Comprehensive Guide for Insurance Companies on ACMA Association

Comprehensive Guide for Insurance Companies about ACMA Association #


ACMA Association is a professional organization for manual osteopaths in Canada. The comprehensive guide is designed to provide a detailed overview of the association, its purpose, operations, educational prerequisites, and professional standards.

The mandate of ACMA Association is multifaceted, encompassing representation, promotion, and protection of osteopathy across Canada. The association advocates for its members, champions their interests, and facilitates communication within the osteopathic community and with other stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The association is also dedicated to the advancement and promotion of osteopathy as a vital and respected discipline within the health and wellness landscape.

The procedures of ACMA Association involve a wide range of activities, including member recruitment, setting and enforcing professional standards, advocating for the profession, and liaising with insurance companies and other healthcare entities.

The educational requirements for membership in ACMA Association align with the standards defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2010 document “Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy“. The association requires that a candidate has completed a rigorous and comprehensive Type II osteopathy program, which must include a minimum of 2000 hours of training, including at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical training, or its equivalent.

The standards of practice set by ACMA Association are comprehensive guidelines that govern the conduct, ethics, and competence required of its members. These standards ensure high-quality care for patients and are divided into three main themes: Communication and Patient Partnership, Knowledge, Skills and Performance, and Safety and Quality in Practice.

The guide is intended to inform insurance companies about the association and its practices. The goal is to get the association approved by insurers, which would mean that insurance companies recognize the association and its members, and are willing to reimburse for the osteopathic treatments they provide. This is crucial for the members of the association, as it ensures that their services are recognized and valued, and that their patients can receive insurance coverage for the treatments they provide.


ACMA Association Overview #

ACMA Association, operational since 2008, is a professional organization dedicated to manual osteopaths across all provinces of Canada. It serves as a central body for osteopaths, providing representation, promotion, and protection for the profession within the country.

The representation aspect of its mandate involves acting as a voice for osteopaths in discussions with regulatory bodies, healthcare organizations, and the public. This includes advocating for the interests of osteopaths in policy decisions, regulations, and public discourse.

The promotion aspect involves raising the profile of osteopathy as a profession and a healthcare discipline. This can include public relations activities, marketing efforts, and outreach to other healthcare professionals and organizations. The goal is to increase the visibility and recognition of osteopathy in the broader healthcare landscape.

The protection aspect of ACMA Association’s mandate involves safeguarding the professional interests of its members. This can include legal advocacy, professional standards enforcement, and efforts to ensure fair treatment of osteopaths in the healthcare system and the marketplace.

ACMA Association has an extensive membership base, comprising hundreds of osteopaths across Canada. It is committed to advocating for these members, ensuring their voices are heard, and their professional interests are represented.

In addition to these roles,  ACMA Association also has an educational mission. It works to raise awareness about osteopathy, both among healthcare professionals and among the public. This involves educating people about the principles of osteopathy, the benefits it can offer, and its role in holistic health care. Holistic health care is an approach to health that considers the whole person and how they interact with their environment, rather than focusing on specific illnesses or parts of the body.

By fostering a deeper understanding of osteopathy, ACMA Association helps to promote acceptance and recognition of the profession, which can lead to increased opportunities for osteopaths and better health outcomes for patients.


ACMA represents a diverse range of other healthcare professionals #

While the ACMA Association primarily serves osteopaths, it also represents a diverse range of other healthcare professionals. Many of our members, in addition to being osteopaths, hold credentials in other disciplines such as Naturopathy, Naturotherapy, Massage Therapy, Kinesitherapy, and Kinesiology. This multidisciplinary membership base reflects the holistic and integrative approach to health that is central to osteopathy. It also allows our members to provide a broad range of services to their patients and to bill under these various professions if they hold the appropriate credentials. This diversity not only enriches our association but also enhances the scope of care our members can provide, ultimately benefiting the patients they serve.


