occupational Competencies for the Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Canada, Canadian Alliance of Regulatory Bodies of TCM Practitioners and Acupuncturists, May 2010.
    • Canadian Alliance of Regulatory Bodies of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists (CARB-ACOR), Pan-Canadian Standards for Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists: Performance Indicators and Assessment Blueprints for the Entry-Level Occupational Competencies, Recommended to the Provincial Regulatory Authorities, October 24, 2010.
    • Safety Program for Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists, British Columbia and Ontario, June 2012.
    • Jurisprudence Course Handbook Important Legal Principles Practitioners Need to Know, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario, August 2012.

    Development of College standards is based on three important principles:

    • they are developed by a reasonable and competent group of peers;
    • they are developed through a collaborative consultation process;
    • they are approved by the College Council after in-depth consideration of the need for and the relevance of the expectation defined in the standard.

    Student Class

    Student Class members of the College are authorized to use the protected title(s) “Student Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner” and/or “Student Acupuncturist”. A "Student Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner" is also entitled to use the title of "Student Acupuncturist".

    Student Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners are authorized to practise TCM under supervision of a suitable member of the College, providing to patients a combination of therapies including TCM herbal medicine and acupuncture within the scope of TCM practice.

    Student Acupuncturists are authorized to practise TCM under supervision of a suitable member of the College, using acupuncture, including tuina, cupping and moxibustion etc., excluding TCM herbal medicine.

    The College does not endorse any particular insurance company. You are responsible for conducting your own research and may select any company that best suits your needs.

    The review process usually takes approximately one to two weeks to complete if a review by the Registration Committee is not required. If the Registration Committee is required, the review process usually takes between two to six months to complete. The length of the review process may vary based on a case-by-case basis. Incomplete applications will delay the registration process.

    All registered members of the College are listed in the public register. In addition, all Student Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and/or Student Acupuncturists must wear their College issued badge at all times when practicing under supervision.

    Alignment of Renewal Year End with Fiscal Year End

    • The College annual budget is created based on the projected income and expenses for the fiscal year (April 1 – March 31).The renewal period and the membership fees are for the period of June 1 – May 31. Two months portion of registration fees (April 1 – May 31) are deferred to the next fiscal year. The alignment would enable the budget to coincide with the renewal period.
    • The timing for the budget process will remain the same with the budget going forward for Council approval at its first meeting of the new year.
    • The alignment would eliminate the need to annually defer two months of renewal fees in the budgeting process.
    • Cost savings would be on bookkeeper and auditor’s time to do the deferral of fees and adjustments.
    • Additionally, this will allow the registration staff to process registration renewals at a separate time from the Pan-Canadian Examination Applications, creating a more equitable work flow and a more efficient process.
    • The registration year ending April 1st will allow for those who have written their Pan-Canadian Exams to register almost immediately after passing their exams and gain a full year membership. Currently they may register immediately upon passing their exams and pay the full year with only a few months remaining in the registration year (to June 1st) and then renew again in June for their next full-year membership. Some new members choose to wait two months to begin practicing to avoid payment of an additional registration fee.
    • Existing members will be paying a pro-rated, 10 month for the 2017-2018 renewal year.

    Members are advised to speak with an accountant or tax advisor for the information that pertains specifically to their business.

    Members will need to check with their individual insurance carriers. Member’s insurance plans may require an adjustment to their renewal periods.

    • The registration fee will increase by 2% plus the consumer Price Index (CPI) of 2% as of December 2016 as published by Statistics Canada.
    • The prorated fee for 2017-2018 will include this increase and then be pro-rated to 10 months. The fees are as described in the 2017-2018 fee schedule.