Moving Between Provinces

The College often receives questions about moving between provinces where naturopaths are regulated.  This page provides an overview of how it works.

 Key points to remember:

  • The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) promotes labour mobility between provinces and territories;
  • In the context of naturopaths, it applies only to individuals who are already registered/licensed by a Canadian naturopathic regulatory authority;
  • It only applies to a certificate of registration and does not necessarily apply to post-registration certifications;
  • It is not a transfer but an application for registration using the CFTA mobility provisions;
  • It does not apply to anyone who is not already registered, i.e., naturopathic students or graduates.


Labour mobility 

Labour mobility means “the ability of certified workers to practise their regulated occupation, throughout Canada, wherever opportunities to work in that occupation exist”[i].  The CFTA includes the same labour mobility provisions and requirements that were set out in the original agreement, the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade.

The CFTA requires that certified workers must be recognized to work in another province or territory that regulates that profession without having to go through significant additional training, work experience, examination or assessment unless an “exception” has been filed.

At the time the original agreement was created, all professions were required to compare entry-to-practise requirements between the provinces. Those professions where there were seen to be significant differences, were required to register an exception under the AIT.  No exceptions were registered for the naturopathic profession.

This means that naturopaths registered in one jurisdiction must be recognized in another jurisdiction without significant “barriers.”

Requirements that can be applied

Since no formal exception between entry-to-practise requirements for naturopaths has been filed, the entry-to-practise requirements are deemed to be essentially the same.  However, provinces and territories are permitted to evaluate an application for such things as good character requirements and to require additional training in areas such as jurisprudence.

The process in Ontario

Naturopaths seeking to move between provinces where the profession is regulated must make an application to the new jurisdiction.  In Ontario, the application process asks an applicant whether they are applying under the provisions of the CFTA. If they are, the non-exemptible application requirements, such as educational and examination requirements, are deemed to be met.

Applicants must complete the full application and answer questions and make declarations surrounding their character. They are also required to complete the Jurisprudence exam, which is an on-line learning module that ensures an understanding of the rules governing the profession in Ontario.

An application from an individual who is already registered in another jurisdiction can be processed very quickly by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. That said, when the application provides information that may suggest concerns about the ability of the naturopath to practice safely and ethically, the Registrar may refer the applicant to the Registration Committee for further consideration.

For example, an applicant who discloses that they were found guilty of a criminal offence while they were registered in their original jurisdiction may be referred to the Registration Committee for review. The Registration Committee will review information provided by the applicant and determine whether they believe the offence is an indication that they will not practice safely and ethically.  The Registration Committee then directs the Registrar to either not register the applicant; register the applicant with certain terms, conditions or limitations (TCLs) on their certificate; register the applicant after additional education or training relating to the concern identified during the review; or they direct the Registrar to issue a certificate of registration.

Where TCLs can and cannot be applied

Although the profession is substantially the same across Canada, there are some differences. For example, a naturopath originally registered in BC may not have been educated and tested in acupuncture. Under the CFTA, Ontario is not permitted to place a limitation on the applicant’s certificate of registration prohibiting the performance of acupuncture. We do, however, caution the applicant that they will need additional education and training before actually practising acupuncture to ensure they have the knowledge, skill, and judgement to practise this controlled act safely and competently.

On the other hand, if the naturopath had a term, condition or limitation on their certificate of registration in the original jurisdiction, that same TCL can be applied in the new jurisdiction.  For example, a naturopath in Alberta who is not permitted to perform internal examinations would, upon registration in Ontario, have the same limitation placed on their certificate here.

Post-registration certifications

The CFTA obligations apply only to the original certificate of registration. It does not apply to any certifications obtained after initial registration. For example, the certification of a naturopath in Ontario who has met the IVIT standard of practice (certification) may not be recognized by another regulated province in Canada.  That is at the discretion of each jurisdiction.

In Ontario, the College recognizes prescribing authority. A naturopath from another Canadian province (naturopathy is not currently regulated in any territories, although that may be changing in the near future) who has successfully completed the BC Therapeutic Prescribing Course and Examination may have that certification recognized in Ontario, depending on the timing.  However, the College does require that the new applicant complete the Ontario Jurisdiction module within our therapeutic prescribing course. No further examination is required.

Final thoughts

To reassure all naturopaths in Ontario and across Canada, we can say with certainty that very few applications for registration get sent to the Registration Committee for review based on good character concerns. When you consider the small number of applications coming under the CFTA, that number is virtually zero. Most naturopaths are of good character and practise ethically and safely. For that reason, the likelihood of an application not being accepted under the CFTA in Ontario is very, very small.  We believe that the same is absolutely true in the other regulated jurisdictions in Canada.