Position statements outline the opinion and recommendations of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. They are aimed at physiotherapy and rehabilitation professionals as well as policy makers.
The Role of Physiotherapy in Aboriginal Health Care
Especially considering that Aboriginal peoples in Canada have poorer health outcomes than non-Aboriginal peoples, physiotherapists have the capacity to significantly enhance the health care of this population in a culturally competent, collaborative way.
Read more to enhance your awareness of the complex health care environment of Aboriginal peoples.
Physiotherapists are encouraged to communicate with researchers about the relevance of research translation; published articles typically include an email contact for this communication. Actively discuss with colleagues the grey zones that exist between evidence and practice, and acknowledge your practice weaknesses; these are signs of a true professional.
Read more on why evidence-informed practice is integral to our growing profession.
Physiotherapists are well aware of the broad determinants of health, including income, education, employment, physical environment, and culture. In collaboration with clients and other health care providers, interventions can be implemented to proactively address population health; for example, discussing how to enhance the ergonomics and physical activity of a taxi driver, which relates to employment and physical environment.
Read more to find out how a population health approach applies to you.
Primary Health Care
As primary health care professionals, physiotherapists have the privilege to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions within their scope of practice. Physiotherapists are called to be leaders within their emerging roles as educators, consultants, researchers and policy developers. Physiotherapy not only improves quality of life outcomes, but reduces specialist referrals and wait times.
Physiotherapists and Orthoses
Physiotherapists are qualified to assess dysfunction, injury or pain related to foot biomechanics. Depending on provincial jurisdiction, the assessment, prescription, and dispensing of foot orthoses are included under the scope of practice for physiotherapists in Canada.
Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Considering that physical inactivity is the second most important risk factor for poor health in developed countries, physiotherapists are valuable drivers of increasing physical activity among Canada’s children and youth.
Read more about how CPA endorses the role of physiotherapists in helping children and youth instill lifelong health behaviours.
Physiotherapists have both individual and systems-level responsibilities to uphold patient safety, which is unquestionably important in health care service delivery.
Read our position statement, and see the the Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s The Safety Competencies: Enhancing Patient Safety Across the Health Professions for more information.
Manipulation is part of the scope of practice for Canadian physiotherapists, and has been incorporated within provincial legislations in Canada since 1925. Physiotherapists are required to understand and abide by the manipulation-related legislation that applies to the province in which they practice. Like all physiotherapy treatments, clients are reassessed post-manipulation, and the treatment is modified or discontinued when established goals are met.
Interprofessional Collaboration and Practice
Inter-professional collaboration is synonymous with patient-centred practice. As physiotherapists, our roles involve a commitment to engaging in lifelong inter-professional activities, which not only increases health care professionals’ job satisfaction but also ultimately benefits the health of Canadians.
Conflict of Interest
Part of professionalism involves knowing when there is a conflict of interest in day-to-day practice. Since payment for treatment may come from a provincial health plan, the client, or a third party such as auto insurance, physiotherapists are called to regularly reflect on potential conflicts of interest within their practice.
Read our position statement, and refer to your provincial regulatory body’s standards for Professional Practice surrounding conflicts of interest.
Clinical Education for Physiotherapy Students
Canadian physiotherapy programs require over 4,600 clinical placements per year, excluding out-of-province or international placements, and these numbers are ever-increasing. Despite human resources, practice environment and organizational affecting instructors’ ability to manage instruction, CPA calls on all physiotherapists to contribute to this rewarding, vital process.
Acupuncture and the Use of Dry Needling Techniques in Physiotherapy
Acupuncture and dry needling techniques are within the scope of practice for Canadian physiotherapists, but are not an entry-level skill upon graduation. Physiotherapists should not bill for acupuncture, but as a potential intervention within the physiotherapy session. The CPA also calls on physiotherapists to use the term “dry needling” with the public, in order to develop a better understanding of the difference between physiotherapists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.
Access to Physiotherapy
Increasing access to physiotherapy services is a necessity for the health of Canadians, and the CPA is committed to addressing access barriers through government advocacy initiatives, associations, employers and third-party payers.
Read our position statement, and if you are interested in becoming involved with the CPA’s advocacy initiatives, please contact us at
Some physiotherapists, through post-graduate education, gain training specific to the treatment of animals. The CPA supports title protection and acknowledges that physiotherapists treating animals should not describe their practice as animal physiotherapy, and the term physiotherapist refers to the treatment of humans only.
Read our position statement, and see the Animal Rehabilitation Division for more information.
Funding for Physiotherapy
In Canada, variations in provincial policies and practices and privately-funded and workplace insurance plans have resulted in inconsistent funding and access to rehabilitation. The CPA is committed to working with funders to develop optimum models that provide Canadians with better access to rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation in Healthy, Aging Canadians: The Role of Physiotherapy
Some Canadians require the more specialized rehabilitation that physiotherapists, with their expertise in exercise, aging and disease, can provide. It is the position of CPA that to achieve their optimal independence and quality of life, aging Canadians require access to high quality, patient and family-centred physiotherapy care as close to home as possible.
Canadian Health Associations Express Serious Concerns Regarding Cuts to Outpatient Services in Winnipeg
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC), have serious concerns regarding the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s recent decision to eliminate adult outpatient occupational therapy, physiotherapy and audiology services. Read the position statement for more information. Read the joint letter here.
Call to Action: Canadian Physiotherapy Association Position on Tax Reform
On July 18, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Finance Minister Bill Morneau opened a 75-day consultation period on closing “loopholes” in the tax system associated with:
- “Sprinkling” income to family members;
- Putting lower tax cash (passive income) in investment funds; and/or
- Converting dividends and claiming income as a ‘capital gain’.
Read our position statement for more information.
Member’s letter to CPA to provide an alternative perspective.
Senators urge government to axe tax act changes: report.