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Ontario Government Closer to Regulating Traditional Chinese Medicine

TORONTO, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Ontario has moved closer to regulating
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture as the proposed legislation
moved to second reading, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman
announced today.

"We are proceeding with our promise to protect Ontarians who choose
alternative health care like traditional Chinese medicine," Smitherman said.
"If passed, this legislation will ensure that traditional Chinese medicine is
delivered by practitioners with a high level of competence."

Traditional Chinese medicine is currently an unregulated profession in
Ontario with no restrictions on who may call themselves a TCM practitioner or
who may practise the profession. If passed, the legislation will make TCM the
first new health profession to be regulated since 1991.

Highlights of the proposed legislation include:

- Creating a self-governing regulatory college, which would have the
authority to set standards of practice and entry to practice
requirements for the profession

- Defining the scope of practice and restricted titles that only
members of the profession may use, including the use of the "doctor"
title by certain members of the profession

- Restricting the performance of acupuncture to members of regulated
health professions and to persons who perform acupuncture as part of
an addiction treatment program within a health facility.

Traditional Chinese medicine is a holistic system of health care that
originated in China several thousand years ago. Therapies include acupuncture,
herbal therapy, tuina massage, and therapeutic exercise. TCM views the body as
a whole and addresses how illness manifests itself in a patient and assesses
the whole patient, not just the specific disease.

Ontario will be the second province in Canada to regulate traditional
Chinese medicine after British Columbia.

Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care that delivers on three priorities - keeping
Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing better access to doctors
and nurses.

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