Advanced membership to the College of Canadian Osteopaths #

The ACMA Association is proud to announce that its members are automatically granted membership in the College of Canadian Osteopaths, provided they meet certain conditions. The College of Canadian Osteopaths is a non-profit association that represents osteopaths who have not only completed rigorous training in osteopathy but also hold a master’s or doctorate degree in a health-related field. This could include degrees such as Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Chiropractic, or Physiotherapist. The College prides itself on including only those osteopaths who have undergone stringent training and whose skills align with the high standards established for the practice of osteopathy. This dual membership further underscores the commitment of ACMA members to professional excellence and the provision of high-quality, holistic healthcare. More info


Key Information #

  • Name of Profession: Osteopathy
  • Name of the Association: ACMA Association (in French: Alliance Canadienne de Médecine alternative)
  • Membership total: 503 (updated on 05/29/2023)
  • Years of the existence of the association: Since 2008
  • Address: 1375 av. Normandie, Mascouche, QC, J7L 0A3, Canada
  • Website:
  • E-mail address:
  • Telephone: 1-888-393-9394
  • Contact person: Dr. Sylvain Desforges, president
  • Number of staff employed: 12
  • Board of directors: Dr Sylvain Desforges, president; Natalie Crevier, treasury; and Sophie Desforges, secretary


Mandate of Association #

The ACMA Association is committed to a multifaceted mandate that encompasses representation, promotion, and protection within the sphere of osteopathy across Canada. It represents and advocates for its extensive membership base, champions their interests, and facilitates communication among the osteopathic community and with other stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The association is also dedicated to the advancement and promotion of osteopathy as a vital and respected discipline within the health and wellness landscape.


Scope of practice #

The scope of practice for osteopaths who are members of the ACMA encompasses a wide range of areas. Osteopaths apply the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and biomechanics in their practice. They are involved in the comprehensive care of their patients, emphasizing the structural and functional integrity of the body. Here are some components of their practice:

  1. Patient Assessment: Osteopaths perform a thorough assessment of the patient which includes taking a detailed medical history, performing a physical examination, and, if necessary, ordering laboratory tests or imaging studies. This assessment helps them in making an accurate diagnosis.
  2. Treatment: Osteopaths provide treatment that aims to improve the function of the body by restoring movement and reducing pain. This is achieved through manual techniques such as soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, and stretching exercises. They also provide advice on posture, exercise, diet, and lifestyle to support the recovery and overall health of their patients.
  3. Prevention: A significant part of osteopathy involves preventing health issues from occurring or reoccurring. This includes advising patients on self-care strategies and lifestyle changes that can help maintain their health and prevent the onset of illness.
  4. Collaboration: Osteopaths often collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure that their patients receive the best possible care. This may include referring patients to other specialists or integrating their treatment with other therapies.

It’s important to note that the specific scope of practice may vary depending on the local regulations and laws pertaining to osteopathy in the region where the osteopath practices.


Body of Knowledge #

The Body of Knowledge in osteopathy, as upheld by the ACMA Association, is a comprehensive set of information and skills that osteopaths must master to provide effective and safe care to their patients. This body of knowledge is derived from rigorous and extensive training in osteopathy, which is grounded in a holistic understanding of the human body and its interconnected systems.

Principles and Practices of Osteopathy: At the heart of this body of knowledge are the principles and practices of osteopathy itself. Osteopathy emphasizes the integral relationship between the structure and function of the body, understanding that disruptions in one area can impact the overall health and well-being of the individual. Osteopaths are trained to identify and treat these disruptions through manual techniques aimed at restoring balance and promoting the body’s natural healing processes.

Anatomy and Physiology: A deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology is fundamental to the practice of osteopathy. This includes knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, the circulatory system, and other body systems. Osteopaths must understand how these systems function individually and in relation to each other to accurately diagnose and treat their patients.

Pathophysiology: Pathophysiology, the study of how disease processes affect the body, is another crucial component of the osteopathic body of knowledge. Understanding the mechanisms of disease helps osteopaths identify the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms and develop effective treatment plans.

Biomechanics, Neurology, Radiology, Nutrition, Exercise Science, and Clinical Methods: These areas of study provide osteopaths with a broad and diverse set of tools to approach patient care. Biomechanics and neurology inform the understanding of body movements and nervous system functions. Radiology skills enable osteopaths to interpret imaging studies, while knowledge of nutrition and exercise science helps them guide patients in maintaining and improving their health. Clinical methods encompass the practical skills needed to assess patients, formulate diagnoses, and implement treatment plans.

In summary, the Body of Knowledge in osteopathy is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary set of information and skills that enables osteopaths to provide holistic, patient-centered care. By mastering this body of knowledge, members of the ACMA Association are well-equipped to promote health and well-being among their patients.


Professional Titles and Designations #

Professional titles and designations play a crucial role in the healthcare field as they signify a practitioner’s qualifications, expertise, and standing within their profession. In the context of osteopathy, the ACMA Association recognizes two professional titles in osteopathy: “Manual Osteopath” and “Osteopath“.

