Since 2012, Athletic Therapy has been defined and regulated by an official decree. This document states the type of client athletic therapists can treat, the reserved acts of athletic therapists and other matters. It is of the utmost importance to respect every clause of this decree since it binds us to the law. This change in the culture of our profession had some impact, notably concerning the students and candidates to the title. Some changes concerning their liberties have been necessary in order to now respect the decree.
What are the regulation and the decree?
Following tremendous efforts to make a change, a decree was passed that recognized Athletic Therapy as a health care profession in Quebec in April 2012. This decree, endorsed by the Collège des médecins, defines athletic therapy in Québec.
What is currently stated in the Professional Code of Quebec regarding Certified ATs?
The purpose of the professional regulation is to determine the professional activities that may be engaged in by a certified athletic therapist. The regulation defines an athletic therapist as a person who has been certified by the Canadian Athletic Therapy (CATA) Association and is either a holder of a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree conferred upon completion of the Bachelor of Science Specialization in Exercise Science (Athletic Therapy option) from Concordia University, or who has a degree issued by an educational institution outside of Quebec upon completion of an athletic therapy program accredited by the CATA. The field of practice of an athletic therapist is also well drawn.
For further information concerning this matter, you may refer to the official publication available here (in French): règlement d’autorisation.
Is athletic therapy meant for everyone?
According to the regulation, an athletic therapist may treat an athlete for any musculoskeletal injury. An athlete is defined as “a person who, at an introductory, recreational, competitive or elite level, engages in a physical activity that includes some form of training, respect for certain rules of practice, supervision, technical content or practice time“. This definition may be understood in a very liberal way. The regulation also stipulates that an athletic therapist upon referral by a physician or a physiotherapist may treat a non-athlete.
What is currently stated in regulation regarding students and candidates?
The student in a program of athletic therapy can perform all the above acts providing they are in their academic internship, and only in that setting. It also specifies that a certified athletic therapist must be directly supervising the student.
In the past, candidates and students had much more freedom. Why is this rule being enforced now?
It is being enforced because it is the law. The regulation is no stricter than when it was published. A recent analysis of the regulation however has brought clarification regarding its interpretation. Only recognized health care professionals can exercise reserved acts. Therefore, a medical student or resident couldn’t independently practice medicine without supervision until their training is complete and they are recognized as a doctor. The same can be said for a physiotherapist. We are now falling under that same legal obligations and must agree with the legalities of it.
Can I work alone as a student in athletic therapy with teams or in a clinic?
You cannot practice athletic therapy under any circumstances outside of your internship placements performed during your bachelor degree.
Can I work as a first responder with a sport team?
Yes, because first aid and emergency care are not reserved acts. You must be careful though not to include any reserved act of athletic therapy whilst under this employment.
What am I ALLOWED to do on field if I were not supervised?
What am I NOT ALLOWED to do on field if I were not supervised?
Do I need a Sports First Responder certification or some other First Aid certification to work with a team?
If you choose to work with a team as a first responder, then the appropriate certification is required, regardless of what that certification may be. The different sports associations have specific requirements that need to be met by provider.
Does my emergency care course in University count as a certification?
No, it does not count for certification as it is not recognized by an accrediting association (such as the Canadian Red Cross Association). Only courses recognized by such institutions count as certification.
Do I still need liability insurance as a student in athletic therapist or as a graduated from such a program?
Insurance is not necessary for your internship, as you are covered by the Concordia’s insurance plan. You will also be covered by your Supervisory Athletic Therapist’s (SAT’s) insurance. If you would like to work as a first responder for events, however, it is recommended that you have liability insurance for extra protection. These plans can be purchased through the CATA website.
Do I need to have an SAT to work a First Responder?
You do not need an SAT to work as a first responder as this job is not under CTSQ or CATA jurisdiction.
When will I need to have a SAT then?
You must have an SAT to be a member of the CATA and CTSQ and to start counting your hours.
Can I still work as a student AT if I volunteer and don’t get monetary compensation?
No, you cannot provide athletic therapy treatment as a student or graduate. The only exception made is within the internships performed during your bachelor degree. Working as a student in athletic therapy requires doing acts reserved for only certified athletic therapist and is therefore not allowed.
Can I still work as a student AT if I have a certified AT with me?
No, since the authorization regulation states that reserved acts can only be accomplished by certified AT. These acts can only be accomplished by a student or a graduate within their academic curriculum.
What is considered supervision?
As a supervisor, a certified athletic therapist needs to be able to validate the acts and decisions of the student. The certified athletic therapist on site assumes responsibility of the student AT and the decision made regarding the athlete’s differential diagnosis, treatment given and playing status. The modalities of this supervision may evolve throughout the student formation.
Does this change our internship opportunities or experiences?
No. An internship should always be supervised by a Certified AT and therefore respects the terms of the decree.