Welcome to Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC) website. OPC is the representative national organization for the prosthetic and orthotic profession. Its role is to protect the public and advance the profession of prosthetics and orthotics through quality standards of practice, professional credentialing, education and awareness.
Orthotics Prosthetics Canada represents 750 credentialed clinical and technical orthotic and prosthetic professionals in Canada. OPC professionals are employed in both public health facilities (30%) and private clinics (65%).
The four priority pillars for OPC are:
- Professional Credentialing
- Residency and Internship programs
- National Board Examinations
- Certification and Registration of Professionals
- Regulation of Profession
- Developing Practice Standards
- Establishing Ethical Guidelines
- Monitoring Ethical Conduct
- Managing Complaints
- Continuing Education
- Enhancing Knowledge and Skills
- Mandatory Continuing Education Program
- Stakeholder Relations
- Education and Awareness of Key Stakeholders
OPC began operations in January 2015 as a result of an amalgamation of the Canadian Association for Prosthetics and Orthotics (CAPO), incorporated in 1954, and the Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO), incorporated in 1972. All CAPO and CBCPO registered trademarks are now owned by OPC. However, CBCPO remains the certification body and is an independent Board responsible for implementing and managing the certification and registration processes. Successful candidates are still considered CBCPO Certified/Registered through OPC. CBCPO will continue to exist as an arm’s length credentialing body to manage the certification and registration of clinicians and technicians and confer the designations of:
- Certified Orthotist CO(c);
- Certified Prosthetist CP(c);
- Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist CPO(c);
- Registered Technician Orthotics RTO(c);
- Registered Technician Prosthetics RTP(c); and,
- Registered Technician Prosthetics and Orthotics RTPO(c).
In September 2018, the World Health Organization published “Standards for Prosthetics and Orthotics” (LINK) that contains 60 standards within four areas: Policy; Products; Personnel; and, Provision of Services. These evidence informed standards identify the best practices for orthotics and prosthetics practices. OPC endorses these standards as to what should take place in Canada.
Despite being recognized as legitimate health professionals, Certified Orthotists CO(c) and Certified Prosthetists CP(c) are not provincially regulated health professions in any province except Quebec. An insufficient number of professionals in any one province, combined with a government-mandated structure for a healthcare profession College, make it financially infeasible for regulation in its current form. Therefore, the Orthotic and Prosthetic profession is self-regulated by Orthotics Prosthetics Canada.
Provincial Governments need to reconsider health profession regulation. The Health Profession Regulation Acts do not allow access for some recognized and legitimate health professions that are too small to establish a regulatory college in each province. As a result, there is discrimination against these health professions by government departments and insurance companies that only look to lists of already regulated health professions to grant recognition. It does not make sense that health specialists that replace limbs, manage diabetic long-standing foot ulcers through off loading and regularly work with patients with complex medical conditions (diabetes, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, stroke, arthritis plagiocephaly, etc.) are unregulated. The lack of government regulation in the orthotic and prosthetic space has seen a plethora of inadequately trained individuals offering orthotics as an extension of their core business which has led to massive health insurance fraud costing insurance companies, governments and the public missions of dollars.
Certified Orthotists CO(c) are ethical, highly trained healthcare specialists whose career, and core function, is orthotic treatments. Putting the responsibility for orthotic treatments for complex medical conditions in the hands of Certified Orthotists CO(c), the highest trained orthotic professionals, can reduce fraud and increase efficacy for patients.
ASK TO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS
Legislative Recognition - Provincial Governments need to formally recognize Certified Orthotists CO(c) and Certified Prosthetists CP(c) and identify acts in clinical orthotics and prosthetics that require the certification in order to provide them.
Healthcare Policy - Early and appropriate orthotic treatment save costs for payers by allowing patients to exit the health care system sooner, avoid long term disability, prevent co-morbidities (and the costs associated with them) and return to independent living and work. Access to appropriate orthotic treatments needs to be included in public healthcare programs.