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News about Homeopathy in Canada

Background

Homeopathy arrived in Canada in the province of Ontario around the year 1840, and two years later in Quebec. It gained full professional status and established several homeopathic medical institutions. In 1865, a law recognized the homeopathic practice for the members of the Montreal Homeopathic Association.. In 1894, the Montreal Homeopathic Hospital was founded and remained in force until change of its vocation. Thereafter, it was known as the “Queen Elizabeth Hospital”, exclusively for medical doctors. By the end of the 1960s, the creation of the Quebec Health Care regime and the creation of the “Office des Professions du Québec” (Professions office) marks the end of homeopathy in Quebec.

In Ontario, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) was formed in 1869 as a medical coalition governing body. The college council included five representatives each from both homeopathic and “eclectic” physicians. Increasingly. Homeopaths received M.D. degrees from Canadian medical schools and d then pursued postgraduate homeopathic studies in the United States before obtaining an Ontario License through the Council’s homeopathic examiners. By 1870, there were approximately fifty registered homeopaths in Ontario compared to more than 1,000 physicians.

In the later part of the 1800s in the United States, homeopathic colleges were slowly becoming marginalized and eliminated by the stronger and more influential American Medical Association. No new homeopathic medical schools were established in Canada and over the course of time, the Ontario medical homeopaths themselves became marginalized. The homeopathic profession declined with the expansion of conventional medicine, the advent of antibiotics and the rise of the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, positions for homeopaths on the CPSO council were reduced from five seats to two seats and then in the late 1960s, the last homeopath on the council died and the position was eliminated.

Due to different legal situations in Quebec and Canada the current situations are mentioned separately.

Current Environment in Ontario

After a long period of homeopathy lacking recognition, it has gradually come to be not only known but also popular in Canada, with an increasing demand for consulting homeopathic doctors. This is primarily due to South Asians and other European immigrants whose choice of treatment has been Homeopathy in their country. In February 2005, the Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in consultation with Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council, who had held stakeholders meetings including jurisdictional review, had taken about two years for submitting their report to the Government and acceded to the group of Homeopathic Practitioners who had petitioned the Ontario Government for regulating homeopathy. This report resulted in the passage of Homeopathic Act 2007 by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on Monday tfhe June 4, 2007. As per provisions contained in the Bill , a Transitional Council of College of Homeopaths of Ontario consisting of 16 professional and Public Members have been set up for carrying on the task of writing the various regulatory aspects of the Homeopathic Profession. Ontario will therefore become the first province in Ontario to legally re-regulate homeopathy in Canada after the proclamation of the Homeopathic Act by next year.

Current Situation in Quebec

Thanks to the support of French European homeopaths and laboratories, homeopathy made a come back in Quebec in the early 1980s. Different schools of thought were found to train homeopaths ( non medical). Syndicat professionnel des homéopathes du Québec (SPHQ) was established in 1989, bringing together the vast majority of homeopaths in Quebec. Its objectives are to improve the structure of homeopathic practice in the province, on an academic and a professional level, aim for legal recognition and establish a means to protect the public. To reach these objectives, the SPHQ endows itself with a Charter of rules (Statuts et Règlements), a deontological code (Code de déontologie), training standards, a disciplinary committee, training and admission boards as well as a scientific board, which aims to promote homeopathic research and development. 

Education and Training

Seventeen homeopathic teaching institutions currently operate in Canada. Each school has different training standards, offers different programs andf award different diplomas or certificates. In one or two cases, courses are taught by distance education with students required to complete a preceptor-ship with a qualified homeopath. Courses vary in length and content from short correspondence courses to three to four year certificate/diploma programs, with total course hours ranging from 728 to 3,045. Admission requirements vary for each school or program.

Current Scenario

Ever since the Natural Health Products Directorate was set up on 1 January 2004 and had thereafter regulated homeopathic medicines, the situation of homeopathy in Canada evolves at a greater pace. The Natural Health Products Regulations (the Regulations) require all homeopathic medicines to have a license before being sold in Canada. License holders are issued a product number which must appear on the label of their product. The product number for homeopathic medicines is preceded by DIN-HM. As per the Canadian Law the homeopathic medicines are regulated by the Federal Government and the profession of Homeopathy is regulated by the provinces.

Recently, in January 2011, a popular TV channel telecasted a special show questioning the efficacy of Homeopathy in the wake of Ontario homeopaths getting regulated, by quoting that since Ontario will be the first province to regulate homeopathy— Is Homeopathy a Cure or Con- lending credibility to this unproven practice. The entire homeopathic community of Canada joined together under one platform to condemn the TV show noting that the telecast showed complete lack of respect and understanding of a time honored system of medical treatment used around the world. All the homeopathic associations in Ontario and Canada have opposed such moves by the media through TV interviews by Homeopathic Experts and creating public awareness write ups in their respective web sites. There are more than 11 provincial and national level homeopathic associations in Canada – as may be seen from their active websites.

In wake of the Japan disaster many homeopathic groups have since started networking and exchanging their views about homeopathic remedies concerning homeopathic trauma remedies and also in dealing with cases related to the exposure of radiation through homeopathy.

The Homeopathic Community all over Canada are therefore eagerly waiting for the regulations to come into force sooner or later and have joined their hands for holding International Homeopathic Conference under one banner- the first of which is slated to be convened in the month of October 2011.

Report by Prof. Dr. Bhupinder Sharma, M.D.(Hom.) Representing: Homeopathic Medical Association of Canada

Source: HPRAC : New Directions April, 2006; HPATHY.COM; Health Canada, Natural Health Products Directorate.

 

 



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