Regulation & Licensure
As Osteopathy developed, two distinct categories evolved: Medical Osteopath and Manual Osteopath.
In Canada and the US osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical practice in both countries. Medical Doctors (MDs) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) are the only two types of complete physicians in North America. They are fully trained and licensed to order any required laboratory or diagnostic procedures, prescribe medication, perform surgery, deliver babies and may utilize their training as a prerequisite to specialize in other branches of medicine. There are currently 29 accredited Osteopathic Medical Schools in the US and none in Canada. These DOs are recognized as osteopathic physicians and are the only ones legally able to call themselves osteopaths.
Generally anyone other than Osteopaths/Osteopathic Physicians (which are only those trained in accredited American schools) refer to themselves as one or more of the following: Manual Osteopath, Manual Osteopathic Therapist, or Osteopathic Manual Therapist.
Manual Osteopaths have advanced training in manual osteopathic practice, but they are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication or perform surgery. They assess and treat patients using an osteopathic philosophy and manual osteopathic techniques. There are schools located throughout the world, including Canada.
Manual Osteopathic Accreditation
There are numerous colleges, universities, associations and regulating bodies for Manual Osteopaths worldwide, but there is no single, specific governing body or accreditation process for all. Some countries have a nationwide governing body including Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Manual Osteopathy and its schools are not regulated in any jurisdiction in Canada, although many associations are trying to establish standards of practice, codes of conduct and educational requirements for their members and the profession as a whole.
The training that our members receive are not equivalent to medical osteopaths, nor osteopathic practitioners, or to suggest that graduates would be eligible to become registered members of their provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons. This is not to say that some members may have additional training in this area.
Manual Osteopath Concerns
On July 2, 2019 a concerned member kindly sent us a copy of a document regarding the regulation of Manual Osteopathy.
If you have not seen it, we have affixed a copy here for your information.
Regulation is a provincial issue, not a federal one. Each province has a department responsible for same. We are currently communicating with the various provincial representatives and see no reason to indicate that their responses will be any different. We have received an official statement from Alberta Health and have attached it for your review. AB Health response to July 2, 2019
We will post any further information as it becomes available right here.
We trust this will reassure our membership and colleagues within the Manual Osteopathic community.