The title “Manual Osteopath” is used to denote practitioners who specialize in manual therapy techniques to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of health issues. These practitioners have undergone extensive training in the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system to promote healing and wellness.

The title “Osteopath” is a broader designation that encompasses all practitioners of osteopathy, including those who specialize in manual therapy techniques as well as other aspects of osteopathic care. This title signifies a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of osteopathy and the ability to apply this knowledge in a clinical setting.

These titles are not merely symbolic; they carry significant weight and responsibility. They are exclusively restricted to members of the profession who have completed the requisite training in osteopathy and are in good standing with the ACMA Association. This means that they have met all the educational and professional requirements set by the association, adhere to its code of ethics, and maintain their skills through continuous professional development.

By restricting the use of these titles, the ACMA Association ensures that only qualified practitioners can represent the profession. This protects the integrity of the profession, safeguards the public by ensuring that they receive care from competent practitioners, and provides a clear way for patients, other healthcare providers, and insurance companies to recognize qualified osteopaths.


Standards of Practice #

The ACMA Association’s Standards of Practice are a comprehensive set of guidelines that govern the conduct, ethics, and competence required of its members. These standards ensure high-quality care for patients and are divided into three main themes: Communication and Patient Partnership, Knowledge, Skills and Performance, and Safety and Quality in Practice.

Communication and Patient Partnership: This theme emphasizes the importance of effective communication and forming strong patient partnerships. It includes standards for respecting patients’ individuality, concerns, and preferences, and for ensuring patients are informed and involved in decisions about their care. It also covers the importance of gaining valid consent for all aspects of evaluation and treatment.

Knowledge, Skills and Performance: This theme focuses on the need for practitioners to have the knowledge and skills to support their practice as primary healthcare professionals. It includes standards for maintaining and developing these skills throughout their careers, working within the limits of their knowledge, skills, and experience, and keeping professional knowledge and skills up to date.

Safety and Quality in Practice: This theme sets out the standards for delivering high-quality and safe healthcare to patients. It includes standards for conducting patient evaluations, delivering safe and competent care, ensuring comprehensive and accurate patient records, safeguarding patients, and maintaining a safe, clean, and hygienic practice environment.

These standards are designed to ensure that ACMA Association members provide the highest level of care to their patients. They cover a broad range of areas, including clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, manual techniques, patient communication, record keeping, and ethical conduct. For more detailed information, you can visit the ACMA Association Practice Standards page here.


Membership requirements #

  1. Pass a mandatory entrance exam that includes questions related to the ACMA Code of Ethics and our complaints management process. This review ensures that the practitioner understands and adheres to the ethical and professional standards we expect from our members.
  2. Maintain active professional liability insurance, with a minimum coverage of one million dollars per claim and a total of three million dollars for all claims occurring during the term of the policy. This insurance guarantees financial protection for both the practitioner and his patients in the event of legal proceedings.
  3. Commit to participating in a continuing education program and accumulate at least 30 hours of continuing education specifically related to the practice of their profession over a two-year reference period. This requirement ensures that our members keep their skills up to date and continue to deepen their knowledge in their field.
  4. Commit to the ACMA Code of Ethics and adhere to the Association’s Standards of Professional Practice. This commitment ensures that all our members adhere to a common set of values and ethical standards in the practice of their profession.
  5. To ensure they receive all important information and updates from the association, practitioners must register on the ACMA group page on Facebook. This registration guarantees constant and effective communication between the association and its members.
  6. Provide proof of their professional qualification, including all relevant diplomas and transcripts. This allows us to verify the practitioner’s training and ensure that they have received the appropriate education for the practice of osteopathy.
  7. For verification purposes, we require members to also submit an ID card (passport of driver’s license) to make sure all the details are up-to-date and valid.
  8. Membership Payment: To officially become a member, a membership fee is required.
  9. All members have to complete their Online Profile on ACMA Association website. This profile will serve as a digital identity in our community, allowing other members to know more about them and their professional background.


Educational Requirements #

To become a member of the ACMA Association, we align ourselves with the educational standards defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2010 document “Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy“. In line with these standards, we require that a candidate has completed a rigorous and comprehensive Type II osteopathy program. This program must include a minimum of 2000 hours of training, including at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical training, or its equivalent. This supervised clinical training ensures that our members gain extensive practical experience to complement their theoretical training.

In addition to these initial requirements, the ACMA imposes an obligation of continuing education on all its members. Each member must accumulate a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education, specifically related to the practice of their profession, over a biennial reference period. This requirement ensures that our members remain at the forefront of the latest advances, techniques and best practices in osteopathy, enabling them to provide the best possible care to their patients.

If a prospective member has less than the minimum education or training hours required, they would not be accepted into the association. It’s crucial for members to fulfill the mandatory requirements to ensure they possess the necessary skills and knowledge in their field. In cases where the required minimum education or training hours are not met, no compensation or alternative criteria are enforced. It is essential for the prospective member to meet all education and training standards in order to ensure the high quality and professionalism expected within our association. This includes completing the mandatory education/training hours as well as passing the preliminary examination, which assesses the individual’s knowledge and competency in the relevant areas of their practice. There are no provisions such as grandfathering or compensatory education offered to compensate for less education.


Competency Exam #

To join the association, the practitioner is required to pass a preliminary examination. This examination is essential to assess the practitioner’s knowledge and competence in the relevant areas of his or her practice. The review has specific sections that cover the association’s code of ethics and complaint process, to ensure that the practitioner is knowledgeable and can adhere to ACMA’s ethical standards and practices. In this way, the association strives to maintain a high level of professionalism and quality among its members.


Continuing Education #

To ensure a high level of competence and expertise among its members, ACMA requires its members to devote themselves to a continuing education program. The objective of this program is to enable members to acquire, maintain, renew, improve, deepen and perfect their knowledge, know-how and professional skills, directly related to the practice of osteopathy.

  1. Hours requirement: All ACMA members must complete a continuing education program and accumulate at least 30 hours of continuing education per two-year reference period. This requirement is intended to ensure that our members stay abreast of the latest research and techniques in the field of osteopathy.
  2. Relevance of the topic: Training activities must be strictly related to the professional practice of osteopathy. This may include, but is not limited to, new treatment methods, new research in osteopathy, advances in anatomy and physiology, best practices in patient care, professional ethics, and the management of osteopathic practice.
  3. Pre-approval: All continuing education activities must be pre-approved by ACMA. This ensures that the training is of an appropriate standard, is provided by a qualified trainer, and is relevant to the practice of osteopathy.

By complying with these continuing education requirements, our members demonstrate their commitment to professionalism, excellence in patient care, and continuous improvement of their osteopathic skills and knowledge.


Tracking the continuing education credits for each of its members #

ACMA Association maintains a comprehensive database that tracks the continuing education credits for each of its members. This database is a valuable resource for ensuring that members are meeting their ongoing professional development requirements, which is a key aspect of maintaining high standards of practice in the field of osteopathy.

The database is accessible to the public and can be consulted online. To search for a member’s continuing education credits, you need to enter at least three characters into the search field. The search function will then look at email addresses, first names, last names, and display names to retrieve results. This three-character minimum is in place to maintain some privacy and ensure that people using the form don’t get matches for people other than those they know.

You can access the database and search for accumulated continuing education (CE) credits at the following link: Continuing Education Report – ACMA Association

This transparency and accessibility underscore the ACMA Association’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of professional practice and ensuring that its members continue to advance their knowledge and skills in the field of osteopathy.


ACMA association ensures that a member meets the education and continuing education requirements #

To ensure compliance with educational standards and continuing education requirements, ACMA implements several audit procedures.

  1. Initial validation of studies: When a practitioner applies for ACMA membership, they must provide copies of their diplomas and transcripts. These are reviewed by our team to ensure that the practitioner has met the educational requirements prescribed by the World Health Organization for osteopathic training.
  2. Continuing Education Requirements: To ensure that members meet continuing education requirements, members are required to provide a training certificate indicating the number of hours of continuing education they have completed. This information is then compiled into the ACMA database.
  3. Continuing Education Report or List of Continuing Education Credits: This continuing education report allows anyone who has access to the page to view the courses taken and the credits obtained for any user of the site. This is a great tool to provide third parties and even members with a simple way to validate their training and accumulated credits. You can view ACMA’s continuing education report via our website ( This report details the continuing education activities in which the member participated, including the number of hours and the content of the training. This process allows ACMA to actively monitor its members’ compliance with continuing education requirements.

These rigorous verification and reporting processes ensure that all ACMA members maintain a high level of professional competence and are up-to-date in their knowledge and skills in osteopathy.


List of all schools recognized/accredited by the Association #

ACMA Association employs a rigorous process to confirm that the accredited schools meet the defined educational requirements. This includes a thorough examination of each institution’s syllabus, review of the information provided on the institution’s website, and inspection of student transcripts from these institutions.

To identify schools and training programs that meet ACMA’s membership requirements, you can consult the official list provided by the association on their website. This list, accessible at the address ““, presents all schools of osteopathy accredited by the ACMA. These institutions have been recognized for the quality of their teaching and their programs conform to the training standards established by the association. This recognition ensures that graduates of these schools are well prepared and possess the necessary skills to practice in accordance with ACMA’s principles and standards.

None of the schools or training programs recognized by ACMA are affiliated directly with the association or linked to any of its directors. They are recognized solely on the basis of the quality of their teaching and their compliance with the association’s training standards. This independence ensures objective and fair evaluation of programs, ensuring that ACMA approval is a reliable indicator of academic and professional excellence.

The schools or training programs we have mentioned are recognized by the ACMA, but as far as a specific accrediting body for osteopathy in Canada is concerned, it does not currently exist. However, it is important to note that a professional order for osteopathy is being created in Quebec. Once established, this order could potentially play a role in the accreditation of osteopathic schools and training programs in this province.

It is also worth mentioning that I had the honor of being selected among seven experts in 2008 by the “Office des professions du Québec“. My mission was to help establish the standards of practice and training for osteopaths in Quebec. This work has helped define the requirements for the practice of osteopathy in the province, ensuring a high level of quality and competence in the profession. This experience has given me an in-depth knowledge of industry standards and a unique understanding of osteopathic training and practice.


Quality Assurance Program #

The Quality Assurance Program of the ACMA Association is a comprehensive system designed to ensure that all members consistently deliver high-quality osteopathic care. The program is built on two main pillars: initial application requirements and mandatory continuing education.

Initial Application Requirements: The ACMA Association has stringent application requirements to ensure that only qualified professionals become members. These requirements include a comprehensive program of osteopathy with a minimum of 2000 hours of study, including at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical training. Applicants must also provide proof of professional liability insurance coverage, with a minimum coverage amount of 1 million dollars per claim and an aggregate limit of 3 million dollars. These requirements ensure that all members have the necessary education and training to provide safe and effective osteopathic care, and that they are adequately protected against potential claims.

Mandatory Continuing Education: The ACMA Association believes in the importance of lifelong learning for maintaining and enhancing professional competence. Therefore, it requires all members to engage in continuing education activities as part of their ongoing professional development. These activities may include attending workshops, seminars, and conferences; completing online courses; or participating in research and publication. The continuing education requirement ensures that members stay up-to-date with the latest developments in osteopathy and continually improve their knowledge and skills.

The Quality Assurance Program is a testament to the ACMA Association’s commitment to excellence in osteopathic care. By ensuring that all members meet high standards of education, training, and professional development, the program helps to maintain the integrity of the profession and the trust of patients and other stakeholders.


Liability Insurance Coverage #

Professional liability insurance, also known as malpractice insurance, is a critical component of the risk management strategy for any healthcare provider, including osteopaths. The ACMA Association mandates that all its members carry this type of insurance as a safeguard against potential claims arising from their professional practice.

The requirement for professional liability insurance serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it protects the members of the ACMA Association by providing financial coverage in the event of a claim. This could be a claim for damages resulting from alleged negligence, errors, or omissions in the provision of osteopathic care. The insurance covers the cost of legal defense, as well as any settlements or judgments, up to the limits of the policy.

The minimum coverage amount required by the ACMA Association is 1 million dollars per claim. This means that the insurance will cover up to this amount for any single claim. The policy also has an aggregate limit of 3 million dollars, which is the maximum amount the insurance will pay out for all claims during a policy period.

Secondly, the requirement for professional liability insurance also protects the public. It ensures that if a patient suffers harm as a result of an osteopath’s professional practice, they will have a means of receiving compensation for their damages.

By requiring its members to carry professional liability insurance, the ACMA Association demonstrates its commitment to maintaining high standards of professional accountability and to protecting both its members and the public.


Membership Registry #

The Membership Registry of the ACMA Association is a crucial tool that promotes transparency and accountability within the osteopathic profession. It is a comprehensive and up-to-date online directory that lists all active members of the association, providing essential information about each member, such as their name, location, and contact details.

This registry is publicly accessible, meaning that anyone, including patients, other healthcare providers, and insurance companies, can easily verify the membership status of an osteopath. This is particularly important for patients who are seeking osteopathic care, as it allows them to confirm that a practitioner is a member in good standing with the ACMA Association and is therefore bound by its standards of practice and code of ethics.

The Membership Registry also serves as a valuable resource for other stakeholders, such as insurance companies, who may need to verify the credentials of an osteopath for reimbursement purposes. By providing this information in a readily accessible format, the ACMA Association facilitates the process of verifying a practitioner’s credentials, thereby helping to streamline the reimbursement process for osteopathic treatments.

The ACMA Association is committed to maintaining the accuracy of the Membership Registry. The database is updated daily, ensuring that the information it contains is always current. This commitment to accuracy and timeliness further enhances the reliability of the registry as a source of information about the association’s members.

The Membership Registry can be accessed at any time via the ACMA Association’s official website through the following link: This easy access further underscores the ACMA Association’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the osteopathic profession.


Code of Ethics #

The ACMA Association Code of Ethics is a set of guiding principles that governs the professional conduct of its members. It is designed to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethical behavior within the osteopathic community. The code emphasizes respect for the dignity, rights, and autonomy of each patient, and mandates that members provide care that is safe, effective, and patient-centered. It also requires members to maintain confidentiality, avoid conflicts of interest, and uphold the reputation of the profession. Members are expected to engage in continuous learning and professional development, and to contribute to the advancement of osteopathy through research and knowledge sharing. The Code of Ethics is a cornerstone of the ACMA Association’s commitment to excellence in osteopathic care and serves as a benchmark for ethical conduct in the profession.






Supervision #

In the field of osteopathy, the concept of “Supervision” is unique compared to other healthcare professions. Osteopaths are highly trained healthcare professionals who are accredited to practice autonomously. This means they have the knowledge, skills, and authority to assess, diagnose, and treat patients independently, without the need for direct or indirect supervision from other regulated practitioners or administrators of regulated institutions.

This autonomy is a testament to the rigorous training and education osteopaths undergo before they are accredited. Their training includes extensive study of anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics, and osteopathic techniques, as well as clinical placements where they gain hands-on experience under the guidance of experienced osteopaths. Once they are accredited, osteopaths are expected to maintain their skills and knowledge through continuous professional development.

However, it’s important to note that while osteopaths work independently, they are not isolated. They are part of a broader healthcare community and often collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure their patients receive the best possible care. They may refer patients to other specialists when necessary, and likewise, they may receive referrals from other healthcare providers.

Moreover, osteopaths are accountable to their professional regulatory bodies and the ACMA Association, which set standards of practice, enforce a code of ethics, and provide mechanisms for patient complaints and disciplinary actions. This accountability serves as a form of professional supervision, ensuring that osteopaths uphold the highest standards of care in their practice.

In summary, while osteopaths work independently and are not typically under the direct supervision of other practitioners, they operate within a framework of professional standards and accountability that ensures the safety and well-being of their patients.


Quality Assurance Program #

ACMA Association maintains a robust Quality Assurance Program designed to monitor and ensure the performance and quality levels of all active members. This program is anchored on a two-pronged approach: Initial application requirements and mandatory continuing education.


Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure #

According to the complaint process outlined in the documents provided (, ACMA Association does have procedures in place to terminate or otherwise discipline its members.

The process begins with a formal complaint made against a member, which can be lodged by a variety of individuals including supervisors, co-workers, other healthcare professionals, or members of the public such as patients or family members. The nature of these complaints is usually serious, including professional misconduct, incompetence, dishonesty, and incapacity.

Following the receipt of a complaint, an investigation is launched by the Disciplinary Board, which consists of a minimum of three persons appointed by the ACMA Association Board of Directors. This investigation includes gathering information, interviewing the complainant, the member, and any other individuals who may have relevant information.

If the investigation finds grounds for the complaint, there are several potential outcomes. The Disciplinary Board can attempt to mediate and resolve the issue informally, or they can refer the matter to a formal hearing. During this hearing, the Disciplinary Board can decide to dismiss the complaint, impose certain conditions on the member’s practice, or even suspend or expel the member from the ACMA Association.

In the event of a suspension or expulsion, the member’s name would be struck from the register. Further, if the member is found guilty of professional incompetence or professional misconduct, they could be ordered to pay a fine and/or the costs of the inquiry and hearing to the Association.

The decision of the Disciplinary Board can be appealed by the member within 30 days, and this appeal would be reviewed by the Board of Directors.

These procedures are in place to maintain a high level of professionalism and quality among its members and protect the public from unsafe, incompetent, or unethical practice.


Outcome of disciplinary proceedings communicated to the public #

The outcome of disciplinary proceedings within the ACMA is well communicated to the public. To ensure transparency and public information, decisions resulting from disciplinary proceedings are published on the association’s website. This process allows patients, other practitioners and anyone interested to be informed of the steps taken by the association to ensure that its members meet professional and ethical standards. See the results of the surveys here:


History of osteopathy in Canada #

Osteopathy has a rich history in Canada, dating back to the early 20th century. The practice of osteopathy in Canada has evolved significantly over the years, influenced by both domestic and international developments in the field.

The first osteopathic physician in Canada was Dr. John W. Ashmore, who began practicing in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1902. He was a graduate of the American School of Osteopathy, the first osteopathic college established by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy. Dr. Ashmore’s practice marked the beginning of the osteopathic profession in Canada.

In the early years, osteopathy in Canada was closely tied to its roots in the United States. Many of the first osteopaths in Canada were graduates of American osteopathic colleges. However, over time, osteopathy in Canada began to develop its own unique identity and approach.

In the mid-20th century, osteopathy in Canada was primarily a branch of medicine, similar to the model in the United States. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, the profession began to shift towards a more European model of osteopathy, which is focused on manual therapy and holistic care.

This shift was influenced by the establishment of several osteopathic educational institutions in Canada that adopted the European model. These institutions that mainly came from France, emphasized a non-medical, manual approach to osteopathy. Graduates of these programs are trained as manual osteopaths, also known as osteopathic manual practitioners, rather than osteopathic physicians.

Today, osteopathy is a recognized and respected healthcare profession in Canada. Osteopaths work in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, and multidisciplinary clinics, and provide care to patients of all ages. The profession is not yet regulated in most provinces, so professional associations like the ACMA Association and the College of Canadian Osteopaths play a key role in setting standards and advocating for the profession.

Despite the growth and evolution of the profession, the core principles of osteopathy remain the same. Osteopaths in Canada continue to emphasize a holistic approach to care, recognizing the interrelationship of the body’s systems and the body’s innate ability to heal itself. They use manual techniques to diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions, with a focus on supporting the body’s natural health and well-being.

We don’t have the exact number of osteopathic physicians, also known as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs), practicing in Canada who have graduated from American universities. But some say they are fewer than 50.

In the United States, osteopathic physicians are trained in osteopathic medical schools and are fully licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and perform surgery. They are similar to allopathic physicians (MDs) but also receive additional training in the musculoskeletal system and osteopathic manipulative treatment.

In Canada, the practice of osteopathy is generally more aligned with the European model, focusing on manual therapy and not including surgery or pharmaceuticals. These practitioners are often called osteopathic manual practitioners.

However, American-trained osteopathic physicians can practice medicine in Canada, and some do. They would typically be licensed as physicians rather than as osteopaths, as the scope of their training and practice is more similar to that of MDs than to that of osteopathic manual practitioners.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend reaching out to the Canadian Osteopathic Association or the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the relevant province.


Doctor of osteopathy or osteopathic physician vs osteopathic manual practitioner #

Here’s a comparison table to illustrate the differences between Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) and Manual Osteopaths:

Criteria Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) Manual Osteopaths
Education Graduates from osteopathic medical schools, typically a 4-year program after a bachelor’s degree, followed by residency training. Graduates from osteopathic educational programs, typically a 4-5 year program, focused on manual therapy.
Degree Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Diploma in Osteopathic Manual Practice (DOMP) or similar
Scope of Practice Full medical practice rights, can prescribe medication, perform surgery, and offer a full range of medical services. Focus on manual therapy techniques for diagnosis and treatment, cannot prescribe medication or perform surgery.
Regulation Regulated as physicians, must be licensed to practice medicine. Regulation varies by country and region. In some places, they are regulated as part of complementary and alternative medicine.
Philosophy Holistic approach to medicine, with an emphasis on preventative care and the body’s ability to heal itself. Additional focus on the musculoskeletal system. Holistic approach to health, with an emphasis on the interrelationship of the body’s systems and the body’s ability to heal itself. Focus on manual therapy techniques.
Practice Setting Can work in all medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practice. Typically work in private practice, wellness centers, or as part of a multidisciplinary team in a clinic.


