The Ontario government has decided to forego scrapping the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists on March 7 and will offer Chinese language entrance exams in the future.
For the Coalition to Stop the Repeal of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, their petitions and protests have won incremental victory, but for the groups that support Schedule 5 of Bill 88, it’s not the result they want to see.
“We have not yet received an official statement (that the province will not dissolve the TCM regulatory body), if true, we will unite to protest at Queen’s Park,” said Stephen Liu, director of the Canadian Association of Traditional Chinese. Medicine and Acupuncture. The Association strongly supports the repeal of the TCM and The Order Act 2006.
Premier Doug Ford introduced the Labor for Workers Act of 2022, Schedule 5 of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Repeal Act, on February 28, with the intention of reducing language barriers and allowing more people to work in the field.
According to an open letter from the Association, current TCM regulations in Ontario require practitioners to pass three exams to achieve full certification. All three exams are administered in English only, and many Cantonese and Mandarin practitioners who have up to 20 years of TCM experience were unable to register due to language barriers.
“The Ontario government has listened carefully to the concerns of TCM practitioners, acupuncturists, stakeholders and patients. The proposed new regulations recognize the cultural sensitivities associated with the discipline,” Liu said.
He also pointed out that the number of Chinese acupuncturists has dropped from 7,000 before the settlement to less than 700 registered with the College at present, which is an absolute setback in the development of TCM in Ontario, and said this cannot be solved by simply adding Chinese language exams.
The Coalition to Stop the Repeal of the TCM Act held a press conference in Markham on March 4, with many demonstrators holding banners saying ‘maintain your acupuncture skills, do no harm to the public’.
“Someone is clearly confusing people, because no one wants to override the qualifications of TCM practitioners or acupuncturist,” Liu explained. “We are talking about the transition from TCM regulation to a new oversight authority under the Department of Health, the approach will support more people who have historically faced barriers to practicing and delivering culturally appropriate care. Public health units will continue to be responsible for infection prevention and control measures and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists will also have the option of registering with the Healthcare Providers Oversight Authority. health and support (HSCPOA).
The HSCPOA was established under the Health Care and Support Providers Supervisory Authority Act 2021, to support consumer protection by issuing a mark of quality to registered TCM practitioners and acupuncturists, and customers are assured that quality mark holders meet the set standards.
This new regulatory approach would be separate and distinct from the current college self-regulation model of the Regulated Health Professions Act of 1991 (RHPA). This new authority (HSCPOA) would be established in a manner similar to other delegated administrative authorities (DAAs) in Ontario, such as the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority and many other consumer protection DAAs.
Dr. Chau Lun Wong, who immigrated to Canada in 1993 with extensive experience in TCM, ran a clinic in Richmond Hill.
He said he was one of the first to propose regulation of TCM to prevent the industry from mixing up due to a lack of corresponding supervision. However, the legislation passed in 2006 and the resulting college did not represent the true professional level of TCM, he said.
He didn’t approve many college regulations, so he didn’t pass the exam and lost his license to practice as a TCM doctor.
“The proposed new settlement gives me hope,” Wong said. He believes the new regulations would bring Ontario in line with other jurisdictions and allow more people to resume their practice, increasing access to TCM practitioners and acupuncturists and ensuring more Ontarians can receive the care they need. need.