March 16, 2020

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) has been hard at work building resources and support tools for its members related to the escalating outbreak of COVID-19. Times are challenging; the pace of change and information is blistering, and we know that Canadians, physiotherapists, and our members are feeling uneasy.

Behind the scenes, our team has been working around the clock to collate, develop, and deliver tools and support for our members in this trying time. We want to be sure our members have input on the resources, tools, and support systems that we are working on – this update is to provide you with a look behind the scenes and to ensure our members have transparency on the issues at hand.

Supporting Business Owners

Clinic Guidelines

We know that these are uncertain times for business owners, and the recommendations provided by our leaders are constantly changing. The CPA built three different resources on how to keep your practice and patients safe through the outbreak, intending to release them this morning; but, in merely hours, that has all become irrelevant as we see the positions of our governments shifting and taking harder stances on non-essential trips out of the home.

Based on the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the provincial and municipal governments, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association recognizes that, in most outpatient settings, clinics should be closed to respect the social distancing protocols being rolled out across the nation. In support of the recommendations by Public Health authorities to optimize social distancing, we recommend that physiotherapy services in the community only be offered to patients with urgent needs. 

We strongly recommend postponing care and services if the patient's condition permits or providing them virtually, if possible, at least until after March 30. We recognize that these are exceptional times that require exceptional measures aimed to reduce the spread of the virus and to reduce the demand on the health system. 

Please check with your local regulator for specific guidance in your province: 

Tele-Rehab Guidelines

Today, Monday, March 16, the CPA will release the first of several statements on tele-practice. Our partners at BMS Group and Gowlings WLG have developed information and recommendations for implementing tele-rehab, which we’ll release on our social and website later today. In addition, we’ve reached out to experts who are crafting how-to guides to ensure you have the most effective up-to-date information on how to implement tele-rehab.

Cancellation Fees

Based on the current landscape, to protect your clinic and to establish trust-based relationships with your patients, we strongly recommend suspending any cancellation fees to patients cancelling their appointments.

Business Interruption Insurance

We have been receiving several questions from business owners on the applicability of their business interruption insurance to their clinic for loss of income as physiotherapy clinics see an increase in cancellations and face shutting their doors. We are working with BMS Group to establish a position and update on the application of your business interruption insurance in the current environment, which we’ll release on Tuesday, March 17. We encourage all members to continue to contact BMS directly for information on your circumstances and policy: https://www.cpa.bmsgroup.com/contact-us.html.

Tele-Rehab Partners

We are working with our partners across the country to provide a solution for physiotherapists to move their practice online and are hoping to release information about a partnership as soon as possible, which will relieve the financial pressure. This is currently in development and we’ll update you as more information becomes available.

Advocating on Your Behalf

The CPA will release the first of a series of advocacy statements Tuesday, March 17, to provide clinics, members, policy makers, and the public with an understanding of a) the importance of physiotherapists in a crisis, b) the critical role of physiotherapists in infectious disease treatment, and c) the importance of advocating for the application of government relief efforts, including funding to support and protect physiotherapists working on the front lines and those whose livelihoods are in jeopardy as patients cancel appointments and clinics close their doors.

Together, with our partners at Proof Strategies, we are able to work directly with the Government of Canada and the Minister of Health to ensure key issues relevant to physiotherapy continue to remain top of mind.

Keeping You Informed

The following resources are in development and will be released over the coming days:

  • Resource Directory – a comprehensive list of government (federal and provincial) links, tools, and resources for you to consult with for the latest information.
  • Frequently Asked Questions – we’re working on collating the information asked by our members and the answers we have provided in one place.
  • Tips for Canadians to Stay Active at Home
  • Recommendations for Working in Stressful Situations
  • The Role of Physiotherapy in Infectious Disease Treatment
  • Webinar Series – a series of webinars with BMS Group Insurance, Gowlings LLC, the Private Practice Division, and other experts where members can have up-to-the-minute information.
  • Global Physiotherapy Community Slack – an open channel Slack workspace for physiotherapists globally to interact, discuss, and share information related to lived experiences with COVID-19.
  • Supporting Patients with Immunosuppression

Supporting Your Well-Being

We’re working with several stakeholders across the health care industry to develop tools for you to manage your own well-being in this time of crisis.

Ultimately, we’re here for you, the member, to give you the things you need. If there are things you need and/or questions you have, please contact us at information@physiotherapy.ca and we’ll do our best to get you the resources and support you require.