Licensing requirements for osteopathic physicians #

This is a summary of the licensing requirements of osteopathic physicians in Canada:

Province / Territory Scope of practise Requirements for Licensure
Alberta Unlimited. LMCCCOMLEXUSMLE, accepted for licensure.
British Columbia Unlimited. LMCC, COMLEX, USMLE, FLEX, NBME accepted for licensure.
Manitoba Unlimited. US License recognized
New Brunswick Unlimited. LMCC, COMLEX, accepted for licensure. DOs registered in Maine accepted for licensure.
Newfoundland and Labrador Unlimited. US License recognized
Northwest Territories Unlimited. US License recognized
Nova Scotia Unlimited. LMCC and COMLEX accepted for licensure.
Ontario Unlimited. LMCC, COMLEX, and USMLE accepted for licensure.
Prince Edward Island Unlimited.
Quebec Unlimited. 1 year GME in Quebec & French fluency required. LMCC and COMLEX accepted for licensure
Saskatchewan Unlimited.
Yukon Unlimited. US License recognized

Canadian Osteopathic Physicians are covered under the provincial health insurance plans #

In Canada, Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) are recognized as full medical practitioners, similar to Medical Doctors (MDs). This means that their services are covered under the provincial health insurance plans, such as the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in Ontario or the Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia.

When a patient visits a DO for a treatment, the DO bills the provincial health insurance plan directly for the services provided. This is done electronically through a system that each province has in place for healthcare providers. The patient does not have to pay out of pocket for the visit (although there may be some exceptions for certain services or supplies), and the DO does not need to fill out insurance forms for each individual patient’s treatment.

This is different from services provided by other healthcare practitioners, such as manual osteopaths, massage therapists, or physiotherapists. These services are often not covered by the provincial health insurance plans, and so patients may seek coverage from their private health insurance plans. In these cases, the practitioner or the patient would need to fill out insurance forms to claim for the cost of the treatment.

However, it’s important to note that the specifics of insurance coverage can vary depending on the province and the individual’s insurance plan. It’s always a good idea for patients to check with their insurance provider about what is covered under their plan.


The role of insurers in the regulation of osteopathy in Canada #

It’s important to note that osteopathy is currently unregulated in Canada, both at the provincial and national levels. This means there’s no governmental control or intervention in the education or professional registration of osteopaths. Unlike certain healthcare services, osteopathy isn’t covered by government health insurance. Instead, osteopathic treatments are typically covered by private extended health care insurance, much like dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic services.

In this scenario, insurance companies effectively serve as regulators for the osteopathic profession. They determine which osteopathy colleges, schools, and associations they recognize and offer coverage for, based on individual merits.

ACMA Association aligns its standards with the Benchmarks for Osteopathic training, as Canada often follows the Europe’s lead in regulating healthcare professions.

In Ontario, the titles “Osteopath,” “DO,” and “Doctor of Osteopathy” are protected by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and are exclusively used by graduates of American Osteopathic Medical Schools. Canadian osteopathic schools cannot award these titles, and their graduates typically use the title “Manual Osteopathic Practitioner.”

The provided links offer additional resources for understanding the practice and regulation of osteopathy in Ontario and Canada:

  1. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario:
  2. Policy on Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine:
  3. Wikipedia page on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario:
  4. Information on the T2202A tax form:


Conclusion #

Manual osteopathy is not regulated in Canada, while osteopaths trained in the United States can seek accreditation from the College of Physicians in their province, which allows them to obtain a license to practice medicine in the same way than traditional doctors. Currently, Canada has approximately 6,000 manual osteopaths who are unregulated. And it is essentially these osteopaths that patients consult for manual treatments for pain and who claim reimbursement from their group insurance.

At the same time, there are at most 25 doctors of osteopathic medicine, all members of the “Canadian Osteopathic Association”. These professionals have been trained and certified by an accredited College of Osteopathic Medicine. Licensing authority resides with the Provincial Colleges of Physicians, ensuring that only qualified professionals can practice medicine. Since these doctors of osteopathic medicine have obtained a license to practice medicine in the same way as an MD, their treatments are covered by provincial health insurance and are not claimed from private insurers who provide group insurance to workers.

The ACMA Association is committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity within the osteopathic community. It fosters the growth and recognition of the profession and ensures the safety and wellbeing of the public by maintaining the highest standards of osteopathic practice across Canada. The association’s rigorous standards, comprehensive educational requirements, robust quality assurance program, and commitment to transparency and accountability make it a reliable and trustworthy partner for insurance companies. By approving the ACMA Association, insurers can ensure that their policyholders receive safe, effective, and professional osteopathic care.

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