Education Standards

OSTCAN requires that its member associations uphold a membership requirement that includes a minimum 4 years of osteopathic education. This education must total a minimum of 4200 hours, and include a minimum of 1000 hours in Supervised Clinical Practice & Training meeting the Type 1 standard as outlined by the World Health Organization Benchmarks for training in Osteopathy.

Why Type 1?

OSTCAN promotes the Type 1 guidelines because they are;

  • clearly DEFINED in the W.H.O. document, an international recognized and accepted organization
  • This enables the education to be MEASURED by independent third-party education auditors and;
  • Ensure total TRANSPARENCY in education and affiliation paving the way to safer practitioners and better outcomes for patients.

Whenever Type 2 programs are recognized in addition to Type 1, it is imperative that graduates of Type 2 programs demonstrate the same competencies of osteopathy as graduates of Type 1 programs, the primary W.H.O. standard. Type 2 programs are typically a temporary step pending the development of Type 1 programs in osteopathy (see W.H.O. Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy, page 7 and 10)..

UK Model

In the UK, for example, Type 1 style programs are the only education recognized by the General Osteopathic Council, with the exception of one Type 2 program exclusively for those with superior health care training, like physicians (see the UK Subject Benchmark Statement – Osteopathy, page 6). Osteopathy is not an “add-on” to other health modalities, like massage therapy.. Osteopathy is a profession unto itself. Comprehensive osteopathic education results in practitioners who are equipped with a thorough understanding of osteopathic principles & practice, and extensive clinical competency to deliver safe & effective treatments to patients.


The Osteopathic European Academic Network vision for the future also aims to adhere to the Type 1 WHO guidelines. The Type 2 alternative is only recommended as an offering for physicians or Physiotherapists.

Why is Type 1 important in Education Standards? Read Considerations in the Regulation of Osteopathy in Canada


OSTCAN Verifies new member education in 2 ways;

  1. Independent Audits of Educational Institutions; through an independent third party auditor specializing in education verification.
  2. Mandatory certification exam for all new members to confirm educational outcomes of approved educational programs.

Professional Standards

OSTCAN requires that its member associations uphold a membership requirement that includes the following criteria for professional standards

  • Meet the OSTCAN Education Standards criteria
  • Hold valid professional malpractice and liability coverage (recommended 5 million in coverage) for the province in which they practice
  • Adhere to the OSTCAN Standards of Practice
  • Adhere to the Bylaws of the provincial association of which they are a professional member
  • Comply to the laws of the province in which they practice
  • Satisfy the annual Continuing Education requirements of provincial association of which they are a professional member
  • Satisfy all required re-certification of Safety, Ethics & Red Flags training and continuing education
  • Hold a CLEAR negative Vulnerable Sector Screening Police Check
  • Attend regular Fraud Prevention Education
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COVID-19 UPDATE: Osteopathy is not an essential service and all practitioners should stop providing treatment. As OSTCAN has been keeping its members abreast of information since early March, and in keeping with the several notices that have been administered directly to our membership; across Canada it is recommended that all practices close. Members of in Ontario specifically, who do not adhere to the order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act are not complying with the laws of the Province of Ontario. This may result in you being fined and/or imprisoned. It may also result in you being delisted by insurance providers and it is a breach of our Standards of Practice which require you to comply with the laws of the jurisdiction in which you practice (Standard 17), to comply with health and safety legislation (Standard 14) and putting your own interests above your patients' safety (Standard 16). Members remaining open may also be subjected to discipline by the OOA which may result in the revocation of their membership.