Dear patients,

We want to alert you to a proposed change in Ontario’s health care system that may threaten your ability to access Integrative Medicine services from physicians.

The change is an update of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) policy on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). This update adds major barriers to the processes required to offer CAM which will prevent physicians from being able to offer integrative medicine, and will thus directly impact a patient’s ability to access it. The updated policy has increased restrictions on a physician’s scope of practice, the types of treatment modalities they can use, extensive documentation requirements, and increased evidence requirements to support the use of any complementary, new or innovative therapies. These expectations go above and beyond the expectations set out for physicians practicing conventional medicine, and will make it virtually impossible for integrative medicine physicians to practice in Ontario.

Furthermore, the policy’s tone towards integrative medicine physicians is condescending. It requires physicians to duplicate conventional assessments and treatments before offering any kind of complementary medicine, suggests that integrative physicians are more likely to exploit their patients, and states (falsely) that complementary therapies are rampant with risks of harm and not based on evidence or science. We must not tolerate this blatant bias against integrative and complementary therapies.

Integrative medicine is a recognized discipline in the USA and is board-certifiable through the American Board of Physician Specialties. Canadian physicians have worked hard to learn, certify, and offer these therapies to YOU, our patients, because we believe this is the right kind of health care and because you, our patients, want a health care provider who can discuss all forms of medical therapy for you – both conventional and complementary.

The CPSO is inviting feedback on their proposed update until March 15th , 2021 before it is approved in June. Here are a few things you could do:

1) Visit the CPSO CAM policy consultation webpage to:
a. Review the CPSO’s proposed draft policy and physician advice document.
b. Complete a brief anonymous online survey.
c. Post your comments on the policy on the online discussion page.

2) View, sign and share the change.org petition, “Access to Complementary and Alternative Medicine At Risk”

3) Visit the Ontario Patients for Integrative Medicine website www.onpim.ca for more information, including how to send a letter to your member of parliament, or the health minister, Christine Elliott.

Please consider this an urgent request. Share this news with your social network. If you value integrative healthcare, make your voice heard.

In appreciation,

Centre for Health Innovation

On behalf of:

Ontario Patients for Integrative Medicine