Prescribing Standard Frequently Asked Questions

These questions and the answers to them are intended as general guidance to the most common questions about the Prescribing Standard.  The responses are not legal or practice advice and are not intended as such.  For more detailed information on the subject, readers should review the relevant statutes, regulations and standards of practice and consult with legal counsel.

 

Index of Questions


What is the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?
What does the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics course focus on?
What substances does the course cover?
Why do we have to learn about substances we can't prescribe in order to meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?
Our ND programs contain training on various nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Why do we have to undergo additional training and an exam?
Do all NDs have to meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?
How long does the course take?
Who is delivering the course?
What is the cost of the course?
Are there Continuing Education (CE) credits allotted for completing this course?
When is the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics exam held?
I am currently registered in BC and looking to transfer my registration to Ontario. Will my BC prescribing authority be recognized by the College?
I am an Ontario ND who has met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing, looking to register in BC. Will my Standard of Practice for Prescribing be recognized by the CNPBC?
Do I need to meet any specific Continuing Education requirements to maintain the right to perform the controlled acts associated with the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?
I have met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing but want to change my registration status to Inactive; at what point will I be deemed to no longer meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?

Questions and Answers


What is the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?

As part of its public protection mandate and regulation development process, the College of Naturopaths of Ontario has implemented Standard of Practice requirements for prescribing.  This includes the voluntary completion of an approved course and examination.

The course and exam are intended to address the key competencies necessary for NDs to develop, implement and monitor evidence-based therapeutic plans, a requirement for any ND who wishes to prescribe, dispense, compound, sell, or administer by injection or inhalation the drugs listed on the Tables of the the General Regulation. 

What does the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics course focus on?

The primary intent of the course is to ensure that NDs are adept at understanding:
  • How to develop and monitor evidence-based therapeutic prescribing plans;
  • Interactions between pharmaceuticals and natural substances; and
  • How to appropriately prescribe and use specific natural substances that are restricted under federal legislation to treat a variety of common conditions.

What substances does the course cover?

The course content covers a wide array of medications and substances in relevant areas. Additional attention is given to the substances that appear on the Tables of the General Regulation.

Why do we have to learn about substances we can't prescribe in order to meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?

Knowledge of the drugs commonly taken by your patients is important when making decisions about patient care. Even if you can't prescribe a medication, it is still important to understand the risks and benefits of those agents your patients may be taking.

NDs must be able to develop and monitor evidence-based therapeutic plans within the context of these natural drugs as well as other pharmaceuticals that other regulated health practitioners may have prescribed to your patients.

Our ND programs contain training on various nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Why do we have to undergo additional training and an exam?

The Naturopathy Act, 2007 authorizes members of the profession to prescribe, dispense, compound and sell drugs to a patient and administer a substance by injection or inhalation. This requires the profession to have the necessary knowledge, skill and judgement to carry out the duties and responsibilities involved with the expanded scope of practice.

A Council-approved course and exam in prescribing (such as the one currently being offered through the Therapeutics Education Collaboration) have been deemed appropriate means of assessing this professional competency, and ensuring public protection.
Do all NDs have to meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?

No; only NDs who intend to prescribe, dispense, compound, sell or administer by inhalation or injection any drug listed in the Tables of the General Regulation are required to meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing with the completion of an approved course and exam. While the profession is authorized generally under the Act, any individual member is not authorized to perform a controlled act until they have demonstrated requisite competency.

How long does the course take?

The course work takes approximately 3-4 months, through online modules (approx 30 hours), interactive webinars (up to 15 hours) and self-study (approx 3-5 hours per week). You can complete the course at your own pace, and on your own time without having to be away from your practice.

Who is delivering the course?

We've partnered with Dr. James McCormack and Dr. Adil Virani, professors in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia, who run the Therapeutics Education Collaboration. These instructors have worked with the Boucher Institute for Naturopathic Medicine and with the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. to implement that province's prescribing certification. A similar therapeutics and prescribing course, and exam process is also being offered to Alberta NDs. 

What is the cost of the course?

  $599 (which includes H.S.T).

Are there Continuing Education (CE) credits allotted for completing this course? 

Yes; 15 (Category A) CE credits are granted to members who complete this course. No credits are granted for completion of the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics exam. 

When is the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics exam held? 

This exam is offered twice a year; upcoming exam dates, including exam registration deadlines, are listed on the Prescribing Exam Schedule page.

I am currently registered in BC and looking to transfer my registration to Ontario. Will my BC prescribing authority be recognized by the College?

As per the 'Post Registration Certificates' section of the College's Registration Program Policy, 'in the interest of fair registration practices, the College will recognize the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC)'s Prescribing and Therapeutics certification. Members registered in another jurisdiction where the regulatory authority attests to the member having met the CNPBC's Prescribing and Therapeutics certification will be deemed to have met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing upon completion of the course module relating to Ontario drugs and substances.'

I am an Ontario ND who has met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing, looking to register in BC. Will my Standard of Practice for Prescribing be recognized by the CNPBC?

Member seeking registration in another jurisdiction are advised to inquire with the regulatory body of that jurisdiction with respect to registration requirements, and what (if any) post-registration Standards of Practice are recognized for Inter-Provincial transfers.

Do I need to meet any specific Continuing Education (CE) requirements to maintain the right to perform the controlled Why is the course being offered online instead of in-person?

Yes. As part of the Quality Assurance Program, every ND has to complete Continuing Education Credits (CECs). Over a three-year period, this includes: 30 credits in Core Activities (pre-approved structured learning related to the clinical competencies within the scope of practice), and 40 credits in Self-Directed Activities (other professional development). Members who have met the Prescribing Standard of Practice must complete six (6) CECs in pharmacology within each 3-year reporting cycle.

I have met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing but want to change my registration status to Inactive; at what point will I be deemed to no longer meet the Standard of Practice for Prescribing?

Members of the College are permitted two (2) years of Inactive registration, during which they will still be recognized as having met this post-registration Standard of Practice. Members who exceed this two-year window will no longer be deemed to have met the Standard of Practice for Prescribing and will be required to undergo additional College-approved training and examinations in therapeutic prescribing prior to being authorized to perform the controlled acts associated with this Standard of Practice.