Volume 8 | No. 3 | May / Jun 2020 query_builder 2 minutes

Complementary and alternative therapies practice standard revised

Practice standard


The Complementary and Alternative Therapies practice standard was shared for consultation with registrants and the public from November 5 to 26, 2019. The College was seeking input on the standard’s core principles, and specifically public input on their experiences and expectations related to receiving complementary and alternative therapies.

The feedback was used to draft a revised practice standard, which was also reviewed by the Canadian Medical Protective Association and the Ministry of Health. 

Key revisions to the Complementary and Alternative Therapies practice standard include incorporating definitions of “complementary therapy” and “alternative therapy,” as well as clarification that registrants must:

  • advise the patient unambiguously if the safety and/or effectiveness of a proposed intervention is contrary to the accepted views of the medical profession and counsel the patient, to the best of their ability and knowledge, about the risks, benefits and alternatives of all options (including the option of no treatment) so that the patient can give informed consent
  • be satisfied that the proposed care and health benefits are safe, or at minimum, do not pose a greater risk to the patient than comparable conventional interventions or than the absence of treatment
  • set fees for non-insured services that are reasonable and commensurate with the service(s) provided; discuss the fee with the patient prior to providing the therapy; and consider the patient’s ability to pay when determining the fee (see Charging for Uninsured Services)
  • ensure ongoing assessment is conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the therapy provided
  • when speaking publicly, provide opinions consistent with the current and widely accepted views of the profession when interpreting scientific knowledge to the public; clearly indicate when an opinion may be contrary to the accepted views of the profession

The practice standard was endorsed for publication by the Executive Committee at its meeting on April 16, 2020. As a supplement to the revised standard, the College published a new patient resource, as well as an informative video where the College’s deputy registrar of accreditation programs, Dr. Michael Murray, addresses the standard’s core principles.

Quick links

  • View the updated practice standard here.
  • View the informative video here.
  • View the patient resource here.

The College thanks all those who participated in the consultation. Any questions regarding the revised Complementary and Alternative Therapies practice standard can be directed to the College at communications@cpsbc.ca.