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Conduct Matters: Practicing Without a Valid Practice Permit

Mid October, the Conduct Coordinator received a call from a medical representative working in large multinational technology company. The caller reported having a conversation with a physiotherapist who they thought to be “rude.” The caller then checked the physiotherapist’s status using the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s public register, Verify a Physiotherapist, and was surprised to find the physiotherapist’s practice permit had expired on September 30th.

Consequences: conduct

Practicing without a valid practice permit is unprofessional conduct in accordance with s. 1(1)(pp)(ii) of the Health Professions Act. Failure to complete the annual renewal process and continuing to practice after a practice permit expires is a serious conduct issue requiring investigation and sanctions.

The investigated member received a “cease and desist letter” from the Registrar requiring them to provide a written explanation detailing why the registration deadline was not met and exactly when services as a physiotherapist were provided after their practice permit expired.

The Complaints Director then initiated a complaint against the investigated member for providing professional services as a physiotherapist when they were not authorized to do so.

The investigated person acknowledged providing services when not authorized and the seriousness of their mistake. As permitted by the Health Professions Act, the Complaints Director entered a formal, binding agreement with the investigated member to resolve the complaint. The investigated member was required to:

  • Inform their employer they were not authorized to provide physiotherapy services
  • Notify every patient billed for physiotherapy services when not authorized to do so and provide a resolution plan for the inappropriate billing
  • Review Legislative Responsibilities Standard of Practice
  • Review Code of Ethical Conduct for Physiotherapists of Alberta
  • Pay a $500 fine

Consequences: registration

The investigated member had not renewed their practice permit despite several notices from the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta. The investigated member’s renewal application, when finally submitted, could not be approved until the Registrar was satisfied that the investigated member met the good character and reputation requirement which included the investigated member’s participation in the conduct process.

Conditions were placed on the investigated member’s practice permit, and available on the public register, until the conduct undertakings were completed to the satisfaction of the Complaints Director.

Page updated: 20/04/2022