The truth about specialties

The College is aware of misinformation circulating about its consideration of the Ontario Athletic Therapist Association’s request for a specialty within the College for athletic therapists.

As the regulatory body for the kinesiology profession in Ontario, we do not comment on current matters between various organizations. We exist to protect the public and our focus is the public’s interest. However, given the persistent misinformation circulating, we developed the fact sheet below to clarify where we are in this process. 

The facts:

  • The College is currently considering a submission from the Ontario Athletic Therapist Association (OATA) for a specialty or class of registration for athletic therapists.
  • Considering the issue of specialties is not a means of by-passing the Ministry of Health to gain regulated status; this process is within the College’s legislated realm. Clause (e) of subsection 95(1) in the Health Professions Procedural Code gives colleges the power, subject to approval and review with government, to make regulations defining specialties in the profession, among other matters related to specialties. When making all decisions, the College is guided by whether these decisions serve and protect the public interest.
  • While the College has the power to create regulations defining specialties, the profession must first submit an application to the College for consideration of a specialty. The College will then consider this application against the Specialties Assessment Framework.
  • The Specialties Committee, created by the College’s Council to review such matters, has met four times to review OATA’s submission.
  • The College has been in regular communication with OATA on this matter. The College’s Registrar and CEO also met with representatives from OATA and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) in September 2019 to provide an update.
  • The College has made clear to OATA and CATA that its guiding principle in making decisions about specialties or classes of registration is whether there is sufficient risk of harm to the public to warrant additional regulation. As of today, the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) was never stated as a requirement to achieve regulation.
  • At its March 30, 2020 meeting, the College’s Council will review a recommendation by the Specialties Committee on OATA’s submission. A recommendation from the Specialties Committee does not automatically mean a specialty or class of registration for athletic therapists comes into effect. The College must engage in an open and thorough consultation process to obtain feedback on any recommended proposal before making a final decision. If after extensive consultation Council decides to proceed with a specialty, regulations are drafted and submitted to the Ontario Government for review and approval.
  • The College has not drafted and it is not in the process of drafting any regulation about a specialty or class of registration for athletic therapists.

We strongly encourage anyone with questions about this process to contact the College directly. You may reach us at info@coko.ca or (416) 961-7000. You may also review Council minutes and Council summaries for information about Council’s discussions on OATA’s submission. 

In keeping with our commitment to transparency, we are sharing our most recent communication to OATA and CATA on this matter: