Physiotherapists or physical therapists (PTs) are regulated, evidence-based, primary health care providers who aim to prevent, assess and treat the impact of injury, disease and/or disorders in movement and function. PTs work to promote optimal mobility; help improve physical activity and overall health and wellness; prevent disease, injury and disability; manage acute and chronic conditions; manage activity limitations and participation restrictions; improve and maintain optimal functional independence and physical performance; rehabilitate injury and the effects of disease or disability; and educate clients and plan maintenance and support programs to prevent reoccurrence, reinjury or functional decline.
PTs work in private and public settings providing client and/or population health interventions as well as management, education, research and consultation services. This broad range of settings may include but is not limited to the following:
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Residential care facilities
- Assisted-living residences
- Community health centres
- Home care
- Solo/group professional practices
- Educational institutions/school boards
- Commercial organizations
- Sporting events/field settings
CIHI’s Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects standardized, comparative data on the supply, demographics, geographic and distribution characteristics, and education and employment details of PTs in Canada.
- Data from 2007 to 2017 is available on request by completing this data inquiry form or emailing us at email@example.com.
- For more information on CIHI's PT data, visit the HWDB metadata page.
Reports and analyses
- Canada’s Health Care Providers: Provincial Profiles, 2008 to 2017 — Data Tables (Jan 2019)
- Health Workforce, 2017 — Data Tables (Jan 2019)
- Physiotherapists, 2016 (Dec 2017)
In Canada, PTs are regulated in all 10 provinces and Yukon. They are not currently regulated in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.
To become a PT in Canada, the following is required:
- Completion of a university degree in an accredited physiotherapy program. In Canada, university physiotherapy programs are at a master's level.
- Successful completion of 1,025 supervised clinical practice hours
- Successful completion of the national Physiotherapy Competence Examination (except in Quebec, which has its own assessment process)
- Registration with a provincial or territorial regulatory organization and maintenance of competency to practise based on the provincial/territorial regulatory requirements
Scope of practice
PTs are regulated health professionals in all provinces and Yukon. The scope of practice for PTs is articulated in provincial/territorial regulatory legislation, which outlines the range of responsibilities that define the boundaries of professional practice.
The "foundation practice acts" are listed in all legislation and include
- Assessment of neuro-musculoskeletal and cardio respiratory systems
- Therapeutic exercise
- Soft tissue techniques
- Manual therapy
- Wound management
- Tracheal suctioning
i Canadian Physiotherapy Association. 2012 description of physiotherapy in Canada. Accessed July 7, 2015.