Physiotherapy is a controlled profession in Canada, regulated by the government through licensing laws. It is illegal to practice physical therapy or use the PT designation without a license. Candidates applying for licenses must fulfill educational and practical work requirements that vary depending on the province in which they practice, but there are a few requirements that apply to all.
To become a physiotherapist in Canada, you must complete a masters degree in Physiotherapy (MscPT) from an accredited college or university. The hands-on component of physiotherapy programs typically requires students to complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours. There are currently 15 universities in Canada that offer physiotherapy programs.
After completing a physiotherapy program, most provinces require you to register as a physiotherapist in the province in which you intend to practice. Most provinces also require that you pass the national Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) after completing a physiotherapy program but before you start practising. The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) administers exams for competency on behalf of most of the provincial and territorial regulators. Each provincial and territorial regulator may also have additional requirements before you can practise. The Alliance also evaluates your credentials if you have been licensed in another country and wish to move to Canada. CAPR provides information to the regulators on credentials and qualifications, and the regulators decide whether to grant an applicant a licence to practise.
Once you receive your license, you must demonstrate your ability to continue providing safe, competent care by maintaining current knowledge and skills throughout your career. You can accomplish this by enrolling in continuing education programs and participating in your province’s local physiotherapist association. Requirements vary by province; for example, Ontario requires you to assemble a portfolio that you must update each year and participate in random panels to assess competency.