The Ontario Superior Court has ordered unlicensed practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to stop practicing, ruling they broke Ontario’s health laws.
The unlicensed practitioners also set up a number of organizations which they illegally held out to be provincially-mandated regulatory bodies. The only legal regulatory body in Ontario is the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario, (CTCMPAO).
The ban makes permanent an interim injunction that ordered the unlicensed practitioners to cease practicing in June, 2014. In a multi-page decision released today, Mr. Justice Mew wrote:
“The respondents are, or have been until restrained by the interim injunction, breaking the law. They must stop doing so. Whether they like it or not, the College is carrying out a regulatory function under statutory authority. The Divisional Court has decided that the regulations which the College seeks to enforce…are constitutional.”
The ruling means that patients who choose traditional Chinese medicine have the right to be treated by only those practitioners licensed and qualified to practice the profession in Ontario.
“The ruling is clear: it means that obeying the laws that govern health professionals in Ontario is not optional. It means that professional standards and licensing rules apply to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in Ontario, just as they apply to physicians, dentists, nurses, psychologists and all the other regulated health professions in the province”, says College Registrar Cristina De Caprio.
The colleges that govern regulated health professions have been established to ensure that properly licensed members adhere to standards of care in the interests of public safety.
“The issue here is protection of the public. We welcome the court decision against these medical ‘outlaws’, who have been brazen in falsely holding themselves out as qualified doctors of traditional Chinese medicine”, adds the Registrar, who urges members of the public to check the College’s public registry to ensure they are seeing a licensed practitioner, at the Public Registry.
The individuals in question have knowingly refused to meet the standards required for Chinese medicine practitioners in Ontario, have illegally referred to themselves as “doctor” and have repeatedly ignored the law.
In addition, some of the individuals have established and are associated with various organizations that have illegally pretended to be legitimate regulators of traditional Chinese medicine, and they have established a bogus registration process that falsely purports to authorize individuals to practice traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Ontario.
“All of this is illegal, and has been declared so by the court. We will continue to seek out and prosecute, in the interests of public safety, any unqualified, unregistered individuals who refuse to obey the health laws of Ontario as they apply to traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture”, concludes De Caprio.
A copy of the full Reasons for Decision can be accessed here.