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About speech–language pathologists

Speech–language pathologists (SLPs) are health professionals who identify, diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders across the lifespan.

Speech–language pathologists may practise independently or within an interprofessional framework, collaborating with other professionals such as audiologists, physicians, nurses, educators, dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, child care staff and social workers, as well as communication health assistants. Speech–language pathologists provide a broad range of clinical and other professional services.

Data availability

CIHI’s Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects aggregate-level, standardized data on the regulatory environment, supply, and demographic and education characteristics of speech–language pathologists in Canada.

Reports and analyses

Regulatory environment

In Canada, SLPs are regulated in all provinces except Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia and are not regulated in any of the territories.  

Practice criteria

To practise as a speech–language pathologist in Canada, SLPs must hold a master’s degree or equivalent in speech–language pathology and a licence to practise, if the jurisdiction in which they practise is governed by a regulatory body. 

Scope of practice

The scope of practice for SLPs is articulated in provincial/territorial regulatory legislation, which outlines the range of responsibilities that define the boundaries of professional practice.
SLPs are health professionals who identify, diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders. They provide a broad range of clinical and professional services, which includei   

  • Screening, assessment and intervention related to hearing, communicating or swallowing
  • Prevention, counselling and education services to patients or clients, families, caregivers, other professionals and the public regarding all aspects of communication and swallowing function
  • Education, research and administration duties

i. Speech‑Language & Audiology Canada. Scope of Practice for Speech‑Language Pathology. Accessed August 10, 2017.