Ontario is set to deregulate traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture because the current system prevents people who speak only Cantonese or Mandarin from taking licensing exams, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.
Practitioners said they were shocked by the proposal because they didn’t ask for it and they weren’t consulted.
But Ford said it heard “widely” from the Chinese community that the system needed to change.
“There were so many people who weren’t allowed to become practitioners because they had a language barrier,” he said.
“If they spoke Cantonese or Mandarin, they were out of luck.”
Ontario plans to deregulate traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture
Recently filed labor legislation contains a section that would end the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario, the profession’s regulatory body established in 2013.
A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the bill would see the transition of oversight to the Healthcare and Support Providers Oversight Authority, although registration with authority is voluntary.
The Prime Minister said he would not change anything until the government consults further.
Heather Kenny, president of Traditional Chinese Medicine Ontario, said she looked forward to the consultation as the legislation came as a shock.
“It would appear that a barrier to working in this profession, such as language, could be adequately overcome through effective communication between the government and the college,” she said.
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Mary Xiumei Wu, president of the Toronto School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said she was part of the fight to get the profession regulated in the first place. She said it ensured clients could trust their practitioners and more people could access treatments because insurance covered them.
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“(Deregulation) will reduce the practice of traditional Chinese medicine to levels such as tattooing and ear piercing,” she said in a statement.
“It’s not (only) disrespectful, but it’s discrimination against 3,000-year-old medicine and a formal traditional Chinese medical profession…Anyone could hang a shingle, prick people and prescribe medicinal plants. This will put the public at high risk of physical, mental and spiritual harm. »
When the regulation was first introduced, some practitioners said it would prevent people from working as practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine if they had learned it from their elders rather than in a school setting, or if they spoke insufficient English.
Liberal House Leader John Fraser, whose party created the college, said the regulations were meant to protect the public.
“I don’t have people emailing me or people coming up to me and saying, ‘you have to make this change,'” he said.
“What I think is that someone has wanted this change for a long time and it has happened to someone in government. I don’t know if it’s the prime minister, the minister’s office – he doesn’t “There’s no other discernible reason for the change. There’s no improvement in patient safety. It’s absolutely the wrong thing for people to do.”
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient treatment that focuses on acupuncture, herbal remedies, proper nutrition, and Chinese massage to balance the yin and yang – or opposing forces – in one’s system.
© 2022 The Canadian Press