The provincial-wide lockdown in effect December 26th, 2020 changed the way a lot of small business were to function amidst the pandemic. When it comes to health care providers and the services they offer, our clinic experienced a change of our own. At Full Circle Health Network, we are a multi-disciplinary clinic offering Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Counselling and Osteopathy. When we received the news of the lockdown, we were worried that our services would be shut down and we would be unable to offer the care and services we know is so important to you all. Gratefully, we found out that all of our regulated health care professionals were able to continue to see their clients while at the same time receiving the disappointing news that osteopathy would not be able to work during this period.

Osteopathy was one of the services that was unable to resume during the lockdown, and that is due to one factor:

Osteopathy is not regulated within Ontario.

We often receive questions from our clients who wonder why Osteopathy isn’t regulated, and we are here to provide all of those answers and more -including a way for you to help osteopathy become more recognised!

Osteopathy is a Small Organization

Across Ontario, there are very few Manual Osteopathic Practitioners. With only about a few hundred Manual Osteopathic Practitioners in total, that is significantly fewer practitioners compared to the ~5500 Registered Massage Therapists or ~5500 Physiotherapists practicing in Ontario. Alongside the low numbers of practitioners, is the fact that there are only 2 real reputable options for osteopathic education in Ontario – the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in Hamilton and the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto. Both these programs are the only ones in Ontario that comply with he World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards for osteopathic training – requiring a minimum of 4200 hours plus an additional 1000 hours of supervised, hands on training. Thats a minimum of 4 years! The combination of few Manual Osteopathic Practitioners and few institutions that offer a complete training program across Ontario means that Osteopathic Practitioners don’t have anywhere near the number of practitioners working for the government to feel the need to regulate them.

The Ontario Government and Osteopathy

The Ontario government will step in and regulate health care professions when there is risk, either perceived or otherwise, to the public. Osteopathy is a very safe treatment approach and very few complaints are made annually from the general public. The lack of complaints means that the government isn’t particularly interested in regulating a practice that isn’t endangering or posing significant risk to the public. This is both a good and bad thing for Manual Osteopathic Practitioners! It means that Osteopathy continues to be a safe and effective health care service, but also means that the government doesn’t see Osteopathy as a service that needs them to step in and regulate it- which would give it the legal recognition required to be included as an essential service provider during times like the pandemic.

Manual Osteopathic Practitioners are Self-Regulated

Even though osteopathy isn’t regulated by a professional college it doesn’t mean there is no oversight! Osteopathy- similar to Athletic Therapy- is actually a self regulated profession. This means that practitioners need to be affiliated with an osteopathic association. If a practitioner wants to have their services and receipts covered by insurance providers, the practitioner has to have a billing number that insurance companies will recognise. However, in order to get a billing number, Manual Osteopathic Practitioners need to be apart of an Osteopathic association.

Manual Osteopathic Practitioners at Full Circle Health Network can only belong to one of the associations that specifically meets the WHO standards for training and education. In Ontario, the only two associations to meet that standard are the Ontario Osteopathic Association (OOA) and/or the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OAO).

Both the OOA and the OAO holds very high educational standards as well as standards of practices for all members. They require Manual Osteopathic Practitioners to do continuing education and even manage disciplinary matters if members fall below the standards of practice each association has. This may sound intimidating, but it actually ensures that every member is competent, accountable, and further motivate practitioners to continue improving their skills every single year! Both association standards of practice and bylaws have the big picture in mind: Safe and effective osteopathic care for all!

How Can You Get Involved?

As of right now, the Ontario government is not choosing to add more listings of health care practitioners to the list of those able to return to work in Ontario at this moment. Therefore, Osteopathy will not be resuming its practice until the lockdown is lifted. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, friends- and you can be a part of the solution!

We ask all of YOU to help us become regulated by filling out a survey and submitting it.

By filling out the survey, you are helping advocate for Manual Osteopathic Practitioners to be able to return to work and provide Osteopathic care to each and every one of you. What this means is that if there IS another lockdown in the future, the steps we take now to educate the government on the needs of the public may assist us in helping osteopathy being recognized as essential.

The survey link is listed down below if you choose to fill it out. No personal information is necessary, just your email.

Although Osteopathy isn’t regulated, as a profession, we are committed to providing exceptional health care services and are committed to going above and beyond the standards other regulated health care professionals are held to in order to establish ourselves as the safe and effective health care practitioners that we are!

Full Circle Health Network

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