Naturopathic Legislation is Changing

Patient Letter to Support Legislative Transition

Dear KIHC patients,

The legislation governing Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario is changing, and we need your help to ensure that the naturopathic profession continues to grow as a critical health resource for Ontarians. Though not all of us at KIHC are Naturopathic Doctors (NDs), the legislative changes made to the ND scope of practice will impact all of the professions practicing at KIHC and consequently you, our clients and supporters of integrative medicine. These changes have the real potential to remove barriers from an integrative team like ours working more closely with family health teams, community health centres, and hospital programs…

The Naturopathy Act, 2007 moved regulation of Naturopathic Doctors from the antiquated Drugless Practitioners Act of 1925, to the Regulated Health Professions Act that includes many health professionals, including physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. The specifics of this transition are currently being decided by the Transitional Counsil of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

These regulations (currently draft regulations), will determine whether Ontario’s NDs will continue to provide care to the full extent of their training and capability. As well, there are opportunities for NDs to become more central in healthcare since NDs offer solutions to many of the most critical challenges facing the health care system. Ultimately, this is our opportunity to improve healthcare in Ontario.

The scope of practice of NDs currently includes conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting important testing, injecting nutrients (e.g. “B12 shots”), and making crucial diagnoses of health conditions. The draft regulations are better than current rules, however, if changes aren’t made, Ontario will continue as one of the most restrictive places for NDs to practice. The Transitional Counsil is under pressure from the government and needs to hear from the profession and our patients to justify the needed changes. This is our one opportunity to get the new rules right!

The deadline for submissions to the government (Transitional Counsil) is October 14th.

How you can help:

1. Download this template letter here, Patient Letter to Support Legislative Transition, which includes all contact information, adjust it to suit your concerns, and email or mail it to the Transitional Counsil.

2. Write or email your story about why an ND is critical for your health and supportive of healthcare services in Ontario:

a. How has naturopathic medicine made a significant difference in your life?

b. Why is it important to you that NDs have access to some common prescription medications, such as antibiotics, birth control pills, bio-identical hormones, and anti-inflammatories for pain?

c. Many important natural substances are already unavailable to patients and NDs. Why is it important for you that NDs have full access to natural health products that are available with or without a prescription?

d. How important is it to you that NDs continue to offer educational workshops and seminars to help people better understand the value of naturopathic medical care? (Draft regulations could be misinterpreted to define this as soliciting of patients.)

e. Any examples of how your naturopathic care has saved the government healthcare dollars (e.g. by reducing your need for prescription medication, by preventing the need for expensive surgery or unnecessary emergency room visits)?

f. Is it important to you that NDs be eligible to take part in WSIB and Motor Vehicle Accident funding claims?

g. Is it important to you that the government remove barriers to NDs becoming an integrated part of family health teams, for example?

3. Write or send an email to the Transitional Counsil of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario and ask that they fully consider the requests of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, who made these recommendations in consultation with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

4. Ask that the Transitional Counsil fully consider recommendations made by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC), which includes recommendation for access to essential primary care substances, including antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.

If interested, the draft regulations are available on the Transitional Counsil website, here. All submissions can be emailed to the Transitional Counsil (info@collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca), or the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Clinic Director