Who is an Osteopath in Canada?

The Canadian Federation of Osteopaths represents five provincial associations across Canada which are in the process of establishing the manual practice of osteopathy as a regulated profession, on behalf of  their members,  who are educated in the manual practice of osteopathy. 

In Canada, the non-physician manual practice of osteopathy is practiced in almost all of the provinces.  For more information, and  to verify the membership of each provincial association, please access the provincial association websites below.

The title "Osteopath" is protected and controlled,  in some provinces,  by the respective medical regulatory college for physicians and surgeons.  U.S. trained osteopathic physicians are not affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Osteopaths.  There are no osteopathic medical colleges in Canada.



In Alberta the titles "Osteopath" and "osteopathic practitioner" are protected by the Health Professions Act. This means that only licensed, medically trained, Osteopathic Physicians graduating from American universities can use them. For this reason non-physician Osteopaths graduating from Colleges outside America use the title "osteopathic manual therapist" if they want to work in Alberta. 

The AAOMT is a first step in the organization and regulation of manual practice osteopathic therapists in Alberta. It agrees with and meets the Osteopathic International Alliance and World Osteopathic Health Organization in both the definitions of an Osteopath and an Osteopathic Physician and the minimum educational requirements for both. In order to support both these organizations and further Osteopathy in Canada the AAOMT will be taking all the steps necessary to get manual osteopathic therapists recognized and protected both nationally and provincially.

The Alberta Health Act can be found at:  http://www.qp.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=A19P5.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779754809


The BC Society for the Promotion of Manual Practice Osteopathy (SPMPO) was incorporated under the Society Act of the Province of British Columbia in 2005 and has been a member of the Osteopathic International Alliance since 2008. It is an association of professional Osteopathic Practitioners committed to fostering education of the public about osteopathy, demonstrating accountability and ethical practice, and providing a list of practitioners whose training and qualifications are of a high standard. There are currently 36 members and membership comprises the majority of fully qualified osteopathic practitioners in BC, including members trained in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
In BC, non physician osteopaths, known throughout the rest of the world as simply ‘osteopaths’ use the title “Osteopathic Practitioner” to differentiate themselves from American trained osteopathic physicians who were legally granted exclusive use of the title ‘osteopath” in June 2009. Both streams of osteopathy are currently practiced in BC. For more information about the SPMPO see our website: www.osteopathybc.ca

A link to Health Professional Regulation in BC can be found at: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/professional-regulation/


There is no title protection in Manitoba for “Osteopath”.  Osteopathic physicians can practice in Manitoba under the CPSA.  There is now a college of manual osteopathy in Winnipeg, which is an affiliate school of the CCO, Toronto.  There is a growing student association, which is in contact with the CFO.  We anticipate a full association in the next 2-4 years.

The government of Manitoba Health Legislation can be found at:  www.gov.mb.ca/legistlation/index.html


There is no title protection in New Brunswick for “Osteopath”.  There is an association of Manual Osteopaths, however they are not currently represented within the CFO.

The government of New Brunswick health legislation can be found at:  laws.gnb/en/showfulldoc/cs/H-3/20130310


There is no title protection in Newfoundland & Labrador for “Osteopath”. 
At present, there is no association representing manual Osteopaths in Newfoundland & Labrador.

The government of Newfoundland & Labrador Health Act can be found at: policymonitor.ca/health-care/nfld-health-professions-act/


The Nova Scotia Association of Osteopaths or NSAO (http://www.novascotiaosteopaths.ca) is the professional association established in 2006 to provide a unified voice for osteopaths.
In 2011 The New Medical Act (Bill 55) was passed, it states in section 22(A)(31): "no person shall use the title Doctor of Osteopathy or abbreviations or derivations thereof or the title Osteopathic Physician". 
(A link to Nova Scotia Health Legislation can be found at:  http://www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/stat/sns-2011-c-38/latest/sns-2011-c-38.html​ )
The NSAO Board of Directors has initiated contact with both The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS), past and current provincial governments and is working diligently towards the eventual goal of provincial regulation of osteopathy for its members.


The Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OAO) is a voluntary, not for profit, professional association which promotes the
practice of osteopathy, establishes and maintains standards for safe, effective and ethical treatment, and, organizes continuing professional development
programs to advance the knowledge of osteopathy in the province of Ontario. The OAO is a partner member of the Osteopathic International Alliance.

Formed in 1999, the OAO's  mission is: Committed to fostering the practice and professional advancement of osteopathy in Ontario.  The OAO Board of Directors has developed a strategic plan to guide their actions and outcomes for their desired state.  The OAO is working to develop the necessary documentation to secure the enactment of legislation to regulate Osteopathic Manual Practitioners, under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, or other legislation in Ontario.

There are seven standing committees of the Board – Executive, Education, Membership, Professional Practice and Conduct,  Public Relations, Research and, Standards.  The OAO has developed a 64 item entry level competencies profile and is currently in the process of developing performance indicators and learning objectives as part of the competencies project.  We have a new Code of Ethics booklet and are in the process of developing a Standards of Practice document for our members.  
For more information please visit www.osteopathyontario.org

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario regulates the practice of medicine and restricts the use of the title “osteopath” to their registrants, according to the Medicine Act, 1991.  The Medicine Act can be found at:  http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_940114_e.htm


There is no title protection in PEI for “Osteopath”, and there is no licensure for Osteopathic Physicians to practice under the CPSA. 
At present, there is no association representing manual Osteopaths in PEI.

The government of Prince Edward Island health legislation can be found at: www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/H-0106.pdf


The profession of osteopathy is not officially recognized in the province of Québec. The practicing osteopaths are well perceived by the general population and appreciated by their patients and the medical doctors who often refer patients.

Most D.O.’s graduated from two original osteopathic schools in Montreal. The Collège d’Études Ostéopathiques (C.E.O.) was founded in 1981. The Centre Ostéopathique du Québec opened in 1985. These two schools have granted D.O.diplomas to nearly one thousand graduates.

There are 3 other schools in Montreal, more recently founded. They have graduated some 25 to 30 D.O.’s each in their first ten years.

Two associations have been gathering osteopaths from the first two schools. The primary goal of the “Régistre des Ostéopathes du Québec (R.O.Q.)”, founded in 1984, was to prepare the D.O.’s to practice under self regulation, guided by a code of ethics to guarantee quality service to the public. It was intended as a temporary measure to prepare for recognition of the osteopathic profession in the province of Québec. The founding president, a M.D. and the vice president, a physiotherapist structured the register on the model of their original professions

It was in 1992 that the same people founded a second association, the “Association des Ostéopathes du Québec”(A.D.O.Q.)”. The goal of this association was in the interest of the practicing Osteopaths.  Benefits to the Osteopaths included malpractice insurance, and reimbursement of their treatments by private health insurance providers.

Competence and integrity of the members are dictated by similar code of ethics and regulations in both associations. Practicing D.O.’s arre invited to be members of both associations,  which are complementary to each other.

For the last two years, the Québec government through the Office des Professions du Québec(O.P.Q.) has been studying the possibility of recognizing osteopathy as a new profession. The number of people treated in osteopathy has come to the attention of the public authorities and there is a growing interest for a new profession complementary to medicine and other existing health professions.

Quebec Health Legislation can be found at:  http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=2&file=/M_9/M9.HTM


There is a developing association in Saskatchewan, who are in contact with the CFO.

Provincial Titles

Osteopathic Practitioner

British Columbia

          Society for the Promotion of Manual Practice Osteopathy (SPMPO)

Osteopathic Manual Therapist


           Alberta Association of Osteopathic Manual Therapists (AAOMT)


Osteopathic Manual Practitioner


        Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners

Nova Scotia

        Nova Scotia Association of Osteopaths


        Association des Ostéopathes du Québec (ADOQ)