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Notice: Continuing Education Pertaining to Restricted Activities and Physiotherapist Interns

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta regularly receives questions from registrants, including physiotherapists on both the General and Provisional Registers, regarding a physiotherapist intern’s (those individuals currently on the Provisional Register) ability to participate in continuing education programs related to restricted activities.

All physiotherapists are reminded that individuals on the Provisional Register are not eligible to engage in the following activities on another human being in any context, clinical or educational:

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Dry needling

Restricted activities are established through the Government Organizations Act. This Act also establishes fines up to $25,000 should an individual fail to comply with the provisions related to mandatory authorization to perform the activity.

The restriction prohibiting physiotherapist interns from performing spinal manipulation and dry needling on other human beings stems directly from the specific wording of Sections 13-16 of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation.

The restriction means that although a physiotherapist intern could register for and complete the theoretical component of a continuing education program pertaining to spinal manipulation or dry needling, the physiotherapist intern could not legally engage in the practical component of the continuing education program.

Failure to comply with the legislation that governs practice is a matter the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta takes seriously. Evidence of a physiotherapist intern’s failure to comply with the provisions of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation or the Standards of Practice may be considered unprofessional conduct.

Physiotherapist interns, their supervising physiotherapists, employers, and continuing education providers are reminded of the provisions of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation. Individuals with questions regarding the legislation and professional requirements related to restricted activities are directed to contact the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s Practice Advisor.

Page updated: 08/11/2022