Naturopaths originally sought inclusion under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) in the 1980’s and participated extensively in the Health Professions Legislative Review (HPLR). Two separate reviews were undertaken in 1996 and 2001 by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) and both resulted in HPRAC recommending that the profession should be regulated under the RHPA.
The Health System Improvements Act, which received Royal Assent on June 4, 2007, included provision for the regulation of the profession of Naturopathy under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and a newly created Naturopathy Act, 2007.
A number of regulated professions formerly under the Drugless Practitioners Act, 1925 (DPA) have already moved in to the RHPA regulatory framework, including physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists. The RHPA model provides a more robust set of public protection mechanisms than those found under the DPA. Under the RHPA, the practise of Naturopathy will be regulated using the Controlled Acts Model and will be governed by the scope of practice outlined in the Naturopathy Act, 2007.
Ontario Regulation 107/96 Controlled Acts, under the RHPA, currently provides an exemption to Naturopaths and allows them to perform controlled acts that are within the scope of practice of the profession, while being regulated under the Drugless Practitioner’s Act, 1925.
A New Regulatory Framework
The Naturopathy Act, 2007 established a new regulatory college, called the “College of Naturopaths of Ontario”, and provisions for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to appoint a transitional Council and a Registrar. Members of the transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario were appointed in October 2009. The inaugural transitional Council meeting took place on November 5, 2009. The mandate of the transitional Council is to develop the regulations, policies, by-laws and necessary business operations to enable the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, following proclamation, to fulfill its full statutory mandate and to regulate the profession of Naturopathy in the public interest. The College of Naturopaths of Ontario will be responsible for the entry-to-practice requirements and registration of qualified practitioners, practice standards, policies and guidelines for the profession, quality assurance programs to promote the continuing competence of members and implementing complaints and discipline processes to ensure that members are accountable for providing health care in a safe, competent and ethical manner.
Once the transitional Council has completed its work and the remaining provisions of the Naturopathy Act, 2007 are proclaimed, the Drugless Practitioners Act, 1925 will be revoked and the College of Naturopaths of Ontario will become the regulatory authority, joining 27 other regulated health professions under the RHPA. Until this time, the BDDT-N will continue to register and regulate Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario.