Statutory Regulation and Emerging Traditional/Complementary Health Care Professions

As in many jurisdictions worldwide, Ontario is undergoing a significant change by granting state sanctioned self-regulated status to practitioners of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM). Over the last two decades, our research team has been studying this regulatory trend.

Dr. Heather Boon (Principal Investigator), Dr. Sandy Welsh (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Nadine Ijaz (Co-Investigator) have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study the recent regulation of three Ontario TCAM practitioner groups under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act: naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture and homeopathy. These three cases provide an opportunity to explore and compare how:

  1. TCAM professional regulation impacts the makeup of occupational groups, their leadership structures and their members’ sense of identity;
  2. Relationships and power dynamics within and between TCAM groups, as well as other professional groups and the state, may be affected;
  3. The scope and professional training / practice standards of newly-regulated TCAM professions become reconstituted under the law; and
  4. Regulation may produce changes in the practice patterns of TCAM practitioners, ultimately impacting patient care.

We will be collecting and analysing three main types of data in this study:

  • Surveys of practitioners;
  • Interviews with practitioners, community leaders and regulators; and
  • Public documents.

Study results will provide practical feedback for policy makers, practitioners and patients as to the impacts of, and challenges associated with, regulating TCAM health care providers. This is an area that to date has been understudied, and – as the World Health Organization has emphasized – whose urgency is increasing as patients across nations increasingly seek out TCAM care that is both safe and effective.

For more information about the study, please contact: Dr. Nadine Ijaz,
Postdoctoral Fellow,  nadine.ijaz@utoronto.ca


The Use of Telemedicine in Complementary Medicine Consulting

The Canadian CAM Research Fund has provided funding for Dr. Elise Paradis (Principal Investigator), David Brulé (Co-Investigator) and Dr. Nadine Ijaz (Co-Investigator) to conduct a study on the use of telemedicine by complementary medicine professionals. Telemedicine-related questions are being posed of Ontario homeopaths and naturopaths as part of the larger TCAM Professions survey described above.

For more information, contact David Brulé, MSc student, david.brule@utoronto.ca