Speech–language pathologists

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About speech–language pathologists

A speech‑language pathologist (SLP) is a skilled, autonomous professional who can screen, assess, identify and treat speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing and feeding problems for all age groups.   

Speech‑language pathologists can work independently or as part of a team in hospitals, clinics, early intervention programs, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, educational institutions and research centres. 

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 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 or doctoral degree in speech‑language pathology from an accredited university and a licence to practice, if the jurisdiction in which they practise is not governed by a regulatory body. 

Common requirements

  • Registration with a regulatory body as required

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 May 16, 2016.