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Mandate Change Update: January 2022

Background

In December 2020, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2) (“Bill 46”) received Royal Assent. The Act includes several amendments to the Health Professions Act (HPA) including provisions that require regulatory colleges to cease functioning as professional associations and to divest themselves of any professional association functions they currently perform.

As an organization that had adopted a formal dual mandate as both College and Association, it is clear the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta must divest ourselves of professional association functions.

As part of this process, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta staff and Council have been working through the process of reviewing all our current functions to ensure they are consistent with our role as a single mandate organization. This included development of regulatory principles to identify what is or is not within our mandate. These principles are used to guide decisions about College functions and activities that support our regulatory mandate.

Changes to website and functions

On January 1, 2022 the College ceased functions and activities that have been identified as association functions. As mentioned in the November and December newsletters, some resources available on the Physiotherapy Alberta website would be retired and other member services functions would be discontinued. Notably missed on the website will be Find a Physiotherapist, the job board and professional development event listings.

The Find a Physiotherapist function that was once available on the Physiotherapy Alberta website has been discontinued. The initial objective of this feature was to promote the profession and conditions physiotherapists treat while assisting a patient to find a physiotherapist that meets their needs. This feature was frequently visited on the website allowing patients to search for regulated physiotherapists based on conditions treated, languages spoken, facility employed and restricted activities performed. We know that many physiotherapists also used this tool.

A regulatory college is responsible for carrying out activities in a manner that protects and serves the public interest. While Find a Physiotherapist was useful for patients to search for a physiotherapist that treated a specific condition, this information is self declared by the physiotherapist. The college does not have the capacity to verify the physiotherapist has the skills, knowledge, and competence to treat the conditions they declare. This could put the public at risk, particularly if the public perceives that the information has been verified by the college.

As we considered our role as a single mandate organization, it was determined that the college would only continue with a public register, “Verify a Physiotherapist” which is required by legislation.

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta has enhanced “Verify a Physiotherapist” to allow an individual to search for a regulated physiotherapist by name, facility employed, or postal code. The public register provides details of a physiotherapist’s registration status/history, employment, conditions, authorizations to perform restricted activities and any conduct findings on record. This function aligns with our single mandate providing the public access to accurate, verifiable information about registered physiotherapists.

Next steps

We encourage physiotherapists to visit the Alberta Association of Physiotherapy website to opt in for your membership to receive direct communications from the association and updates on the work they are doing. Should you have association related questions, you can email info@albertaphysio.com.

In the coming months, Physiotherapy Alberta will begin operating under a new name – the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta. With a new name, comes a new brand including a new logo and website design. We will keep you updated along the way as we prepare for the launch of our new brand.

Page updated: 20/04/2022