Date Published: 29 July 2005

Plans to Regulate Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture in Ontario, Canada

Health News from Canada

The Canadian Province of Ontario has moved closer to regulating traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. Today, 29th July 2005 Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced the release of a public consultation report.

Smitherman said:

" The work done by Tony Wong and his colleagues is going to be invaluable in helping us decide how best to proceed."

The report contains 10 recommendations on the regulation of TCM and acupuncture including:

  • Creating a regulatory college for TCM
  • Establishing different classes of TCM practitioners, based on level of education, acquired competencies and experience
  • Limiting the performance of acupuncture to qualified, regulated practitioners, and;
  • Designating as herbalists a class of TCM practitioners who use Chinese herbal medicines within the context of traditional Chinese medicine.

The Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP)s began their consultations in March and heard from representatives from TCM organizations, practitioners of TCM and acupuncture, regulated health professionals, health regulatory colleges and members of the public.

They listened to almost 100 presentations and received more than 200 written submissions.

" We heard many different viewpoints but the general consensus is that public safety is paramount and we must put in place a system to protect the public," Wong said.

" Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been practised for countless years and benefited many, and people want to make sure there is a high level of competence guaranteed in the practitioner they are seeing."

This initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan to build a health care system that delivers on three priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing better access to doctors and nurses.

How is Traditional Chinese Medicine regulated elsewhere ?

In Canada, only British Columbia regulates both TCM and acupuncture. Two other provinces, Quebec and Alberta, currently regulate acupuncture. Australia, Hong Kong and China also regulate TCM, and the United Kingdom plans to regulate TCM. In the United States, a majority of states have regulated the use of acupuncture.

Responses to this development:

"We have a very large Chinese community in Ontario that utilizes this traditional medicine and a growing population of non-Chinese who recognize the value and effectiveness of it. I thank the McGuinty government for the steps it is taking to bring us closer to regulation."
Marylou Lombardi, President, Ontario Association of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"For far too long, traditional Chinese medicine has been looked upon with a skeptical eye. Today's event proves the McGuinty government is taking up its pledge to ensure that consumers can be sure that alternative approaches, provided by a diverse set of practitioners, can be delivered in a safe and reliable manner."
Dr. Kwong Chiu, Acupuncture Council of Ontario.

Source: The full report was at but is no-longer available (Jul 2012).

Also in the News:

Acupuncture can help treat lung disease - 17 May '12

Proposals for UK regulation of Herbal Medicines, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture - 1 Apr '10

Nursing profession focuses on health and wellbeing - 12 Apr '09

Master of Acupuncture now on offer at Southern Cross University - 22 Jan '09

Some breast cancer patients might benefit from acupuncture - 24 Sep '08

Massage and acupuncture reduce pain after cancer surgery (UCSF) - 2 Apr '07

Maryland Researchers investigate benefit of acupuncture for in vitro fertilization - 19 Nov '05

Maryland Univ receives $10M USD to study Traditional Chinese Medicine - 23 Oct '05

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