History of Ontario Podiatrists And Chiropodists Toronto, ON

Disclaimer, the views expressed here are the views of Dr. John A. Hardy, and only Dr. John A. Hardy, Toronto Doctor and owner of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics and may or may not be the views of any other chiropodist.  



"Before we can decide where to go, we have to know where we have been."  (OPMA)

 There are 70 Podiatrists (please note that the actual number actually in practice is much lower (49) and only a select few actually perform bone surgery in their clinic.  Even Mr. Bruce Ramsden, the President of the OPMA does not perform bone surgery) and 604 Chiropodists licensed to practice Podiatric Medicine, Podiatry and Chiropody in Ontario as of 2016.  

Unfortunately, the Ontario Podiatrists and the Ontario Chiropodists professions remain divided.  In the OPMA (Ontario Podiatric Medical Association) submission of May 8, 2008 to the Health Regulatory Advisory Council, Podiatrist James Hill, who was president of the OPMA (Ontario Podiatric Medical Association) at that time, states, "The Podiatry profession has ample experience with being a minority class within a larger College and that experience has not been happy.  In the final analysis, the will of the majority profession will almost always overrule the minority profession. Too much College time and resources are taken up arbitrating inter professional disputes within the College.  Inter professional frictions between the two professions have actually militated against collaboration between the two professions."  

Please note that Mr. James Hill, Ontario Podiatrist was convicted of defrauding the Ontario Government (OHIP) of $10,000.00 in 2006 and his licence to practice Chiropody in Ontario was suspended for 6 months that year.  How does the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA) reward him for his crime?  By making him their President.

If you want to know what Ontario Podiatrists' attitude toward Ontario Chiropodists are, please visit the (OPMA) Ontario Podiatric Medical Association's website under 'about OPMA' and the heading 'Podiatry and Chiropody.'

The word that is always chimed by Podiatrist is 'Parity' with Medical Doctors and they are not happy that they are not treated as equals with Medical Doctors.

Podiatrists do like the way that they have been treated by Medical Doctors where they have been denigrated and looked down as not true equals but then the Ontario Podiatrists turn around and treat their so-called-colleagues, Chiropodists in the same manner, 'retributive justice?'

Most recent Ontario Chiropodist graduates have 7, 8, 9 or more years of post secondary education.

From the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association's 2014 annual report written by Podiatrist Mr. Bruce Ramsden,

"The OPMA also initiated a large number of complaints to the College against chiropodists' advertising practices.  We have witnessed a distressing trend among chiropodists to use such terms as "podiatric", "podiatry", "podiatric medicine" and so on in their advertisements.  The objective is clearly to mislead members of the public into believing that they are in fact podiatrists or that chiropodists and podiatrists are the same.  While we completely understand why chiropodists want to attach themselves to podiatrists' coattails, like previous Presidents I think it incumbent upon the OPMA to do whatever it has to do to protect the podiatry brand in Ontario.  I also believe it important in order to get what we want out of the HPRAC review.  If chiropodists are allowed to appropriate the podiatry brand they could well lose the incentive to work with us and the College in the HPRAC review."

From the OPMA Annual report of 2015 written by President, Mr. Kel Sherkin where he is trumpeting one of the benefits of membership to Ontario Podiatrists on page 6 he states, "when the OSC (Ontario Society of Chiropodists) attempted several times to convince the government to amend the Chiropody Act to allow them to call themselves podiatrists, the OPMA was there to stop it."

Great colleagues, wasting time and energy thwarting their 'so-called' partners instead of working toward advancing the profession as a whole.

It is in my view  that such narrow minded leadership of the OPMA has continued to hamper the growth of the foot care profession in Ontario, so many wasted resources funnelled in senseless complaints against so called colleagues.

The 21 Health Regulatory Colleges were set up by the Ontario Government to protect the publics' access to safe, competent and ethical health care for the general public in Ontario.  The Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA) has placed the College of Chiropodists of Ontario in a unique position where it spends much of its time and resources responding to complaints from the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA) against Chiropodists. This is an incredible negative waste of time, energy and resources that could be better used to further the profession.

Both Podiatry and Chiropody schools require a three or four year undergraduate degree in the associated sciences.  Then there is a further four years training to become a Podiatrist at Podiatry school and three years more to become a Chiropodist at Chiropody school. 

