Be advised that currently there are various non-physician practitioners presenting themselves as Osteopaths or 'Osteopathic Practitioners', practicing outside of legislation in Canada, who do not hold the comprehensive medical, surgical, and musculoskeletal training required for registration with a provincial medical regulatory authority in Canada.
Only physicians who have trained at Osteopathic Medical Schools within the United States of America under the accreditation of the American Osteopathic Association and returned to Canada to practice medicine are represented by the Canadian Osteopathic Association.
When consulting an osteopathic practitioner, the COA recommends that you make sure your D.O. has completed a COA/AOA approved program and is registered to practice in your province by the college of physicians and surgeons. Please be aware that there are unqualified and non-licensed practitioners in Canada claiming to be Osteopaths or 'Osteopathic Practitioners'. If in doubt, the COA recommends that you check your practitioner’s credentials and assure that they are licensed to practice by contacting your provincial college of physicians and surgeons. Only COA/AOA recognized osteopathic graduates have the comprehensive osteopathic medical education necessary to provide thorough differential diagnosis and treatment.
Despite a variety of business websites promoting training and certification in osteopathy within Canada, there are no government recognized or accredited colleges of osteopathy of Canada. Only those graduates from American colleges of osteopathic medicine accredited by the Canadian and American Osteopathic Associations are eligible for licensure in Canada.
The COA represents only qualified and licensed practitioners
Origins of Osteopathy
The osteopathic profession was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in the United States in the late 1800s. Osteopathic medicine, or osteopathy, is a complete system of health care emphasizing a whole person approach to medicine. There are currently 33 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States with 48 campuses producing physicians with comprehensive medical and surgical training, and with special skills in musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment, who make use of all modern diagnostic and treatment modalities, including unique manual treatment principles known as ‘osteopathic manipulative medicine’.
It is the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) that provides the advanced medical and surgical training required for licensure in Canada. These US colleges are also responsible for the development of the advanced osteopathic manual treatment techniques used by specialists in osteopathic manipulative medicine worldwide. The American Osteopathic Association and American Academy of Osteopathy continue to be the international leaders in advanced manual therapy techniques.
Please note that since its inception, osteopathic education has always included comprehensive medical and surgical training. It is this traditional model of osteopathy that continues to be taught at US colleges of osteopathic medicine and is recognized for licensure in Canada, the United States, and over 45 countries worldwide for full osteopathic medical practice.
Applicants to Osteopathic medical schools typically hold Bachelor or Masters Degrees which include the prerequisite courses required for entrance, as well as the MCAT examination. Osteopathic medical education requires 4 years of full-time, comprehensive, and complete medical education.
Once graduated and having attained the D.O. degree but prior to being eligible to practice medicine unrestricted, the osteopathic physician must complete a further 2 to 5 years of full-time residency training in the specialty of their choosing. Fields such as internal medicine and sub-specialties (Gastroenterology, Cardiology, etc.), Surgery and sub-specialties (Plastics, Pediatric, Vascular, etc), orthopedics, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, dermatology, pathology, family medicine, or musculoskeletal medicine (manual therapy osteopathy).
There are 18 certifying boards with 85 specialties and sub-specialties. Upon completion of residency training, specialty certification examinations are required. Your Canadian osteopathic physician will have typically completed 11 to 13 years of university, doctoral, and specialty training by the time they are ready for licensure and practice in Canada.
For potential students looking to apply visit the Canadian Osteopathic Medical Student Organization or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
The COA represents graduates from Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine accredited by the Canadian and American Osteopathic Associations who are registered for medical practice by their provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons. Osteopathic Physicians have been providing comprehensive medical care in Canada since the early 1900's. The COA was established in 1926 and continues to represent the osteopathic medical profession in all provincial and federal matters regarding legislation and medical licensure.
An Osteopathic Physician, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) must complete the same comprehensive medical education as their allopathic MD colleagues. In addition they must complete comprehensive training in bio-mechanical assessment of the musculoskeletal system and treatment including osteopathic manipulative therapy.
After graduation from 4 years of intensive medical education, osteopathic physicians must further complete residency medical training in a specialty field of their choosing. They must then complete specialty certification examinations as well as medical licensure examinations required for registration with a provincial college of physicians and surgeons.
Currently, there are more than 120,000 Osteopathic Physicians in North America.
Osteopathic physicians must register with the appropriate provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons. The following is a list of licensing bodies for Osteopathic Physicians in Canada. Click here for more information on registration and returning to practice in Canada
British Columbia: www.cpsbc.ca
New Brunswick: www.cpsnb.org
Nova Scotia: www.cpsns.ns.ca
Prince Edward Island: www.cpspei.ca
NW Territories: www.hss.gov.nt.ca
Please note. Only physicians who have graduated from an approved COCA program in the United States of America is eligible for a medical license inside of Canada. There are no accredited or regulated colleges of osteopathic medicine inside of Canada.