Ontario College of Homeopathy

Did you know that the transition council for the Ontario College of Homeopathy has requested proclamation of the Homeopathy Act to take place on April 1, 2015? In other words, a new regulatory validation of homeopathy is likely to be in effect this year in Ontario.

I like governance structures and regulatory frameworks.  They provide an interesting window into “how things work”.  For example, in Ontario the Homeopathy Act, 2007 sets out the governance and regulatory framework to oversee homeopaths in Ontario.  The act is grievously short but there are a few interesting details.

The Act sets out that there shall be an organization called the College of Homeopaths of Ontario and this College shall have a council consisting of:

(a) at least six and no more than nine persons who are members elected in accordance with the by-laws;

(b) at least five and no more than eight persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council who are not,

(i) members,

(ii) members of a College as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, or

(iii) members of a Council as defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. 2007, c. 10, Sched. Q, s. 5 (1).

If you’ve ever been involved with an organization, you probably recognize that boards and councils play a vital role in setting the course for an organization. So part (b) of the council structure is very interesting and potentially valuable to people who would like to ensure that science and evidence-based practices are at the centre of healthcare.

While it may seem a bit like regulating the flow of nonsense, I’m a supporter of a legislated body to oversee and control the scope and claims of homeopaths.  As much as I’d like to see homeopathy banned,  it’s not likely to happen.  The next best thing, then, may be a regulatory framework that controls the practice of homeopaths.

Perhaps some enterprising scientists, client advocacy groups and other concerned citizens will investigate appointments to the new College of Homeopaths of Ontario.  Perhaps these same people could make a concerted effort to hold this new College accountable and transparent in their undertakings -whether from the inside or the outside.

If the flow of nonsense isn’t regulated……the community is left without any protection at all.

 

7 thoughts on “Ontario College of Homeopathy

  1. April fools day? How appropriate!

    Is this a POE?

  2. The trouble with authorization under legislation is that it gives them a veneer of respectability that they don’t deserve.

  3. I agree the regulatory framework gives it a veneer of legitimacy. But this legitimacy should be reflected in the standards of practice of body and this is where the disconnect occurs, because the standards lack a requirement that homeopaths employ critical thinking.

    The reason we have regulating bodies is that some professions provide expert advice in areas where the public is vulnerable. These bodies require a certain standard of education, ongoing training and so on. Fundamentally they also provide recourse and accountability when practitioners fall short of their regulated standards.

    I believe a fundamental standard of real health care professions is critical thinking. This is the tool that helps us separate reason from nonsense, and best care for clients. All regulated professions, in fact all professions except perhaps artist, should be expected to employ critical thinking. I think when we see that a profession is regulated, we expect that it will be required to employ critical thinking, this and other expectations is what gives the profession the veneer.

    The lack of a critical thinking requirement means, I would say, that ontarians will assume homeopaths are more legitimate than they are.

    The reason homeopathy cannot have critical thinking as a standard is that any homeopath that actually practiced critical thinking would be prevented from practicing at all. She would have to advise her clients that all the remedies have no active ingredient and are at best a placebo.

    I am very concerned that this licensing will lead truly sick people to think that a homeopath is aware of the science and that Ontario has concluded that homeopathy works. Both these assumptions are clearly false.

    I think organizations like the Centre for Inquiry Canada should be pushing very strongly for a critical thinking standard for homeopaths and or for a clear statement for why such a requirement is not needed for homeopathy, and all the other fake medicine that is regulated I the province, Chinese medicine for eg.

  4. Oh yeah, and all this when the “Canadian college of homeopathy” recently had to back pedal after taking an anti vaccine stand.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/canadian-homeopathic-college-criticized-for-anti-vaccine-stance/article23166770/

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