Professionals should not go up against their regulator alone

The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario is the regulator for physiotherapists in Ontario.  They:

  • decide who has a certificate to practice as a physiotherapists
  • handle complaints against physiotherapists

But your College does not work for you.  In fact, the College can:

  • deny applicant’s applications for a certificate to practice or
  • suspend, revoke or place terms, conditions, or limitations on physiotherapist’s certificate to practice

If you plan to apply to the College or have received notice of complaint it is important that you have representation to protect your interests and defend your rights.  

Our team of experienced lawyers can assist physiotherapists with matters including:

  • Advising physiotherapists on compliance with relevant legislation and standards
  • Responding to complaints and investigations at the College
  • Representing physiotherapists at the Fitness to Practise Committee
  • Defending physiotherapists in hearings before the College’s Discipline Committee
  • Advocating for physiotherapists to resolve matters through the College’s complaint resolution process
  • Representing physiotherapists in appeals before the Divisional Court of Ontario
College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Appeals Fitness to Practise Committee Discipline Committee Screening Committee Registration


Applying for a license or in the College’s language a “Certificate of Registration” for either supervised or autonomous practice is a complex process. 

The College of Physiotherapists offers the following Certificates:

  • Independent Practice Certificate of Registration for qualified Physiotherapists seeking autonomous practice
  • Provisional Practice Certificate for Physiotherapy Residents who work under the supervision of a College-approved supervisor
  • Courtesy Certificate of Registration for licensed physiotherapists in other jurisdictions to teach or participation in an education program, research activities, etc
  • Cross-Border Physiotherapy – Independent Practice Certificate of Registration for qualified physiotherapists wanting to provide services across provincial borders

Applications are reviewed by the Registrar who seeks that the following requirements are met:

  • Completion of a master’s degree in Canada OR reviewed and approved international education credentials by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators
  • Successful completion of the written and clinical components of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE)

Once reviewed, the Registrar may:

  • Approve the application and issue a Certificate of Registration
  • Refer the application to the Registration Committee for further review

The Registration Committee may then direct the Registrar to:

  • Issue a Certificate
  • Issue a Certificate if the applicant successfully completes specified examinations
  • Issue a Certificate if the applicant successfully completes additional training specified by the Committee
  • Impose specified, terms, conditions, and limitations on the Certificate
  • Refuse to issue a Certificate

Our offices can help you prepare this information and offer legal advice on concerns you may have. If you are planning to apply for a certificate from the College, contact us today. 

Screening Committee

The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario receives complaints from:

  • members of the public
  • clients of physiotherapists
  • employers of physiotherapists
  • other physiotherapists

Members of the College are required to file a complaint, if during their practise they have obtained reasonable grounds to believe that another member of the same or different College has sexually abused a patient. 

The first step of the complaint process is at the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, often referred to as the “ICRC”.

The ICRC is a written process – the complainant, the College and the member exchange a series of documents:

  1. A complaint against a member is made
  2. The College provides the member with an official acknowledgement of the complaint
  3. The member has an opportunity to file a written response to the complaint
  4. The ICRC will issue a decision

The ICRC may:

  • Take no further action and caution the member
  • Make recommendations or issue guidance or advice
  • Require that the member participate in initiatives intended to improve practice
  • Place terms, conditions, or limitations on the member’s certificate of registration
  • Refer a matter to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee

These outcomes can have very serious financial and personal impacts on members.  If you have received a complaint from the College of Physiotherapists, please contact us today.

Discipline Committee

If the ICRC considers a complaint to be serious it can be referred to the Discipline Committee.

Before a matter progresses to a hearing at the Discipline Committee a pre-hearing may occur.  A pre-hearing is an opportunity for the College and the member to present their case in an informal manner.  

In our experience a pre-hearing at a college can be used to:

  • Reduce the allegations against a member
  • Reduce the penalty being sought by a member
  • Raise important legal issues before trial

At the Discipline Committee a trial may take place where witnesses are called, and evidence is heard.

Outcomes at the Discipline Committee can include:

  • Revocation of the member’s certificate
  • Suspension of the member’s certificate
  • Terms, conditions, and limitations on the member’s certificate
  • Orders for the member to pay some or all of the costs of a trial

These are extremely serious public outcomes.  If your matter has or could be referred to the Discipline Committee, please contact us today.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee is a specialized Committee dealing with cases where a member’s conduct was impacted by an ongoing medical physical or mental health condition.  

In our experience, a referral to the Fitness to Practise Committee can offer a number of benefits to members, because:

  • Complaints are generally resolved in a more private manner
  • The goal of the process is ensuring the health of the member

However, it is unusual for members to be referred to Fitness to Practise Committees without legal representation.  It takes experienced and detailed representation to present the evidence screening Committees, like the ICRC, want to see to consider a referral to Fitness to Practise.  If there is a complaint against you, please contact us today.


Decisions of the:

  • ICRC, and
  • Registration Committee

can be appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (“HPARB”).

Decisions of the:

  • Discipline Committee, and
  • Fitness to Practise Committee,

can be appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court. 

Unfortunately, self-represented individuals are very rarely successful in appeals.  We have unique expertise in appeals from regulatory colleges.  If you are considering an appeal, please contact us today.