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Ontario Government Regulating Traditional Chinese Medicine

TORONTO, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is helping ensure that
Ontarians have access to safe, quality services provided by the health
professionals of their choice, with the introduction of legislation to
regulate the profession of traditional Chinese medicine, Health and Long-Term
Care Minister George Smitherman announced today.

"We promised to protect Ontarians who choose alternative health care like
traditional Chinese medicine, and we are fulfilling that promise," said
Smitherman. "If passed, this legislation will help give Ontarians confidence
in the quality and safety of these treatments."

Traditional Chinese medicine is currently an unregulated profession in
Ontario; no restrictions exist on who may call themselves a practitioner or
who may practice the profession. As a result, Ontarians have no reliable way
of knowing which practitioners possess the appropriate competencies and
training required for safe practice. If passed, the legislation will make
traditional Chinese medicine the first new health profession to be regulated
since 1991.

Highlights of the proposed legislation include:
- The creation of a self-governing regulatory college. This college
would have the authority to set standards of practice and entry to
practice requirements for the profession
- A defined 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.

"The regulation of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture has
finally become reality since our first application was submitted in 1994. This
is, indeed, joyful news," said Professor Cedric Cheung, President of the
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada (CMAAC), and
Vice-President of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies.
"The TCM community, including practitioners, patients and members of CMAAC,
have been diligently pursuing regulation for 22 years. With the passage of the
legislation being introduced today, the health and safety of Ontarians will be

The proposed legislation builds on the consultation report released this
past summer. It was prepared by MPPs Tony Wong, Richard Patten, Mike Colle and
Peter Fonseca, who were appointed by the minister to travel the province to
hear Ontarians views on traditional Chinese medicine. "I am pleased that our
recommendations are being implemented and that the minister is moving forward
to recognize a widely used form of complementary and alternative health care,"
said Tony Wong, Chair of the MPP group. "Traditional Chinese medicine and
acupuncture have been practiced for countless years, and we owe it to
Ontarians to ensure that these services are delivered by practitioners with a
high level of competence."

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

"The Ontario government is to be commended for introducing legislation to
regulate traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in this province under
the Regulated Health Professions Act. This will provide fair and equitable
access to valuable treatment for all Ontarians. Members of the Acupuncture
Foundation of Canada Institute look forward to a collegial relationship with
members of the future College of TCM," said Dr. Linda Rapson, MD, Executive
President of the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute.

This initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan to build a
health care system that reflects the needs of patients and communities, and
will keep Ontarians healthy for generations to come.

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