Chiropodists can do nearly everything that a podiatrist can in Ontario including surgery except surgery involving bone, although in 1991, Podiatrists lost their right to perform surgery to the hind foot through legislation from the Ontario Government.  Podiatrists are also allowed to communicate a diagnosis.  Chiropodists are allowed to diagnose but are not allowed to communicate a diagnosis by law to the patient, although we know that this is a conundrum because as primary health care physicians it is hard to treat a patient who presents to you with a particular ailment and not tell them what you are treating them for.  Dr. John A. Hardy had to work under these conditions for 11 years as a Chiropractor until we were granted the right in 1991 to legally convey to our patients our diagnosis.  Podiatrists were not allowed by law after 1991 to refer to themselves as a Doctor, whereas Chiropractors obtained that right in 1991.  Podiatrists are also partially covered by OHIP, but as Dr. John A. Hardy, a Chiropractor who dealt with partial OHIP payments for over 20 years, we know this is more of a hindrance than helpful as in many cases patients cannot utilize their full extended health benefits.  They also pay such a small portion of the total fee, combined with the added paperwork and inconvenience, it really isn't worthwhile.  Initially when they covered a greater portion of the total fee it was.  The best thing that happened to my clinic was the day we no longer had OHIP. Our Chiropractic Association fought to retain OHIP benefits, but it was only a prestige issue and everyone was glad we were removed due to the inconvenience to our patients and ourselves.  This actually places Podiatrists at a disadvantage when compared to Chiropodists when it comes to utilizing your extended health care benefits.  We have had many patients choose a Chiropodist over a Podiatrist for foot care due to the fact that they didn't get paid for treatments from a podiatrist from their employer's extended health plan.  Podiatrists at the College of Chiropodists of Ontario meeting of February 5, 2012 asked the College of Chiropodist of Ontario to write the Canadian Life Insurance Association to complain about the discrimination of Podiatrists,  but at this point in time nothing has changed and it is more advantageous if you are using your extended health insurance benefits to attend a Chiropodist rather than a Podiatrist in many cases.  You should phone your Employer's Extended Health Insurance Plan to see if you consult a Podiatrist, whether or not you will be reimbursed if the Podiatrist is billing OHIP.  Chiropodists and Podiatrists are treated on an equal basis in the eyes of Ontario Extended Health Insurance Companies and their subscribers are reimbursed at the exact same rate.  Chiropodist can perform surgery of muscles, tendons and nails.  Both are licensed to prescribe pharmaceuticals. Podiatric medicine in Ontario is based on the American definition of podiatry.  Chiropody in Canada was originally based on the British model.  Podiatrists are allowed to own and operate an X-ray machine as well as order X-rays. 

In Ontario the Ontario Medical Association and specifically the Ontario Orthopedic Surgeons successfully lobbied the Ontario government to impose a cap on new Podiatrists in July 1991.  At the council of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario (COCOO) meeting of June 3, 2011, at which the current President, Mr. Bruce Ramsden, a Toronto Podiatrist was present, a history was provided by Mr. Goldberg, a Toronto Podiatrist regarding the Podiatry Cap, "Podiatrist Goldberg provided a short history of the Podiatric Cap for those who were unaware of its history.  The Ontario Medical Association may have been against the registration of Podiatrists as they could have been seen to be in conflict with Orthopedic Surgeons.  The government model provided only for Chiropodists, although Podiatrists could continue to practice under the 1991 Chiropody Act."

In the study called Podiatry, Chiropody and the struggle for legitimacy in Ontario undertaken by Dr. Alan M. Borthwick, Podiatrist, University of Southampton, UK and Brian Craig, D.Ch., of Markham, Ontario who is an Chiropodist, under the section titled the committee on healing arts (1966-1970), states "the chief concern to the Medical Doctors was the desire of Podiatrists to perform surgery of the foot, and administer anesthetics for this purpose and to prescribe drugs for internal use... If this really is the claim, it is surely preposterous... (Grove 1969)."  Also from the same study from a former President of the COCOO states, "the relationship that the Podiatrists established with the provincial government, and particularly the civil servants who remained in place, was not a positive one... And one of the reasons they got a consultant, but the die was cast."  another quote from the same study from a former president, board of regents, DPM, Podiatrist: " the (Minister of health, Dennis Timbrell) told me to my face, sitting in the caucus room in the conservative party at queens park in the legislative building, that as long as my influence prevails around this ministry, you will never have the same status as your counterparts in the USA.  I like the way we do it in Great Britain, where the MD's tell the Chiropodists if and what and why.'"

All new Podiatrists would have to be registered as Chiropodists, as a result the number of Podiatrists continue to diminish in Ontario as aging Podiatrists retire and only 12 podiatrists trained in the states have come to Ontario to practice as Chiropodists since 1993, while the number of Chiropodists in Ontario continues to increase, Podiatrists are now outnumbered 8 to 1 by Chiropodists and are in fact the smallest profession in Ontario regulated by the Health Regulatory College. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in the world where the term Chiropodists is still in use, but because we cohabitate with Podiatrists, this situation will continue for the near future. Ontario remains an enigma in regard to foot care, as we are the only jurisdiction where 2 classes of foot specialists, Podiatrists and Chiropodists practicing under different regulations, regulated by the same regulatory body, the College of Chiropodists of Ontario (COCOO).  It is the hope of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics that eventually Podiatrists and Chiropodists can eventually work together to further the advancement of the two professions for the common good of their patients.

I sincerely hope that 2017 and beyond may be good for both Ontario podiatrists and Ontario Chiropodists so that we can build towards the future and once and for all, put aside petty and partisan differences.

According to the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA), the skills of Podiatrists are in increasing demand because disorders of the foot and ankle are among the most widespread and neglected health problems.  There is one school of Podiatry in Canada where you can be trained to be a Podiatrist located in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.  The school for Chiropodists is located in Toronto at the Michener Institute  with clinical training at the Michener Foot Clinic.  

Please note that Dr. John A. Hardy has provided a $4,500.00 scholarship to each of the 3 years of students for excellence to the Michener Chiropody School for the last 3 years and will continue to.

Brought to you by Dr. John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics.

Academy Clinics has a special interest in high quality custom orthotics.



Toronto, ON Chiropodist
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Toronto, ON M4K 2P1 

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