Many of Canada’s healthcare professions are regulated professions. Regulation ensures that the provincial/territorial government’s healthcare legislation is enforced. Each jurisdiction has its own legislation but it is similar across the country. Regulation serves the public’s interest by informing them about the profession and providing them with a list of qualified practitioners. Its main role is to protect the public from any harm that might result from poor practice techniques and/or poorly qualified practitioners.
Many of Canada’s healthcare professions are regulated at the licensure level and most of those are self-regulated professions.
Professions that are self-regulated have been given the right to regulate themselves by the province or territory. These regulatory bodies are often called “colleges.” A board of directors governs the college and is made up of elected members of the profession and one or more government appointed public members.
A regulatory college ensures its members have the necessary qualifications, competence and continuing education to provide safe and ethical care. They must be able to follow the rules and standards of the profession.
Each college has an application process to qualify its members to receive a license to practice. The college also monitors its members’ continuing education requirements. This ensures that the members maintain their competency so they may continue to hold their license to practice.
Regulatory colleges protect the profession’s title and practice so that only qualified and registered members of the regulatory college may use the title and work in the defined scope of practice.
Regulatory colleges must respond to complaints from the public for allegations of incompetent, illegal or unethical actions from its members.
The regulatory colleges maintain a “registry” of their members' current status for the public to view. The colleges provide accessible information for its members and the public related to their functions, rules (by-laws) and regulations, including complaints and outcomes from investigation.
Professional associations have a different role. It is to act on behalf of the members. Professional associations promote and support professional excellence to both their members and the public. They provide opportunities for continuing education, certification of members and for some professions prior learning assessments of internationally trained professionals. They support the work of regulatory authorities but they cannot award licenses.
Note that some professions are not regulated in every province or territory.Physicians
Note that you may need to be certified to practice.