Registered kinesiologists in Ontario are now permitted to treat their spouses, according to new regulation.

While treating a spouse, registered kinesiologists must follow all the legislation, standards of practice, policies and guidelines that they would for any other patient, while complying with appropriate boundaries and separation between the professional relationship and personal relationship.

Please note that the definition of a “spouse” for the purposes of this regulation is very narrowly defined in the Health Professions Procedural Code of the Registered Health Professionals Act (RHPA), and includes only:

(1) a person who is the registrant’s spouse as defined in section 1 of the Family Law Act (i.e., a person to whom the member is married), or

(2) a person who has lived with the registrant in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage continuously for a period of not less than three years.

It is important to note that treating a sexual partner who does not meet the above definition of a spouse under the RHPA will trigger the sexual abuse provisions under the RHPA. It is also important to note that the spousal exception is specific to providing treatment for one’s spouse and does not convey immunity from prosecution of behaviour that would otherwise meet the criteria for sexual assault or abuse, or domestic violence or abuse.

In 2012, the RHPA was amended to give a professional College the ability to adopt a Spousal Exception to sexual abuse provisions in the RHPA. Prior to this revision, treatment of one’s spouse or partner automatically triggered the sexual abuse provisions under the RHPA, which included a mandatory revocation of the professional’s Certificate of Registration, in addition to other penalties and disciplinary measures.

The Spousal Exception came into force for the Kinesiology Act, 2007, on October 22, 2021. Read the full Spousal Exception regulation, here.