Regulation of Homeopathy: (As of April 26th 2010)
As you probably know, the transitional Council of the College* of Homeopaths of Ontario was appointed last October. The TC’s role is to create a framework for developing and maintaining standards of practice, entry to practice requirements, standards of professional ethics, and continuing education standards. It is also required to inventory and register Ontario’s homeopaths. Nine of the members are professional homeopaths; the remaining seven are non-homeopaths. The role of the council is to protect the public.
The immediate concern of many in the homeopathic community was that the Ontario Homeopathic Association (OHA), with six of nine homeopath members, is vastly over represented. Now the questions haunting the rest of the community is: will OHA use this majority to push through regulation policies which favour its interests and that of the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine, with which it is affiliated, at the expense of other associations and schools; how much detriment will that cause to the profession itself, as well as its clientele; will it threaten the livelihood of any homeopaths or any homeopathic schools; will the checks and balances built into the regulatory structure be sufficient to offset any attempts; and how will the rest of the community be able to influence matters so as to offset any attempts?
Unfortunately, homeopathic schools are still receiving calls from prospective students saying that someone at OCHM told them—never in writing—that only OCHM training will guarantee their future as homeopaths under regulation, a long-standing deceptive practice that now smacks of an abuse of the heavy OHA presence on the TC. Attempts have been and are continuing to be made to bring this to the attention of the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
The other driver of divisiveness in the profession with respect to regulation is the OHA’s long-standing refusal to communicate with and sincerely seek input from the rest of the profession.
Because of these concerns, there are a number of parties watching the movements of the TC like a hawk, including NUPATH (which has no members on the TC), which struck a committee for that purpose at our last AGM in October. Since then, members of the committee and the NUPATH board of directors have attended both TC meetings that were open to the public. As well as the TC, the Ministry appointed a Registrar, Basil Ziv, last April, and has since filled out the fledgling college’s staff with four full-time administrative and research workers. The TC and Basil, as head of the staff, both report to Deb Matthews the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
One of the staff’s tasks is research, which will be presented to the council so as to aid in their decisions. They are looking at topics such as: what are the core competencies a homeopath must have (so as to help determine standards of entry into the profession), how is regulation of homeopathy handled in other countries, and what established standards already exist.
Meanwhile, the transitional Council is grappling with such questions as who to include in the profession, i.e. who in Ontario is a homeopath and qualified to be a member of the College of Homeopaths, and how that will be determined.
Homeopathy is a small profession—some 600-800 practitioners in the province—facing a heavy financial burden with regulation. From that you can deduce (though not be certain) that the TC can’t exclude too many of those people, since their membership dues to the college will eventually carry that burden. At the Jan. 22 meeting, the point was stressed by the TC’s legal counsel, Richard Steinecke, that grand fathering of some sort will be necessary.
The TC will meet about five times per year, and its committees (whose roles are set out by legislation) more frequently and in private. It has a three-year deadline to complete its tasks, and its members have been appointed for two-year terms. As soon as its task is complete, a College Council made up of homeopaths elected by Ontario’s homeopaths, along with public appointees in the same proportion, will replace it. Because of this, a second long-term strategy of NUPATH is to expand its membership and so strengthen its voice.
The TC website is now up at http://www.collegeofhomeopaths.on.ca/ and has an FAQ page that answers many questions. Look for the addition of an online facility for sharing information and ideas called Think Homeopathy, which will allow other members of the community to publicly offer input, sometime in the next few months.
You may safely expect NUPATH to represent the interests of you and your clientele by continuing to monitor the regulation process, and by exerting influence to that effect wherever necessary and possible.
Karen Wehrstein, President of NUPATH
*About this usage of the word “college,” which has caused a fair amount of confusion: all regulated professions in Ontario are called “Colleges” – such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Nurses, etc. The word in this context means the body of members of a regulated profession—NOT an educational institute. Thus people who are worried that it means there will be but one “College of Homeopaths” from which you can take a homeopathic diploma can put their minds at rest.
Notes from the Oct.31,2007 presentation on the Roles of Professions and the Transitional Council
We were assured that no one organization will form the Transitional Council.The government expects the final selection of members may be done by April 2008.
There will be 6-8 public members and 7-9 professional members appointed.Members who apply to the Transitional Council will be selected on the basis of knowledge and experience in the areas of legislation, finance, professional experience, knowledge of colleges, policy development and public service.Since the Transitional Council members will be selected by their qualifications only, there will not necessarily be an equal balance of members from across the homeopathic schools/organizations.
The ministry indicated that in the past they have provided resources for start up of the Councils in the form of recoverable loans.They are unsure of the process this time.
We should note that the profession of homeopathy has no controlled acts.There is title protection of Homeopath.So as long as people do not call themselves Homeopaths they can practice as an unregulated person who does homeopathy.The time line is interesting.It may be 2-3 years or longer before the Transitional Council is finished its job and this piece of Bill 171 can be enacted by the formation of the College of Homeopathy.
The College is a regulatory body that sets minimum standards of practice that a Homeopath must meet in order to be registered.The purpose of a college is to protect the public by ensuring these standards are met.
The following PDFs are from the presentation by the government on Oct. 31, 2007. Nup
ath was present.
Helen Hardinge Field, President of Nupath (2007)